Saffron Rice With Raisins And Pumpkin Seeds

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Saffron rice with raisins and pumpkin seeds

Saffron rice with raisins and pumpkin seeds

I’m having the time of my life this week with my young and sweet aunty. She came from Malaysia to visit me……SO happy! We have been having lots of fun going out, chit chatting and enjoying lots of food. Both of us must have looked and felt 10 years younger…haha. I wanted to cook lots of food for her to try but failed miserably because we have been out too much…..*grin*. We had not seen each other for quite a few years and God knows, there’s LOTS to catch up.

Delicious Malaysian chicken curry

Delicious Malaysian chicken curry

But well, I did manage to cook quite a bit. In fact, yesterday I cooked Saffron Rice With Raisins and Pumpkin Seeds served with Malaysian chicken curry. It was SO good! In fact this is the first time I cooked curry without adding coconut milk. It tasted just as great. I used the ready packet curry paste from Malaysia. Very delicious! You can tell by the colour. It looks and tastes spicy.

Delicious curry coated pan fried salmon

Delicious curry coated pan fried salmon

I also served it with curry coated pan fried salmon. More spicy food! This is equally good. The salmon that I bought from Costco was very fresh. It was so tender, juicy and delicious. Looks like we had a wonderful curry night….*big smiles*

We had other visitors too and everyone liked it very much. The rice is really simple to cook. This is the first time I cooked a Middle Eastern dish. It’s always fun and satisfying trying out new food, especially when it comes out well.

An Edible Mosaic book cover

An Edible Mosaic book cover

In fact, I got this recipe from Faith Gorsky’s new cookbook, “An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare With Extraordinary Flair”. The book has over 100 Middle Eastern recipes, with a focus mainly on dishes from the Levant, but also a few recipes from other areas of the Middle East.

I have known Faith for quite a while. She is a very passionate food blogger. After getting married, Faith spent six months living in the Middle East where she fell in love with the culture and cuisine. Subsequently, she returned four more times for visits, each time delving deeper into the cuisine and deepening her passion for and appreciation of the region.

Recipes in her new cookbook are authentic Middle Eastern (taught to Faith mostly by her mother-in-law, Sahar), but streamlined just a bit for the way we cook today, with unique ingredients demystified and cooking techniques anyone can follow. If you didn’t grow up eating Middle Eastern food, it can be a difficult art to master; Faith understands that, and explains complicated dishes in an approachable, easy-to-follow way.

Faith’s new book is available to order on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

There is also a Virtual Book Launch Party on An Edible Mosaic . Please check it out to see what others cook. Mine will be there too…..yay! And, oh……you can also check out for more recipes on her blog, An Edible Mosaic.

Oh wait……I have good news for you……..giveaways! Time to try your luck. Please head over later to check out more on Faith’s latest blog post, An Edible Mosaic : Virtual Book Launch Party (Giveaway of over $1300 worth of items). You don’t need to be a blogger to participate.

Right, back to my Saffron Rice With Raisins And Pumpkin Seeds. I made some small changes to the recipe which I put in brackets. It’s just because I just make use of what is available in my pantry. It came out very delicious too. Here’s the recipe taken from Faith’s cookbook. I doubled the recipe.

Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts


Recipe courtesy of An Edible Mosaic:  Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair by Faith Gorsky (Tuttle Publishing; Nov. 2012); reprinted with permission.

Serves 4 to 6
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes, plus 15 minutes to let the rice sit after cooking

1½ cups (325 g) basmati rice, rinsed (I used Thai jasmine rice)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons pine nuts (I used roasted pumpkin seeds)
1 onion, finely diced
4 tablespoons sultanas (golden raisins)
1¾ cups (425 ml) boiling water
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon saffron threads (or ½ teaspoon turmeric) (I used saffron threads)

  1. Soak the rice in tepid water for 10 minutes; drain. While the rice is soaking, put half a kettle of water on to boil.
  2. Add the oil to a medium, thick-bottomed lidded saucepan over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and cook until golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Transfer the pine nuts to a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Add the onion to the saucepan you cooked the pine nuts in, and cook until softened and just starting to brown, about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the rice and cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the sultanas, boiling water, salt, and saffron (or turmeric), turn the heat up to high, and bring it to a rolling boil.
  4. Give the rice a stir, then cover the saucepan, turn the heat down to very low, and cook until tender, about 10 minutes (do not open the lid during this time). Turn the heat off and let the rice sit (covered) 15 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
  5. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle the toasted pine nuts on top; serve.

    OPTIONAL Add two pods of cardamom, two whole cloves, and one 2-inch (5 cm) piece of cinnamon stick at the same time that you add the rice.
Do give this rice a try, something new, if you haven’t. It’s great for parties or when you have friends over for dinner. I will definitely be cooking this dish again, especially for parties. This rice dish is even good for vegetarians.
It’s Friday and I do hope you have a great week and weekend. My aunty is still here, so you can bet I will be very busy enjoying my time with her….*big smiles*. Till then, see you in my next post with more food!
Quote of the day……

“Persevere…because on the road to success there is never a crowd on the extra mile!”

Charity Gibson

Keep Learning Keep Smiling

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Maureen | Orgasmic Chef  on November 9th, 2012

I’m so happy to meet you and I love this rice recipe. Faith’s cookbook looks really intriguing. We’d all be healthier if we ate more food like this.

suituapui  on November 9th, 2012

Ooooo…so nice! Certainly feels like home away from home. Saffron expensive, right? Here, we just use tumeric - kunyit.

Norma Chang  on November 9th, 2012

This sounds tasty and so easy to make, I like your roasted pumpkin seeds substitute.

Ilan  on November 9th, 2012

This rice looks so tasty! I love middle eastern dishes :)

Amy (Savory Moments)  on November 9th, 2012

Glad to your find your blog through Faith’s book launch. The pumpkin seeds look like a nice touch!

Christine's Recipes  on November 9th, 2012

Aw, rice with raisins sounds interesting and delicious. Must try some time later.

Angie@Angie's Recipes  on November 10th, 2012

The rice looks intriguing! Love those salmon steaks too.

Mich Piece of Cake  on November 10th, 2012

Your saffron rice looks delicious and healthy… saffron is expensive but I can use turmeric..

Mary  on November 10th, 2012

@Maureen | Orgasmic Chef - Thanks very much for visiting, Maureen! Totally agree with you……healthier food for a healthier body :D

@suituapui - Haha…yes, a feel of home definitely, especially with the curry. Yes, saffron is really expensive. I think it’s more expensive than gold. So happens I have some saffron otherwise I will just use turmeric. I’m sure it will give a nice colour too :D

@Norma Chang - Thanks very much, Norma! I love pumpkin seeds. I use it a lot in my salad and also as a snack :D

@Ilan - Thanks very much, llan! Yes, the rice is tasty. I hope to try out more middle eastern dishes. Always fun trying :D

@Amy (Savory Moments) - Thanks very much for visiting, Amy! I love pumpkin seeds. I always add them to salad or use them as snack but now I have discovered a new way of using it….in rice :D

@Christine’s Recipes - Ya, give a try, Christine. I like it. Have fun cooking :D

@Angie@Angie’s Recipes - Thanks very much, Angie! :D

@Mich Piece of Cake - Thanks very much, Mich! Yes, you can use turmeric. It’s more for the colour. If I don’t have saffron, I will also use turmeric. Have fun cooking! :D

rebecca  on November 10th, 2012

wow great recipe and have fun with your Aunt

Faith  on November 10th, 2012

I can’t thank you enough for participating in something that is so close to my heart…you are wonderful, Mary! And I am honored, my friend.

What a lovely spread! I’m glad you liked the rice and got to enjoy it with wonderful company. xo

penny aka jeroxie  on November 11th, 2012

I always adapt recipe to what I got in my pantry too. enjoy your time with your aunt.

agnes  on November 11th, 2012

very spicy food indeed, great for a cold winter night..:D

lena  on November 11th, 2012

never tried saffron before, a little curious tho and sounds like making paella rice too. Looks like will be seeing more of your middle eastern cooking adventures :D

ATasteOfMadness  on November 11th, 2012

What beautifully prepared rice! This looks fantastic!

Asiya @ Chocolate and Chillies  on November 12th, 2012

This rice was so yummy! I’ve already made it twice…like the substitution of pumpkin seeds!

Mary  on November 13th, 2012

@rebecca - Thanks very much, Rebecca! :D

@Faith - You are most welcome, Faith! It’s a delight and I had fun cooking and eating :D

@penny aka jeroxie - Thanks very much, Penny! :D

@agnes - Yes, you are very right, Agnes. Curry warms up the body :D

@lena - Haha…yes, sounds like paella rice, but I think this one is simpler, both in the ingredients and way of cooking. Hope I will try more simple Middle Eastern recipes….fun time :D

@ATasteOfMadness - Thanks very much! :D

@Asiya @ Chocolate and Chillies - Oh wow…you made twice already? Fantastic! I want to cook this again when I have friends over. I’m sure my friends will be too happy :D

Amy Tong  on November 14th, 2012

I love Saffron rice! Love the color and flavor of saffron. :) I’m heading over to the giveaway blog in a bit…that’s really a HUGE giveaway!

Mary  on November 15th, 2012

@Amy Tong - Yes, there’s a lot of giveaway on Faith’s blog. I hope luck comes your way. I love giveaways. I won 3x already :D

Mistletoe  on November 17th, 2012

Good for you for working out of your comfort zone, Mary. I’ve had no appetite all day today but looking at your food pics is actually making me hungry. Teehee. Hope you’re enjoying your time with your aunty. Eating and chatting are two of my favourite things to do, especially the good catch up chats. You guys must have so much to catch up on. Hope she enjoys the rest of her stay. Take good care!

Cheah ~ No-Frills Recipes  on November 17th, 2012

The saffron rice is something new to me. I love the M’sian curry and the spicy salmon!

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