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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
- Soak the rice in tepid water for 10 minutes; drain. While the rice is soaking, put half a kettle of water on to boil.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Quote of the day……
“Persevere…because on the road to success there is never a crowd on the extra mile!”- Charity Gibson