Persian Saffron Barberry Pilaf Rice
Barberry Pilaf Rice came about because I was experimenting with Indian and Persian foods. I was on an expedition as I ventured round Iranian and Middle Eastern grocers in London. I am inclined to soak the barberries in Marsala wine because I prefer not to have sugar mask the flavour of them – though, traditionally sugar is used to give that sweet and sour contrast. Also, traditionally, this dish uses onion, but I feel that detracts from the flavours and aromas of this dish. If you are unable to find barberries, try soaking raisins in Marsala wine with a little lemon juice. Repeat as below. I recently served this dish for a friend, who commented on the rice aromas of the dish; the incense of the cardamoms and cloves of India seeping through. The barberries have a very light (once soaked and steamed) and sour taste to them which contrasts with the fluffiness of the rice.
Author: Edward Daniel
Recipe type: Side
- Few strands of saffron
- 50ml filtered water
- 30g barberries
- 100ml Marsala wine
- 30g almonds
- 300g rice (precooked)
- 450ml filtered water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 cloves of India
- 3 cardamoms
- 1tbs cumin seeds
- Season to taste
- Soak the saffron in water and set aside.
- Soak the barberries in Marsala wine and set aside.
- Soak the almonds in boiling water. When cool, remove skins and flake into halves.
- Soak the rice in water for about 10 minutes. Set aside.
- Drain the rice and place into a saucepan or pressure cooker. Add 450ml filtered water and the cinnamon stick, cloves and cumin seeds. Break the cardamoms so that that the skin is slightly ajar; this permits the aroma to filter through. Cook on a low heat for about 15 minutes until the rice has absorbed the water. Permit the rice to steam if using a pressure cooker.
- Remove from heat. Work quickly to remove the cinnamon, cloves and cardamoms, and fluff in the drained barberries. Pour the saffron water over the top. Cover with a tea towel and reseal. Set aside for about 5 minutes.
- Transfer the rice to a large serving bowl. Add the almonds. Fluff up the rice with a fork.
- Season to taste.
- Serve warm.