I wish I could take credit for this one, but no, it’s a traditional Persian dish—eaten by Kings and Queens (and fairies and mermaids one can only imagine). I have played around to come up with a few different versions of this magical concoction. Here is a rendition of jeweled rice with fennel, dried apricots and cherries, pistachios and pomegranate. I swear it sparkles.
Most recipes for jeweled rice call for basmati rice, but I happen to know that it is equally divine with brown rice or quinoa—oh, couscous would be great too. Traditional recipes include a copious amount of butter and the formation of a thick crunchy rice crust on the bottom of the pot. I have excluded this for a quicker and lighter dish.
1 cup brown basmati rice
2 cups vegetable broth or water
3/4 cup fennel bulb (or celery), diced—reserve fronds for garnish
1/2 cup dried cherries, plus extra for garnish
1/2 cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped, plus extra for garnish
1/2 cup pomegranite seeds (chopped grapes are an easy substitute), plus extra for garnish
1/2 cup shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped, plus extra for garnish
1/2 teaspoon fresh minced ginger
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
Salt to taste
1. Rinse rice and put rice and broth or water in a large pot with a tight-fitting lid.
2. Bring to a boil, stir once, reduce heat, cover and simmer 50 minutes.
3. Do not remove lid. Remove from heat and allow to sit, covered, for 10 minutes.
4. Stir in all other ingredients, reserving extras for garnish.
5. Let cool to room temperature, serve heaped on a platter garnished liberally with fennel fronds, dried fruit, nuts, and pomegranate seeds.