|Irresistible Oriental Rice|
At any big occasion or dinner party in Egypt you probably will find this scrumptious rice dish there. This is my second favorite flavored rice dish, second to my coriander-bean rice.
Rice ‘with the mix’, which is the literal translation, is a vamped up rice dish that accompanies usually some kind of meat. Turkeys stuffed with this rice are the most common, or a nice grilled shoulder of lamb.
‘The mix’ is basically toasted nuts, and soaked raisins, sautéed to a golden sweet heaven that are added to the rice, as well as used in garnishing. The rice has a distinct flavor, which is thanks to the slowly caramelized onions, added cinnamon, nutmeg and Egyptian Boharat. Bohar or Boharat, which literally just means spices, is a spice mix which is distinct to the region. It consists mainly of the following, although I am sure each area/ brand will have a different ratio and slightly different ingredients: bay leaves, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, paprika, wild oregano, and cardamom all ground together to a fine brown powder.
Traditional garnish includes chopped sautéed liver mixed in with the nuts and raisins. I prefer not to add the liver inside the rice, just because some people not like it.
|The garnish adds character, and flavor, to the rice|
I use short grain, Egyptian rice. It is also named Calrose in other parts of the world. However, I am sure this would work with other types just as well.
To brown the rice, I rely solely on the onions and the spices. Some people use ½ cup of sugar, caramelized, to give a dark brown color. I prefer not to add any sugar and empty calories as the dish is not your normal rice dish as it is!
Try this for your next turkey dinner, and you will be surprised how fast it goes!
This recipe is enough for about 6-8 servings
3 cups short grain rice
2 large onions chopped finely
1 Tbsp Black pepper
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp Egyptian Boharat
¼ tsp nutmeg
3.5-4 cups water (or broth if possible)
2 Tbsp oil
3 Tbsp butter
125gm Liver (depending on the dish, use chicken or beef liver)
100 gm raisins, soaked
1 cup hazelnuts (unsalted)
1 cup almonds (unsalted)
Wash the rice, drain and set aside.
Soak the raisins in boiling water. Boil the nuts if they have their peels, and then cool them in running water and peel off any peels. Then break the nuts into halves or quarters.
Sautee the onions in a large rice pot, in the oil. Add in salt, about 1 Tbsp, and lower the heat to lowest setting. This will let the onions release their water, helping them brown rather than burn. Add in the cinnamon, and the Bohar. We do not add in the nutmeg or black pepper until later, because they turn bitter and lose their original flavorings.
Once the onions are very brown, and starting to burn on the edges, add in the rice and give it a stir. Allow it to absorb some of the color. Add in 1 Tbsp of butter, and stir again. Add in half of the nuts and the raisins. After about 2 minutes, add in the water or broth, stir, bring to a boil, and cover. Reduce the heat to a simmer.
The rice will take about 30-40 minutes. Do not uncover or stir, it will prevent the rice from being too sticky and will allow it to steam properly.
In a small frying pan, add in 2 Tbsp of oil, and allow to heat. Take the liver, sprinkle salt and pepper on it, and place in the hot pan. Sear on both sides, then reduce heat and allow to cook through. Once done, set aside to cool, then chop the liver finely without mashing it.
In a different frying pan, add in 2 Tbsp of butter, and add in the rest of the raisins and nuts. Sprinkle in a dash of Bohar, and stir. Allow to brown, but be careful not to burn the nuts or the raisins in the butter. Once done, turn off the heat, and add in the chopped liver, mixing it well. This is the top garnish.
Check on the rice at about this point, by using a fork to ‘fluff ’ it. Try to get a forkful of the rice in the middle, and taste to see if it is ready if you can’t tell by the looks of it. Cooked rice is lighter and less opaque than raw rice. Also if there is no water, but the rice needs a lot more cooking, add in ¼ cup and allow to sit for another 10 minutes.
Plate the rice, and garnish with the prepared liver and nuts mix.
What is your favorite exotic rice dish?