2 cups basmati rice (preferably brown)
1 orange peel, cut into long, thin strips
1 teaspoon saﬀron threads
4 tablespoons sugar, divided
6 tablespoons orange blossom water, divided (can substitute rose water, or 3 tablespoons orange extract + 3 tablespoons water)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 cup carrots, cut into long, thin strips
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
Salt, to taste
½ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup halved almonds, toasted
¼ cup raw pistachios
¼ cup golden raisins
- Soak the rice in cold water with salt for 1 hour, then drain.
- Boil the orange peel for 2 minutes, then rinse in icy water and drain.
- Crush the saﬀron threads with 1 tablespoon of sugar. Stir in 3 tablespoons of orange blossom water and set aside.
- Transfer 1 tablespoon of plain orange blossom water to a large skillet. Heat the skillet over medium-high heat, then add 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1 tablespoon of oil, carrots and the orange peel. Sauté for a couple of minutes. Add the orange blossom mixture, remaining orange blossom water and sugar, then stir in 1 cup of water, cinnamon and cardamom. Let all of the ingredients simmer for about 5 minutes until the liquid is syrupy. Drain the carrots and the orange peel and reserve the syrup.
- In a large pot, bring 7 cups of water to a boil. Add salt and rice, and cook for about 10 minutes or until it is soft on the outside but a little bit hard in the middle. Drain the rice, rinse it in cold water and place it in a bowl. Gently mix in the orange blossom syrup. Spoon some of the rice in the bottom of a large pot and spread it out to cover the bottom. Repeat this action, layering the rice gradually into a pyramid shape. Close the pot and cover the lid with a clean kitchen towel. Let it cook over low heat for 20 minutes.
- To serve, top the rice with the carrots, orange peel, cranberries, almonds, pistachios, and raisins.
Recipe and photo courtesy of Al Wadi Al Akhdar.