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Persian Rice and Pistachio Salad

December 31, 2007
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I found this recipe when I was looking for something that used pistachios. It seems that when one is asked to bring something for a potluck, a bag of pistachios isn’t always a hit. Maybe it’s the shells. I highly recommend using shelled pistachios for this recipe. Shelling them the first time I made it took a fairly arduous 20 minutes.

The original recipe is linked here. I have adapted it somewhat to suit my own tastes.

Persian Rice and Pistachio Salad 

1 cup raw brown basmati rice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
generous pinch of ground cardamom
pinch of ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange peel
2 cups water
1/2 cup currants, raisins, dates, or dried apricots
1/2 cup pistachios, toasted
1 small orange

Rinse the rice in a sieve and set aside to drain. In a skillet on medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the rice and sauté, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Stir in the cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, salt, and grated orange peel and continue to sauté for 1 minute. Stir in the water, cover, and gently simmer for 45 minutes, until the rice is tender and the water absorbed.

Put 1 small whole orange with about half of its peel on in a food processor and process. Add raisins and process to chop, or chop coarsely. Transfer orange/raisin mixture to a bowl. Chop pistachios in the processor or use a mallet.

Add hot rice and remaining tablespoon of oil to orange/raisin mixture. Mix; allow to cool. Stir in pistachios. Chill and serve cold. Makes 4-6 servings.

Perhaps Esther served this at her banquet for her husband, Ahashuerus. It was certainly too good for Haman.


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