Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Shami Kebab with Persian Cranberry Pilaf

  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 3 tablespoons clarified butter (ghee) or butter
  • 1 cup onions, thinly sliced (about 1 small onion)
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 1-teaspoon sumac powder (optional)
  • 1½ cups dried cranberries (or dried cherries)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron (soaked in 2 tablespoons hot water for 10 minutes)
  • ⅓ cup roasted shelled pistachios (or slivered almonds or pecans)


  • Wash the basmati rice thoroughly and soak in water for 30 minutes. If you've got the time soak for up to 2 hours.The longer you soak, the more tender the rice.
  • Heat the ghee or butter over medium heat in a skillet. Add the onions and sauté them for 3 ­4 minutes until they turn translucent. Add the turmeric, sumac powder, cranberries, and salt. Allow the cranberries to cook for 1 minute, then add the sugar, along with 2 tablespoons of water so the onions and cranberries can soak up the sugar. Allow to cook for 3 minutes or until the cranberries soak up all the liquid, turn off stove and remove from heat.
  • Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Drain the rice and add to the boiling water and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain the rice and rinse under cool running water to stop cooking; drain.
  • Pour the tablespoon of olive oil into the base of the same pot. Add the rice and pour the saffron water over the rice evenly. Top with the cranberry mixture and the pistachios. Wrap the lid of the pot with a thin kitchen towel and cover the pot. This helps build steam to help cook the rice through. 
  • Cook the rice on high for 3 minutes, then turn the heat down to super­ low and continue to cook for 10 more minutes. Turn off heat and let the rice sit for 5 minutes. Serve warm with kebabs and yogurt dip.

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