This recipe is inspired by a Moroccan rice pilaf I cooked recently during an Arabian Nights cooking class with chef Rebecca Stubbs at Chapel Hill Winery.
My Apricot, Almond & Pomegranate Rice Pilaf is simple to make – you simply fry the onions, rice and spices, add the chicken stock and dried fruit and let it gently simmer away for 25 minutes. Transfer it to a large bowl, fluff it up and then garnish it with pepitas (sunflower seeds), toasted almonds, pomegranate seeds and coriander. You could even add a can of drained chickpeas or lentils during the last five minutes of cooking time for some added protein. That’s dinner done in a flash.
The dried apricots and dates add a lovely honeyed sweetness to the dish but the sweetness is offset by the robustness of the fried onion and garlic, and the cumin, coriander and turmeric used to flavour the rice. For those who need a lot of protein, this dish would make a fantastic side to grilled lamb or fish. Either way, serve it with a plain green salad and tzadziki (cucumber yoghurt dip) for a quick and delicious meal.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
- 1 medium onion, peeled and diced
- 2 cups rice
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- 1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and diced
- 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
- 200 grams dried apricots, left whole or quartered
- 80 grams pitted dates, left whole or halved
- 40 grams pepitas
- ¼ bunch fresh coriander
- Seeds from ½ pomegranate
- 100 grams flaked almonds
- Heat up a large non-stick fry pan or pot.
- Add butter and margarine until sizzling.
- Add onion and cook over medium heat for a minute or two and then add rice, turmeric, cumin and coriander.
- Cook, stirring regularly for around 4 minutes.
- Add garlic, stock, apricots and dates and then add lid and bring to the boil.
- Once boiling turn down heat as low as possible and cook for 20-25 minutes (with lid on) until rice is cooked through.
- To serve, turn out into a bowl, fluff up the rice and then garnish with pepitas, coriander, pomegranate and almonds.