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Apricot and almond basmati pilaf recipe

Apricot and almond basmati pilaf recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Side dish

Golden basmati rice studded with dried apricots and almonds gets an exotic flavour from saffron and rose water in this unique but easy to make Persian pilaf.

1 person made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 30g butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped
  • 190g basmati rice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 450ml water
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon rose water
  • 25g dried apricots, diced
  • 25g flaked almonds

MethodPrep:15min ›Cook:45min ›Ready in:1hr

  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat; cook and stir onion and carrot until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in basmati rice and salt; cook and stir until rice is slightly opaque, about 3 minutes.
  2. Pour in water; stir to combine. Mix in saffron threads, rose water, apricots and almonds; bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until rice has absorbed the liquid, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow pilaf to stand covered for 10 more minutes. Stir before serving.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(9)

Reviews in English (8)

by lutzflcat

Followed the recipe except for using some vegetable broth for part of the water and omitting the rose water, since I could not find it. I wouldn't say that this is my favorite pilaf, but it does have good eye appeal, and is flavorful. Next time, I think I will add some cardamon as suggested by the recipe writer, and rose water, if I ever can find it.-18 Jan 2014

by susiekew

This is a truly lovely and different dish, that I will definitely make again. The rosewater, which I found in a middle eastern grocery store, was a little frightening at first, because it smelled like a bottle of perfume! However, when added to the dish, it became much more subtle and really made the dish special. The only thing I did differently was to toast the almonds. Thanks!-08 Apr 2013

Rice Pilaf with Nuts and Dried Fruit

A fragrant Rice Pilaf that’s right at home on your holiday feasting table OR a Middle Eastern meal! Lightly spiced with cinnamon, cumin and cardamom, fluffy seasoned rice is tossed with pistachios, almonds, dried apricots, and sultanas or raisins.

This Rice Pilaf recipe is a terrific side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas with the festive spicing, dried fruit and nuts. Or try it on the side of Lamb or Chicken Shawarma, Moroccan Lamb Meatballs or Turkish Koftas!


Carrot juice, instead of broth, lends a sweetness to the pilaf that works well with the earthy flavors of mushrooms, pepper, sage, and rosemary.

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz Portobello mushrooms, thickly sliced
1/2 cup carrot, sliced
1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced
1 cup long-grain brown rice
1/2 cup wild rice
2 cups carrot juice*
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup dried apricots, diced
*Orange juice may be substituted for carrot juice.

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.

Add onion and garlic cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until onion is golden brown.

Stir in mushrooms, carrot, and bell pepper cover and cook 7 minutes until the vegetables are tender.

Stir in brown rice, wild rice, carrot juice, rosemary, sage, black pepper, and 2 cups of water bring to a boil.

Stir in apricots, and cook 45 minutes, or until rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed.

Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories 404, Fat 5g, Calories from Fat 11%, Carbohydrates 81g, Protein 10g, Fiber 7g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 51mg.

Rice Pilaf with Almonds & Apricots

By Chef Michael Smith &bull 10 years ago

This simple, versatile rice pilaf is distinguished by its method of sautéing the grains briefly in oil or butter before adding liquid which adds flavour and helps the grains stay fluffy and separate. Rice pilaf is also a great jumping-off point for freestyle flavouring.


2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 or 2 onions, chopped
1 cup any white rice
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup sliced dried apricots
2 cups water or chicken broth
a sprinkle or two sea salt and freshly ground pepper


Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for a few minutes until they just begin to turn golden.

Add the rice and continue cooking and stirring until the grains are well coated with the butter.

Add the bay leaf, almonds and apricots. Pour in the water or broth and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper. Stir briefly, cover and cook over a low heat until the rice is tender and has absorbed all the liquid, about 15 minutes.

Turn off the heat, and without removing the lid let the rice rest for 5 minutes or so before serving.


You may stir in a spoonful or so of any of your favourite herbs. Tarragon, thyme and rosemary are all excellent choices. You may use brown rice as well just add another 1/2 cup of water and increase the simmering time to 45 minutes. For an extra special touch, try adding a pinch of saffron with the rice.

Almond, lemon and parsley pilaf rice

When I first started cooking, I got the hang of main dishes quite quickly. Roast chicken, pork chops, beef roast and other recipes similar to those were relatively easy to get the hang of and I added them to my weekly repertoire pretty quickly. What took me a while to master, was the art of the side dish. I always went back to roast potatoes/Green salad/simple steamed rice/steamed greens, etc. etc. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with any of those things (and in fact, they feature on our weekly menus pretty heavily), I always wanted more. And I am of the belief that the side dishes actually make the main shine more. Slow braised lamb shanks falling off the bone are only as good as the creamy polenta or buttery mashed potato they are served on top of. Amirite?

I first ate pilaf (or pilau as it is also known) at a Middle-Eastern restaurant more than 10 years ago and even though I now know it is one of the easiest recipes to make, back then my mind was blown. Rice was always a very bland, basic thing to me. Used as a vessel for piping hot gravy. That was what I used it as. But now I was introduced to light, fluffy, long grain rice kernels flavoured with herbs, nuts and dried fruit and it was most definitely not basic. It was a thing of beauty. I very quickly decided to master a good pilaf and once I did, I never looked back. Pilafs in all shapes and forms are cooked in my kitchen more often than I’d like to admit because you guys, I’m not lying when I say this is ridiculously easy.

A few days ago I made this pilaf and flavoured it with all ingredients I had in my pantry and fridge. A few nibbed almonds were toasted until a beautiful golden brown before being folded into the steamed rice with fresh lemon juice and handfuls of chopped parsley. The key to really great flavour here is to cook the rice with a few pieces of lemon peel, a bay leaf, onion and garlic. And that is pretty much how I start all of my pilafs. You can also add a cinnamon stick, a few cardamom pods, cloves, chilli flakes or coriander seeds at the beginning of cooking to infuse flavour. Once the rice is cooked, you can add any fresh herb, citrus juice and dried or fresh fruit depending on what you are serving it with. Pomegranate rubies and parsley work beautifully with roast lamb while pine nuts and chopped dried apricots will perfectly accompany a slow-cooked tagine. It’s simply one of those dishes you must have in in your cooking repertoire but be warned. Simple steamed rice might never be good enough again.

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This Aroma rice cooker is my friend, I use it almost daily to cook different kinds of rice. Of course I can cook rice on stove top, but being a mom of 3 plus running a business, I like the set and forget kind of cooking. of course you can get one for a couple of hundreds more but seriously this one is so good especially for the price. That's why this rice cooker is really dear to my heart.

Let’s talk about the rice for Persian rice pilaf:

I cannot stress enough that the quality of the rice you use for this cranberry rice pilaf recipe is super duper important. If there is one thing you splurge on for this recipe, let it be the rice. RICE. Okay, I think I’ve made it pretty clear.

To prepare the rice, start by giving it a good rinse under cold, running water. Let the basmati rice soak for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours if you’ve got the time. This step is what helps each grain of rice get nice and tender yet remain completely mush-free. Allow a large pot of water to boil, once boiling, season with a palmful of salt + 2 tablespoons of vinegar. The vinegar helps each grain remain separate from each other. Drain the rice and add it to the boiling water. Boil the rice for 6-8 minutes or until the rice is just al dente. Drain the rice and rinse it with cold running water to stop it from cooking further. A lot less daunting then it looks, am I right?

The rest is a breeze, dahling.

The first bite of gorgeous and perfectly cooked basmati rice all mixed together with sautéed onions, spices, a little sugar, and cranberries. I fell completely in love with the combination of textures and flavors, and the likelihood that i’ll eat the whole pot in the next few days is very high. For reals.

Fresh comfort food. Cranberries in your rice rather than a goopy, gloppy, canned, and questionable cranberry jelly. WIN!

What you’ll need to make the warm couscous salad How to make couscous salad

Before we get to the recipe, a few words about couscous. Most people think of it as a grain, but it’s actually a form of pasta made from semolina flour. A staple throughout the Mediterranean and North Africa, it’s traditionally prepared in a double-chambered steaming vessel known as a couscoussière. The base pot holds a meat or vegetable stew and a steamer on top holds the grain, which slowly steams and absorbs the flavors from the stew. But for this recipe, you need not worry about all that — it calls for instant couscous, which cooks in just five minutes in a regular pot.

To start, bring the cooking liquid to a boil in a medium pot. Since couscous can be bland if not seasoned properly, I like to cook it in a flavorful chicken or vegetable broth instead of water. A pad of butter and a little salt help too.

Next, add the couscous, turn off the heat and cover the pot.

After five minutes, fluff the couscous with a fork. If you let it sit, it will clump together.

Meanwhile, make the dressing by combining the olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt, pepper and apricot jam in a small bowl.

Pour the vinaigrette over the warm couscous.

Chop the scallions and herbs.

Then toss them with couscous along with the sliced almonds.

Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and serve.

This recipe was adapted and modified from Real Simple magazine.

Why is this called Persian jeweled rice?

The term jeweled rice (or jewelled rice) is due to the addition of nuts and dried fruits.

Traditionally sour cherries or barberries were added to Persian rice. These can be hard to find so dried cranberries make a great substitute. You can also add raisins and dried apricot pieces.

Pistachio nuts add a crunch and also a wonderful pink green splash of color, but you can ring the changes and used slivered almonds instead or as well.

Watch the video: Σερβίρισμα ρυζιού


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Iran Chicken Pilaf Recipe
butter, chicken, chicken stock, pine nut, pepper, cinnamon, sultana, apricot, onion, salt, rice
A very common recipe for chicken rice in middle Eastern. A recipe posted for World Zaar Tour 2006.
1 Put the rice in a bowl with water and let stand for 2 hours. 2 Dry the rice. 3 Heat the butter.