Jewelled Herb & Rice Salad
If you have a little extra time, soak the rice in cold water for 30 minutes before you start cooking. This kick-starts the water absorption process so that when you cook the rice you end up with fluffy separate grains that are perfectly cooked and don’t stick together.
250g of basmati rice
2 tbsp of olive oil
30g of unsalted butter
2 small onions, finely chopped
1 tsp of ras el hanout
4 carrots, peeled and grated
Pinch of saffron threads, soaked in 3 tbsp of hot water
200g of mixed dried fruit such as sultanas, dried barberries or cranberries
75g of shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
Handful of chopped mint leaves
Handful of chopped flat-leaf parsley
If you have soaked the rice, drain and give it a final rinse; if not, rinse well in a colander under the cold tap.
Heat the oil and butter in a sauté pan, add the onions and ras el hanout and fry over a medium heat for 5 minutes until softened. Add the drained rice, carrots and saffron (with its soaking water), then cover with 300ml of cold water.
Season with salt and pepper, stir and bring to the boil. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 12–15 minutes, then turn off the heat and leave to stand with the lid on for 5 minutes.
Fluff up the rice with a fork, stir in the dried fruit, pistachios and herbs and serve.
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