Moroccan Rice Recipes - Jewelled, Pilaf and Mixed Nut Rice Recipes

Below are three delightful Moroccan recipes that feature nuts, dried fruits, herbs and spices. They provide wonderful variations for rice served as a side with with salads and main meals. Give them a try.

Moroccan Jewelled Rice Recipe

For the Spice Mix
1 tablespoon ground or crushed pistachio nuts
1/2 teaspoon dried edible rose petals, ground
1/2 teaspoon saffron strands
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
400 g (3/4 lb) basmati rice
3 tablespoons sea salt

For the jewels
40 g currants
60 g dried barberries, or cranberries
peel of one orange
70 g flaked almonds
70 g pistachio nuts
1 tablespoon mint leaves, finely chopped
5 tablespoons grape seed oil or rice bran oil, or similar neutral tasting high smoke temperature oil
60 g unsalted butter

Using a heavy frying pan, toast the saffron threads over moderate temperature for about 30 seconds to release the color and fragrance. Cool and then grind to a powder with a mortar and pestle. Combine the spices to form a spice mix.

Mix together all of the jewel ingredients and set aside.

Wash the rice well using 4-6 changes of water the water runs clear. This helps the grains to separate when cooked.  Pour about a litre warm water into a large bowl, add 1 tablespoon of the salt and the washed rice. Let the rice soak for 20-30 minutes, using a fork to separate the grains several times. Then strain the rice and rinse several times with warm water.

Pour 1.25 liters of water into a large pan and add the rest of the salt. Bring the water to the boil and mix in the in the rice. Boil the rice vigorously, uncovered, for 3-4 minutes until the grains have just started to soften (you only want to par-boil the rice so leave the center of the grains uncooked). Don't stir the rice at this stage as it will break the rice grains and will make them mushy. Place the parboiled rice in a sieve and rinse. Use a fork to gently separate the grains. Set aside to cool.

Soak the currants and barberries in separate bowls of water for 5-10 minutes until swollen. Drain and pat dry, but keep separate. Set aside.

Put the orange peel into a small saucepan, just cover with cold water. Bring to the boil over a medium heat and blanch for 20 seconds, then drain. This helps to reduce the bitterness.

Set aside some of the  pistachios, flaked almonds and soaked currants as dressings. Mix the rest of the jewel ingredients with the blanched orange strips, then mix in the mint. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan, pot or saucepan over moderate heat. Spread 4–5 tablespoons of the rice over the base of the pan. Spoon in about 1 tablespoon of the fruit and nut mixture over the top, then add a teaspoon of the spice mix. Add extra layers of rice, fruit and nut mixture and spices, finish with a thin layer of rice. Shape the mixture up into a pyramid or a dome shape.

Using a wooden spoon handle, poke three holes in the rice, right down to the  bottom of the pan. This helps to form the crispy base. Melt half the butter in a small frying pan. Add 2 tablespoons water and 2 tablespoons of the saffron liquid, made previously and and mix well. Pour the mixture over the rice.

Cover the pan with the rice dome with a tea towel wrapped around the lid to seal the pan and to prevent water drops from dripping into the rice. Cook the rice in the pan over a moderate heat for about 2–3 minutes until the rice is steaming. Then lower the heat to a very low setting and cook, covered, for about 20–25 minutes.

When cooked, cool and serve as small domes in separate plates.  Decorate the rice with the reserved  pistachios, flaked almonds and soaked currants.

Moroccan Rice Pilaf

1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup sliced almonds
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups water or  vegetable stock
1 cup white basmati rice
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon unsalted butter

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Heat an oven-proof pot over moderate heat and melt the butter. Add the onions and cook until tender and translucent (not browned). Add the paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper and rice. Mix well to evenly coat the rice grains with butter. Cook the rice for 3-4 minutes and then add the stock and raisins. Bring the pot to the boil using high heat, the cover and lower the heat and cook for 18 minutes. Add the almonds, salt and pepper. Fluff the rice with a fork to separate the grains and serve.

Moroccan Rice with Mixed Nuts

2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1/3 cup currants
1 peeled orange, with pith removed and sliced into eight segments
3 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups long grain rice
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon Moroccan spice mix
1/3 cup Cashews
1/3 cup Slivered Almonds
1/3 cup Pine Nuts
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

Heat about 2 tablespoons of oil in a saucepan over moderate heat. Then add the nuts and cook while stirring for 3 to 4 minutes or the nuts are golden brown. Add the spices and mix well. Remove the nuts from the pan and set aside on a plate.

Add 2 teaspoons oil to a moderately heated saucepan. Add the onions and fry 1-2 minutes. Remove the onions with a slotted spoon and set aside. Raise the temperature to high. Add one tablespoon of oil and rice. Stir the rice to coat all the grains with oil. Add the orange segments and the stock and cook while stirring, until mixture starts to boil. Then turn the temperature to low, cover and cook for 15 - 20 minutes. The rice will absorb the stock as it cooks.

Next remove the orange segments and then add the currants, nut mixture and parsley. Season with pepper and salt. Mix to combine and then use a fork to gently separate the grains and then serve.

Moroccan Jewelled Rice

Moroccan Jewelled Rice - Original Image by the Author

Moroccan Rice Pilaf

Moroccan Rice Pilaf - Original Image by the Author