Sunday, February 19, 2017

Somali-Style Rice (Bariis Iskukaris)

For our 7 Country Dinner, I made this rice to represent Somalia.  It was so good and flavorful.  I cut the recipe in half, and it still made a ton.  (However, I left the Somali spice mix at 2 teaspoons because I loved the flavor.) I made my own Somali spice mix for this including cumin, fenugreek, cinnamon, cardamom, and much more.  Basmati rice isn't used a ton here, but every store had it in a tiny, expensive container.  (I should have checked the international store first, but didn't think of it!)
I have made many of my own spice mixes, but only from pre-ground spices that I mix together.  For this recipe, I finally bit the bullet and purchased my own coffee grinder to use as a spice grinder.  And I'm SO glad I did!  The pic above is the totally powdered mixture after grinding.  (Somali spice mix- Xawaash.  It contained cinnamon sticks, cloves, and other whole spices and still ground up beautifully.  I loved the results!)
Somali-Style Rice (Bariis Iskukaris)
adapted from NY Times
recipe below is cut in half, but not the spice mix 

2 cups Basmati rice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cinnamon sticks
3 whole green cardamom pods
5 whole cloves
2 teaspoons xawaash spice mix (see below)
4 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon saffron threads, finely chopped
1/2 cup raisins

1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
2 teaspoons dried whole sage
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (or powder)
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 ¼ teaspoons ground ginger
8 green cardamom pods
10 whole cloves
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
⅓ cinnamon stick

1 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons raisins
1/2 red bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced

1.  Soak rice in cold water 30 to 45 minutes, then drain.

2.  Meanwhile, prepare the xawaash: Combine all the spices in a spice grinder and finely grind. Set aside.

3.  Prepare the topping: Heat olive oil in a wide, deep pot over medium-high heat and add the onions, stirring occasionally until translucent. Add raisins and allow to soften, about 2 minutes, then add red bell pepper and cook until softened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and set aside on a paper towel.

4.  In the same pot, make the rice: Heat 1/2 cup oil. Add onions and sauté, stirring frequently, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic, cinnamon sticks, cardamom, cloves and xawaash spice mixture and cook, stirring, 1 minute.

5.  Stir in stock and rice. Bring to boil, then cover and cook on low heat 20 minutes. Stir in saffron and raisins and season to taste with salt. Cover, turn off heat and steam for 5 more minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, using a large spoon to pile rice in a heap onto a platter. Sprinkle topping over rice and serve.
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