Persian Pomegranate Rice
Almonds and pomegranates stud Persian-spiced rice. Amy Spiro
Enjoy a flavorful, traditional dish for the New Year.
Pomegranates are both a beautiful, symbolic food for the upcoming Rosh HaShanah holiday, the Jewish New Year, and a traditional Persian ingredient. So I thought they would be a perfect pairing in a rice dish - a staple in Persian households - spiced with classic Persian seasonings. Turmeric, cumin and cinnamon are all ingredients in adwiya, the classic Persian spice mix.
Basmati rice is both said to be a very close approximation of the rice available in Iran and a variety I find fairly easy to cook. Toasting the rice along with the spices in the dish brings out their flavor in a big way and fills the house with a delicious aroma.
These days you can buy pomegranate arils that have already been removed from the fruit, but I think that way you're missing all the fun (and you can't count to see if it has 613 seeds). I've tried every method under the sun for easier deseeding - doing it underwater, using the back of a spoon to thwack the pomegranate - but ultimately I found that cracking it open into sections and using my fingers to gently pry the seeds out of the fruit is most effective.
Happy New Year!
Amy Spiro is a journalist and writer based in Jerusalem. She is a graduate of the Jerusalem Culinary Institute's baking and pastry track, a regular writer for The Jerusalem Post and blogs atbakingandmistaking.com. She also holds a BA in Journalism and Politics from NYU.