Yield: 4 servings
|200 millilitres||Raw rice|
|2 tablespoons||Olive oill|
|2||Mandarines, zest and juice|
|40 grams||Slivered almonds|
|½ teaspoon||Saffron threads|
This celebratory rice dish is a little fiddly to make the first time, so save it for a weekend when you feel like cooking. Its sweetness marries very well with savoury foods, from the Middle Eastern braised lamb dishes for which it was devised to Indian curries and South-East Asian coconut curries.
Wash 200 mL rice in several changes of water until the water runs clear. Then soak the rice in 550 mL water for about an hour. Drain in a sieve.
Cut 1 carrot into fine diagonal slices, then julienne the slices. In a large pot which can go from stove top to oven, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and cook the carrots, stirring, until they are golden, then remove from the oil (reserving the oil in the pot) and drain.
In a saucepan, make a syrup. Zest 2 mandarines then juice them and make the juice up to 150 mL with water. Add both zest and liquid to the saucepan, together with 40 g slivered almonds, 100g sugar and half a teaspoon of saffron threads. Bring to the boil and cook gently for about half an hour, stirring often, then add carrots and a tablespoon of sultanas and cook, stirring, for a few minutes more.
The syrup should be quite thick but not burnt. Remove from the heat.
In the carrot pot, reheat the oil and stir in the drained rice until it is transparent. Add 230 mL boiling water and stir gently over a low heat till the water has almost gone. Cover the rice with the syrup, put on the lid and bake in a 160-170 degree C oven for half an hour. Uncover, stir to mix and serve.
From an article by Meryl Constance in the Sydney Morning Herald, 6/29/93. Courtesy, Mark Herron.