Rumi’s wedding rice boasts bright colors, exotic flavors

Rumi’s Kitchen

6112 Roswell Road N.E., Atlanta.


Q: I am always delighted by the food, ambiance and service at Rumi's Kitchen on Roswell Road. Although the meats and salads are excellent, my favorite dish with everything is their rice with orange zest, pistachios and almonds. I would love to have this recipe to share with my family both here and in other states. Your help would be much appreciated as are the other wonderful recipes you bring us. — Dianne Wilson, Alpharetta

A: Stephen Kaplan, director of operations for Rumi's Kitchen, sent us this recipe. It took a little bit of work to create because, as Kaplan says, the restaurant cooks work from tradition and by eye and not from printed recipes. This dish is called Shirin Polo or wedding rice, a fitting name for a dish that offers jewel-like colors and exotic flavors. Serving size at the restaurant is about 2 1/2 cups.

Barberries are a tiny, dark pink dried fruit with a very tart flavor, available at the Buford Highway Farmers Market. Rose water and orange flower water are also available there, but can be found at food specialty stores and in particularly well-stocked groceries.

Rumi’s Kitchen Wedding Rice (Shirin Polo)

8 oranges, or as needed

1/4 teaspoon ground saffron

1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon water

1 1/2 ounces dried barberries

1/4 cup slivered pistachios

1/4 cup slivered almonds

1/2 teaspoon orange blossom water

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon lime juice

1/4 teaspoon rose water

2 1/2 cups long grain basmati rice

Peel oranges and cut peel into thin slivers. You want to collect 1/2 pound of orange peels. Reserve orange segments for another use.

Put slivers in large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and boil 35 minutes. Drain and rinse with fresh water. Return slivers to saucepan and add saffron. Cover with water and boil 35 minutes. Drain and return slivers to saucepan. Add butter, sugar and water. Simmer until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Remove pan from heat and move slivers to a large bowl. Add barberries, pistachios, almonds, orange blossom water, lemon juice, lime juice and rose water. Toss to combine and then refrigerate. This is the shirin mixture and will make approximately 3 cups.

When ready to serve: cook rice according to package directions. Warm shirin mixture and stir into cooked rice. Serve immediately. Makes: 10 cups

Per 1/2-cup serving: 184 calories (percent of calories from fat, 33), 3 grams protein, 28 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 7 grams fat (3 grams saturated), 12 milligrams cholesterol, 16 milligrams sodium.

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