Are you into jewelry? If you have my cookbook and look at the pictures you soon realize I love the bling. I don’t know how it all started, all I know is that my ears were pierced the day I was born (a Latin American custom) and ever since then I could not stop collecting and admiring all things that glitter.
What is it with women and the obsession with something that shines? Do you have any idea how many times I have told my husband we need to buy a piece of jewelry for my future daughters in law? My oldest child is only 10 years old! I figured I would look after it until he marries. Or keep it as an investment in case of rainy days…it is all excuses…even if a thunderstorm hits you can’t separate the bling from the girl.
In fact, it is brought down that the Jewish women would not give up their jewelry to build the golden calf and as a result we were rewarded with a holiday of our own that takes place every single month: Rosh Chodesh (the holiday of the New Moon). Yes, you guessed it, in this holiday a lady is to be treated like a princess. Not only that, it is also brought down men should buy clothes and jewelry for their wives on the Jewish Festivals. Ladies, what can I say? it’s good to be a Jewess!
This week’s Torah portion is Chayei Sarah (The life of Sarah). I love this week’s Torah portion because it is so incredibly romantic. It contains the first-ever recoded “love-at-first-sight” story between Rebecca and Isaac. It also contains the proof that there is no way out for men when it comes to getting us jewelry. Isaac showered Rebecca with presents and within the presents was, of course, the bling! My husband always tells me that for men spending so much money on tiny glittery adornments makes no sense. Nonetheless, he is convinced that somehow there is nothing like a velvet box with a little glitter inside to make a girl happy; and when that girl is his wife, well, that is indeed priceless!
I hope you enjoy this amazing Persian rice…of course this week it had to be Javaher Polo…Jeweled Rice! Nushejan!
Persian women, in general, love jewelry. Therefore, when I realized there was a rice recipe with the word “Jeweled” in its name, it didn’t surprise me at all! This rice really looks like a gastronomic jewelry box! It contains little edible rubies (barberries), shiny edible emeralds (pistachios), and miniature edible onyx (currant raisins). It is a gorgeous display of color and tastes. The good thing about it is that you can use a mixture of anything you might have on hand to make your rice look as gorgeous as the Empress’s crown!
Tricks of the trade
I often make this rice when I have leftover toppings in the fridge! It looks as if I labored for hours, but in fact everything was already made!
You can use potatoes for the tadig, or you can also use some of the rice before mixing it with the toppings.
To make the rice
3 cups basmati rice, checked and rinsed
8 cups water
2 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
½ cup canola oil
To make rice topping
The following are good choices for Javaher Polo
Yellow split peas (boiled until tender), fried currant raisins, fried barberries, pistachios, fried slivered almonds
fried Barberries, caramelized orange peel, slivered carrots, caramelized onions
To steam and make tadig
2 tablespoons water
¼ teaspoon turmeric and/or saffron powder
3 potatoes, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch rounds
To make the rice
- Fill a 6-quart nonstick saucepan with 8 cups water; add oil, salt, and turmeric. Cover and bring to a brisk boil over high heat.
- When turmeric water boils, add rice and continue cooking, uncovered, over medium to high heat, stirring occasionally.
- After 3–5 minutes, use a slotted spoon to scoop some grains from the water. Break one grain in half to make sure it is “al dente”. Turn off heat and pour rice into colander to drain. Set aside.
To steam and make tadig
- Place the empty 6-quart saucepan back onto the stovetop over medium heat. Add ¼-inch canola oil and 2 tablespoons water. Add turmeric and/or saffron powder. Stir together.
- Add sliced potatoes in a single layer. Add drained rice and shape it into a pyramid. Cover the pot and cook for 5–7 minutes until rice begins to steam. Uncover and place 2 paper towels (one on top of the other) over the rice. The ends will extend outside the pot. Replace the lid tightly.
- Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes. Turn off the heat and tilt the lid until ready to serve.
- In the meantime, prepare your choice of garnishes listed above.
- Serve on a shallow platter, mounding the rice into a pyramid and garnishing with all toppings of your choice. You can mix them into the rice or lay them in separate stripes over the rice.
Yield: 8 servings