The name of this dish in Arabic is “burnt his finger”. Presumably this is such an irresistible food a child burnt his finger eating it without waiting for it to cool down. Prior to making this I was unconvinced; how can something so simple be that good? it is just rice cooked with onions, tomatoes, and flavored with garlic and pomegranate molasses; set atop a bunch of fried pita croutons.
The rice mixture was ready, the pita croutons were duly fried in olive oil. I figured I should have at least one tablespoon. Then another. Then yet another; I had probably a cup and I was not even hungry. And yes, I did slightly burn the tip of my tongue!
1/2 cup rice
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
3 garlic cloves, mashed in a mortar with a dash of salt
1 bouillon cube (optional)
2 tomatoes, diced fine (keep the tomato juice to cook the rice in)
salt, pepper or seven-spice to taste, add a dash of cinnamon if desired
1 Tbsp dry mint powder (optional)
1 cup water or chicken stock
1 pita bread, cut into croutons and fried in 1 cup of oil
1. In a saucepan, over medium heat, pour the oil; add the chopped onions and fry till golden. Add the rice and fry for 20 seconds until all the grains are coated with oil. Add the tomatoes, spices (not mint yet) and garlic and stew the mixture for 5 minutes; pour the water, bouillon cube, pomegranate molasses and cover. Simmer the mixture for 20 minutes until the rice is soft and has soaked up the water. Fry the croutons in oil till crisp and browned, drain and place on a plate. Pour the rice over the croutons and serve immediately with a sprinkle of dry mint powder if desired.
NOTE: It is preferable to fry the croutons a few minutes before the rice is done.
First time I saw a coffee grinder used as a percussion instrument!
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