Persian Rice

- 2 cups brown basmati rice - 2 tsp cardamom - 1 tbsp - turmeric - 1 tsp salt - pinch of saffron threads - 1 cup golden raisins - 8 dried - dates, chopped - 1 cup parsley, finely chopped - 3 scallions, white parts chopped - 1/2 shelled pistachios, chopped and toasted - 1 tablespoon olive oil
1. Soak the basmati rice overnight, or for an hour, if you can and then rinse the rice twice in a colander. If you don’t have that much time, soak the rice for 10 minutes and then rinse it out 5 times. This helps for fluffier rice. 2. Place the first five ingredients in a rice cooker, give it a stir, and add water to the line indicated and wait till its done. If you don’t have a rice cooker place rice in a heavy pot, add four cups of water, bring to a boil and then place a lid on it and bring down the heat to let it simmer for 25 minutes (keep checking on it to make sure the rice doesn’t burn, if it looks too dry, add more water). 3. Meanwhile, do all the chopping for the rest of the ingredients and toast the pistachios in a dry skillet over low heat or in a toaster oven. 4. When rice is done, place half of the raisins and the dates in a shallow serving dish or bowl, put the rice on top and cover with a dishtowel or saran wrap. This helps plump up the raisins and dates. After about 15 minutes, remove the covering and add the rest of the raisins and dates and add parsely, scallions and olive oil. Mix everything together well and taste. Add more salt, if necessary. Smooth it all out and garnish with toasted pistachios and if you have extra dates, use them up as well. 5. Can be eaten warm or cold and is a good dish to make ahead. Serves 6-8.