Portable jeweled turmeric brown rice cups, made with ease in a muffin tin! They are vegan, gluten-free, and easy to make–perfect for packed lunches!
Jeweled rice is a dish I fell for, head over heels, at first bite.
My friend Roxy invited me to her house where her mother, born and raised in Theran, had prepared a Persian feast, including gorgeous vegetable dishes, succulent grilled meats and fish, platters of fruit, and decadent sweets. But the dish I zeroed in on upon arrival was a bowl of golden, jeweled rice.
It was a kaleidoscope of colors, flavors and textures: long-grain rice, exotic saffron, warm spices, dried fruits, verdant herbs and crunchy nuts, all of which could be experienced in every bite.
These portable rice cups are my tiny tribute. While they are not in the same league as Roxy’s mother’s brilliant, they are, nonetheless, d*%m delicious.
Brown basmati rice stars, but you can use any long grain rice of your choosing. If you choose another brown rice, however, note that both the cooking time and amount of water required will increase (look at the package to determine quantities and timing).
In place of saffron, this golden rice gets its color from turmeric, which is far more affordable and available. Not only does it permeate the rice with a warm flavor and fragrance (I find it similar to ginger, but more savory), it also offers powerful health benefits, including anti-inflammatory compounds, antioxidant compounds, and a range of compounds that benefit both brain and heart health.
Dried cranberries are my pick for these pucks (both for their tart-sweet taste and garnet color), but use what you like. The same holds true with the nuts: I broke from tradition and used pepitas in lieu of pistachios, but I kept some almonds in the mix.
A bit of psyllium husk and water is all that’s needed to hold these together in portable, handheld form. I am already imagining that these would be great made in mini muffin tins, too, as a gorgeous and flavorful appetizer (or smaller snack). They would be perfect for a summer picnic, too.
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease or spray all 12 cups of a standard size muffin tin.
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion; cook and stir for 5 to 6 minutes until softened. Add the rice, turmeric, salt, cardamom, and pepper. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Add 3 cups water to skillet; reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 35 minutes until rice is tender.
Meanwhile, in a small cup, or bowl, stir together the psyllium and remaining 1/3 cup water. Let stand at least 5 minutes to thicken.
Uncover rice and fluff with a fork; stir in the psyllium mixture, nuts, cranberries and parsley. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Divide rice evenly among prepared cups.
Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 21 minutes until tops of rice cups are golden brown at the edges and the surface feels slightly dry. Cool in tin on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around edge of each cup and remove rice cups, Serve warm or cool to room temperature.
Storage: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 1 month. These are fine carried around at room temperature (e.g., lunch bag, bike pack, backpack) for about 6 to 8 hours.