Friday, March 12, 2010


People who know me must have gathered by now that I very much enjoy the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. The incredible flavors as well as the ingredients used set my soul on fire and I really love the way that food is prepared. In those regions of the world, the dishes have this special holiday feel that brings sunshine and happiness to the table...

Lately, I have invested in two magnificent cookery books on the foods of Turkey, Lebanon and Morocco (Claudia Roden's gorgeous cookbook "Arabesque", Greg Malouf's fabulous "Turquoise - A Chef's Travel In Turkey" & Nevin Halici's "Turkish Cookbook"). In autumn 2009, Tobias at "Tobias Cooks" even sent me a superb Turkish cookbook (“Turkish Cooking: Classic Traditions, Fresh Ingredients, Authentic Flavours, Aromatic Recipes” by Ghillie Basan) that I won thanks to my "Stuffed Quinces" recipe and also thanks to all the people who voted for me (thanks!). I can never have to many cookbooks on the subject.

Nowadays, I cook at least one or two Middle Eastern/Mediterranean dishes a month. That kind of food is so fine that I could feed on it on a daily basis. Just to think about it makes me drool and crave the exhaliratig flavors of cumin, allspice, sumac, cinnamon, rose water, tahini, spinach, pine nuts, chickpeas, fresh flat bread, eggplants, tomatoes, lamb, oregano, dill, coriander, etc... I now have an irrepressible need to take a trip to my favorite Lebanese (Goodtaste, 2 chemin sur Grosse, 01210 ferney Voltaire, France) and Balkanic (Shala Mutimarché, 83 rue de Lyon, 1203 Genève) foodstores and raid both of them!

So, last Saturday, I decided to make one of my favorite
Lebanese-inspired dishes that consists of fluffy "Barberry Pilaf" served with fried fish or chicken breasts (this time I opted for chicken) and a wonderfully creamy tahini (I'm addicted to it) pomegranate sauce. It is a meal we appreciate a lot and which I cook on a regular basis.

Baberry fruits grow on spiny shrubs of the genus Berberis. Several varieties exist and depending on the variety, the fruits may vary in color from black or purple to white or yellow. Of all the barberries, the common barberry or the jaundice berry is most commonly eaten. This fruit is native to Europe and temperate Asia. It is grown in many parts of the globe, but Iran is the largest producer of zereshk (barberries) in the world.

Barberries are quite acidic and very rich in vitamin C. They somehow remind me of cranberries with their sharp taste and tart flavor. You probably wouldn't want to eat them fresh out of hand. In the past, the fruits were usually preserved with some sort of sweetener to make preserves, jellies, preserves, and syrup, or were candied. They were also prepared as a pickle in vinegar, and used in pies and other baked goods. Now, we generally find them dried and we use them much like we use dried currants.

Although you can find many recipes for "Barberry Pilaf" the recipe I am sharing with you today is the product of my own imagination. I came up with that recipe when i wanted to make a use of my barberries and thze Gulf spice mix that Corinnne (thanks, I need more LOL !!!) had kindly given me.

The Basmati rice has a wonderful round flavor and refined fragrance thanks to the spices
, onion and garlic. It is perfectly well-balanced. The addition of barberries brings an interesting and contrasting tang to the whole dish. Delightful!

~ Barberry Pilaf ~
Recipe by Rosa @ Rosa's Yummy Yums 2010.


1 Tbs Olive oil
1 Onion, finely chopped
2 Cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 Tsp Baharat spice mix (Gulf-style)
3/4 Tsp Ground cumin
1/4 Tsp Ground cinnamon
4 Tbs Dried barberries
280g Basmati rice
530ml/g Water
1 Cube Organic chicken stock
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
30g Unsalted butter

1. In a large pan, fry the onion and garlic in oil until soft, golden and transclucid (onion).
2. While the onions and garlic and frying, wash the basmati rice under cold water, until the water is clear. Strain well and set aside.
3. Add the spices to the onion in the pan and stir fry them until fragrant (1 minute max).
4. Add the water, cube chicken stock rice and barberries. Salt and pepper to taste.
5. Over high heat, stir constantly and bring to the boil.
6. Once it boils, lower the temperature (lowest possible) and cover with a lid.
7. Cook with the lid on for 12 minutes, then turn off the heat and let the rice rest for another 12 minutes with the lid on (see remarks).
8. Lift the lid, add a little butter and stir delicately with a fork.
9. Serve.

When making Basmati rice (point 7), always keep in mind that you have to use the same recipient to measure the rice and water (2x recipient of rice fo
r 3 1/2 x recipient of water). The recipient I used for this recipe had a 3/4 cup capacity (2 x 3/4 cup of rice for 31/2 x 3/4 cup of water).
When the rice is cooking or resting DO NO
T lift the lid (or stir the rice), otherwise you'll liberate the steam and will end up with a badly cooked rice as well as mush.

Serving suggestions:
Serve this rice as an accompaniment to meat (steak, chick
en breasts, duck leg/breast, lamb roast, roasted turkey, game, etc...) or fish (friend or steamed).
I recommend you to serve both the meat/fish and rice with a tahini sauce called "Tarator" or with the cooked version of this sauce.


~ Riz Pilaf Au Barberries ~
Recette par Rosa @ Rosa's Yummy Yums

1 CS d'Huile d'olive
1 Oignon, haché finement
2 Gousses d'ail, hachées finement1
1/2 CC de
Baharat (mélange d'épices du Golfe Persique)
3/4 CC de Cumin en poudre
1/4 CC de Cannnelle en poudre
4 CS de Barberries
280g de Riz b
530ml/g d'Eau

1 Cube de Bouillon de poule bio
Sel, à volonté
Poivre, à volonté
30g de Beurre non-salé

1. Dans une grande casserole, faire revenir l'oignon et l'ail jusqu'à ce qu'ils soient dorés et cuits.
2. Pendant que l'oignon et l'ail sont mis à frire, rinser le riz jusqu'à ce que l'eau devienne claire. Faire bien égoutter et mettre de côté.
3. Ajouter les épices et faire cuire tout en remuant pendant 1 minute afin que les arômes se libèrent.
4. Ajouter l'eau, le cube de bouillon, les barberries et le riz. Saler et poivrer. Mélanger.
5. Augmenter la température et porter à ébullition tout en remuant.
6. Baisser immédiatement la température et mettre le couvercle sur la casserole.
7. Cuire pendant 12 minutes (avec le couvercle), puis éteindre le feu et laisser reposer encore 12 minutes avec le couvercle (voir remarques).
8. Ajouter le beurre et mélanger délicatement à l'aide d'une fourchette.
9. Servir.

Il y a une règle simple pour réussir ce riz: utilisez le même récipient pour mesurer le riz et l'eau (2x récipient de riz pour 3 1/2 x récipients d'eau). Pour cette recette, j'ai utilisé un récipient ayant une contenance de 180ml (2 x récipient de 180ml de riz pour 3 1/2 x récipient de 180ml).
Durant la cuisson du riz (point 7), NE SOULEVEZ EN AUCUN CAS le couvercle (et ne mélangez en aucun cas le riz) autrement votre riz le pourra plus cuire correctement car l'intérieur de la casserole aura perdu sa vapeur.

Idées de présentation:
Servir ce riz en tant qu'accompagnement.
Il se marie parfaitement avec de la viande (steak, filet de poulet, magret/cuisse de canard, dinde cuite au four, rôti d'agneau, venaison, etc...) ou du poisson (grillé ou cuit à la vapeur).
Je vous recommande vivement de servir la viande/le poisson ainsi que ce riz avec de la sauce au tahini (pâte de sésame) appelée "Tarator" ou avec la version cuite de cette sauce.


  1. :) let me call my in-laws !!! I know I told this many times ;)
    A +++

  2. Magnifique!
    Je ne connais pas les barberries; je vais fouiller le net. Ça ressemble drôlement à des canneberges séchées, et ça j'adore!
    Je prends.

  3. Delicious Rosa. A great selection of books too.

  4. Rosa I didn't even know the fruits of the barberry were edible. I have never seen dried ones. The rice sounds gorgeous. By the way I like your new look Blog.

  5. Thank you for introducing us to this wonderful fruit/ looks beautiful in the pilaf Rosa!

  6. Must smell divine when you are cooking this up, Rosa! We grow barberry here for a thick and thorny privacy hedge, but I don't know if they are edible. Would like to find them at a ME grocer. Thanks for the tip!

  7. Alors la, si tu aimes l'epine vinette, je te suggere d'essayer 2 recettes iraniennes de Najmieh Batmanglij:

    -le riz

    -et le Kuku sabzi, une espece de fritada d'herbes

  8. You had me at basmati rice!

    Looks wonderful!


  9. I love this style of food too and enjoy learning more about it. I've never tried barberries, but they sound delicious as does your pilaf!

  10. If given a choice on a menu I gravitate towards Middle Eastern/Mediterranean cooking as well Rosa. I have not heard of barberries but they look similar to Saskatoon berries so they could probably substitute well.

  11. beautiful rice plate my friend
    I googled the barberry and found that in Ontario there are European and Japenese Barberry trees here and the European ones carry the fruit... This is very interesting...

    Thanks so much for sharing.

  12. Wow, lovely .... I love barberry. I have 3 of her book, but none of them is the one you have here. I must look for that book asap. One of her book is odd enough an Asian cookbook. Anyway, I like most of her Turkish recipes.
    Have a wonderful weekend Rosa,

    How's Fridlolin doing?

  13. Rosa, it's 10 a.m. here, and I am craving this dish!

    The fact that my paternal relatives are from the Middle East (Lebanon and Syria) may have something to do with me being a huge fan of Middle Eastern cuisine. So as I was reading this entry, I was drooling right along with you.
    I'm very familiar (and oh, so enamored) with all its wonderful ingredients...except barberries. I've never had them, but I'll fix that.

    Have a good weekend!

  14. Very special pilaf, thanks for sharing. I do not have much experience with middle east dishes, glad to learn something new.

  15. Thats a unique one in pilaf but definately looks delicious rosa...have a nice weekend..

  16. adoro il riso pilaf che faccio spesso, la tua ricetta mi sembra deliziosa con quel tocco di dolce che amo molto.
    Buon fine settimana Rosa :)

  17. Rosa,
    I'm so sorry to hear about Fridolin. But, look at it on a bright sight right, he is 15, and has been quite healthy all his life. Hope this healer can at least ease his pain. Good to know that he has good appetite.

    Stay well,

  18. Thanks Rosa for introducing me to this new berry for me!!

    Your pilaff looks stuuning & very tasty!!

  19. I love this rice Look fantatsic, and delicious, gloria

    I love pilaf!

  20. This must really taste fantastic with the spices and basmati rice.

  21. I love rice. Would love to taste this. Looks delicious!


  22. je ne connais pas du tout mais je sens les saveirs d'ici...

  23. Such a lovely pilaf, very intriguing addition of barberries! I've never had those!

  24. Your barberry pilaf sounds wonderful. It's my type of food, unfortunately my bf doesn't like such dishes. Never heard of barberries before. They resemble rose hip.

  25. I absolutely love barberries, and this dish looks fantastic. I cannot wait to give it a try - oh goodness, you got me wishing it was dinner time.

  26. la cuisine iranienne m'a tjs attiré ! Pierre

  27. Wow this sounds delicious! I love Middle Easter dishes as well. Basmati rice is also very common in India -- I bet it's fabulous in this dish.

  28. Rosa,
    This looks incredible and I bet it tasted wonderful with the chicken. I've never even heard of barberries. I'm going to keep my eye out for them.

  29. I didn't even know that barberries were edible. This looks so flavorful.

  30. Wonderful! I love Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food best too. Great flavours! I have the first two books on my list, I will add the others. Many thanks!

  31. Rosa!
    Excellent post!thanks for the information I really appreciate it, I love to prepare this kind of food during the summer and I will look for these books!

  32. Rosa,

    i need to find barberries. your pilaf looks yummy

  33. love barberry, I use this in the rice for saffron chicken. Your barberry pilaf looks amazing!

  34. Rosa,
    Thank you for the great cookbook recommendations, I have been looking for a good Middle Eastern and Moroccan cookbook.
    I have been cooking with more Middle Eastern ingredients lately, since I found a great market near by.

  35. Looks delicious, I've never had a chance to try barberries :(

  36. Merci beaucoup Rosa de tes passages et de ta fidélité. J'adore le riz sur toutes les formes et les cuissons..alors là je suis fan. Je te souhaite un bon week-end !

  37. Tu nous fais voyager aujourd'hui Rosa. Un peu de solei dans l'assiette nous fera le plus grand bien.
    Bon week-end

  38. Glad to know you love lebanese food :)
    Your pilaf looks delicious!!!

  39. The pilaf looks magnificent!

  40. I love the smoky cumin against the sweet berries, must find these books as well!

  41. Rosa, I always learn from you. I have never had Barberries, but I would enjoy them as I do cranberries I'm sure. This pilaf sounds wonderful. Enjoy your awesome cookbooks!

  42. Rosa, you are such an inspiration! I have received the book Arabesque as a gift and never used it! I will be checking it out today! I love all the spices you mentioned so I am sure I will find something to make easily. Thanks!

  43. Delightful indeed, Rosa. I knew nothing about edible Barberries before this post. Your pilaf looks so yummy. Thank you so much for sharing.

    I too lean toward Middle Eastern food while dining out. I will one day attempt my own meal. Have you ever visited a Taste of Beirut? Joumana posts quite an assortment of Lebanese recipes.

  44. Rosa

    I am very happy that you love Lebanese food; I also love your pilaf and barberries; I discovered these in California when I had a lot of Persian friends who made this rice; this is not something that is cooked in Lebanon originally (maybe the restaurants in your area market it as Lebanese but it is Persian)
    Persian food is my next favorite after Lebanese food, sometimes even taking first place!

  45. What a pretty pilaf, Rosa! I love how the barberries look like little gems peaking out of the rice.

  46. Looks amazing. I love barberries, ever since the Iranian feast I cooked with a friend. Speaking of which, they're really great in Iranian herb omelette, kuku.

  47. ROsa, I recently became and addicto to barberies, and I also use them in my salads, I love them! your rice looks "perfecto" to me, cheers darling!

  48. Ce plat original doit etre très parfumé!
    Je ne connaissai pas les barberries, merci pour cette découverte!

  49. Moi non plus je ne connaissais pas les barberries et sur le net, il n'y a pas grand chose en français sur le sujet.
    En tout cas, c'est une cuisson du riz que je n'expérimente pas assez. Je prends note.
    Est-ce que Fridolin va mieux?

  50. Hi Rosa
    Anything you touch you convert in pure art.
    Lovely pictures.
    Loved your pilaf rice.
    Wishing you a wonderful weekend x

  51. I have 4 little suprises for u on the link below .which jus might be the last at VAnillaStrawberrySpringfields co z i'll be moving to BSM soon....
    So do hop and see why i think u are a fantastic, creative blogger and my happy pals...cheers and so do hope u enjoy it too....

  52. Ton plat est magnifique, Bravo! :)
    Je ne connaissais pas du tout les "barberries", merci de me l'avoir fait découvrir! ;)
    Bisous & Bonne journée

  53. Wow, what a fantastic recipe and stunning photos - as it says on one of them, perfect! I'd love to come and look through your cookbooks one day and I can only imagine how wonderful this tastes. Have a great Sunday!

  54. I just love this type of food !!!! Reminds me of my vacations in Morocco, and Tunisia...
    Great post !!!

  55. What a fabulous ingredient and a lovely pilaf!

  56. Rosa,
    Wow, your blog music just woke me up! Wonderful flavor combinations and textures in your risotto!

  57. Love the spices and flavours here. I've never heard of barberry though. Interesting.

  58. It looks very delicious!!
    Thank you so much for your vote, I really appreciate it, please tell me whenever you need my vote.

  59. The flavour of the rice is so yummy! Can't wait to try this out. Thanks for sharing, Rosa.

  60. Looks delicious Rosa. I am glad you like the book.


  61. hummmmm ! comme tu me tentes !!!! terrible ! je commence à avoir faim en plus !
    ihhiihhi !

  62. WOW..I haven't had a really good pilaf in ages and yours is making me crave it. I love the idea of blueberries incoporated into it to give it that sweet bite. Magnificent as always, Rosa!

  63. Une découverte pour moi et une curiosité que tu as su attiser avec gourmandise.

  64. Je ne connaissais pas du tout cette variété de riz mais je suis sûre que c'est délicieux, je l'imagine bien accompagné un poisson pour ma part!
    Bonne fin de soirée

  65. I'm a big fan of Middle Eastern food, too, but I've never heard of Barberries! You're teaching me something new! :-)

  66. I've always wanted to try barberries! This rice dish fits exactly to my taste.

  67. Avec ton plat tu me fais découvrir quelque chose, c'est la première fois que j'entends parler des barberries.

  68. i love mediterranean flavors! the barberry is new to me, but i'm quite confident it'd be something i'd enjoy, particularly prepared in the manner! good stuff, rosa.

  69. Wow!! Pilaf sounds very flavorful!

  70. Ce riz a l'air vraiment bon avec de merveilleuses saveurs du moyen orient.


  71. With the cumin and cinnamon, I definitely would dive right in. This sounds scrumptious.

  72. Pilaf is a lovely dish and this looks just fine!

  73. This dish looks so lovely! I'm not familiar with barberries, but they sound very interesting. I have Arabesque and it is a beautiful book with terrific recipes!

  74. We use barberries in Azerbaijani cooking too. I love their tart flavor. Great recipe you have come up with! Thanks for sharing with us.

  75. definitely will jive well with my beef kebab! you make me so speechless! :)