Vibrant in both looks and flavour, this is an impressive accompaniment to dishes such as curries, stews, grilled or roasted meat or fish. Barberries are commonly used in Persian cuisine to impart little bursts of tart fruitiness.
On a stovetop, heat a medium-large pot, melt butter, then add onion and sauté until soft and golden. Add ras el hanout, stir for a minute, then stir in orange zest, barberries and saffron. Add the water and orange juice and around 1 teaspoon salt. Stir to combine.
Bring to boil then reduce to simmer. Let it gently cook with the lid off until the liquid is almost evaporated, and holes appear on top. Turn the heat off and put the lid on the pot. Leave it for at least 10 minutes to soak up the remaining liquid. Meanwhile, in a dry frying pan, lightly toast the pistachios and almonds, being careful not to let them burn. Set 2 tablespoons of the toasted nuts aside to use to garnish the rice right at the end. Fluff up cooked rice with a fork and gently fold through toasted nuts.
Transfer rice to a serving dish and scatter over remaining nuts and pomegranate seeds.
Buy spices like ras el hanout regularly, in small amounts, to ensure freshness.
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 teaspoon ras el hanout spice blend
Zest and juice 2 oranges
2 cups basmati rice
½ cup barberries
½ cup sliced almonds
½ cup shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
½ cup pomegranate arils, to serve