Jeweled Brown Basmati Rice and Quinoa (Morassa Polo) from 'The New Persian Kitchen'

[Photograph: Sara Remington]

Jeweled rice is a magnificent dish. Adorned with dried fruit, toasted nuts, rose petals, and pomegranate seeds, it is a panoply of flavors and colors. In Lousia Shafia's The New Persian Kitchen, the jeweled rice is made even more compelling with a combination of grains. The mixture of quinoa and brown basmati rice adds an earthy complexity that counters the sweet and rich flavors from the toppings.

Why I picked this recipe: Once glance at the photograph of this gorgeous dish and it was placed at the very top of my "to-cook" list.

What worked: The combination of nuts, dried fruit, and flowers in this dish is the perfect balance of rich, tangy, and floral flavors. It is the one rice dish that will totally steal the show from everything else on the table.

What didn't: Despite the soaking, rinsing, and toasting of the grains, I still ended up with clumpy quinoa. Next time, I'll go down a bit on the cooking liquid.

Suggested tweaks: If you can't find barberries, you could substitute currants, or chopped dried cherries or cranberries (try to find some with very little sugar added). Good pomegranates are hard to find right now, so I left off the seeds. Shafia also suggests experimenting with the grains if you'd like; you'll most likely need to adjust the cooking liquid if you do so.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The New Persian Kitchen to give away this week.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, Berkeleyside NOSH, and blogs at cookingwolves.wordpress.com.

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