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Muhammar (Baharain Sweet Rice)

I found a version of this - Muhammar (Baharain Sweet Rice) - in every compendium of Baharaini cuisine. Not having a very sweet tooth, I found the recipe odd and the pairing - with a spicy fish - even more so. But I stand corrected; sticky and sweet, this rice was the perfect dish for this meal. And this dinner quickly eclipsed every other as my absolute favorite so far on this cooking around the world adventure of ours.

2 C brown basmati rice, washed and soaked in cold water
2 C raw turbinado sugar
2 T butter, melted
3 cardamom pods, partially opened
1 star anise pod (the original called for a cinnamon stick, but I was out)
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
3 saffron threads
1 T rosewater

Soak saffron threads in rosewater and steep for saffron to release its color.

Place sugar in a saucepan over moderate heat and stir until it melts. Make sure not to burn the sugar.

Pour 4 cups of warm water over the melted sugar then add in the cardamom pods, ground cardamom, and star anise.

Bring the mixture to a boil then add rice. Cook until rice is partially cooked. Remove the rice from heat and drain in a colander.

Put the rice back into the saucepan and pour in melted butter then sprinkle with the rosewater-saffron mixture. Simmer with the lid on over very low heat until the rice is cooked.


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