Although I have not yet done a post for an Iraqi red rice on this blog, I was inspired to make this one from Taste of Beirut due to the complexity of flavors involved. It was the list of ingredients that attracted me, for the title was referring to a completely different dish in my mind (harraq isbao, as I know it, is a tangy lentil and coriander dish mixed with fried pita croutons, not a tomato rice). Also the directions completely ignored some key ingredients listed above, like the dried mint and pomegranate molasses. So I did some guess work and the result was worth it. Thanks to Jumana for maintaining her wonderful blog that has become a reference for many of us.
1 1/2 cup rice
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
3 garlic cloves, mashed in a mortar with a dash of salt
2 bouillon cube (optional)
4 tomatoes, diced fine (keep the tomato juice to cook the rice in)
salt, pepper or seven-spice to taste, add a dash of cinnamon if desired
2 Tbsp dry mint powder (optional)
1 cup water
2 pita bread, cut into croutons and fried in 1 cup of oil
In a saucepan, over medium heat, pour the oil; add the chopped onions and fry till golden.
Add the garlic and rice and fry for 20 seconds until all the grains are coated with oil.
Add the tomatoes, pomegranate molasses, salt, pepper, spices, mint and stew the mixture for 5 minutes; pour the hot water, and cover.
Simmer the mixture for 20 minutes until the rice is soft and has soaked up the water.
Fry the croutons in oil till crisp and browned, drain and place on a plate.
Pour the rice over the croutons and serve immediately.