Recipe details

Denise says:

  • Syrian food contains many elements of cuisines from a wide geographic area including Spanish and Italian influences as well as the Far East making rose water and lime important flavours.
  • Cinnamon, turmeric, sweet paprika, cumin, allspice, saffron, olives and preserved lemons are often incorporated in their delicious cuisine.
  • Preparation Time:  15 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 45 minutes
  • Serves:4- 6 people


  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • ~
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil/ rapeseed oil divided, plus 1 teaspoon
  • ~
  • 250g basmati rice
  • 500ml water
  • ~
  • 200g carrots- peeled and coarsely grated
  • 2 medium size onions – peeled and roughly chopped
  • ~
  • 75g dried apricots, quartered
  • 100g dried figs – stalk removed and quartered
  • 50g dried cherries
  • 50g pistachios
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Garnish: Seeds from 1 pomegranate and sprigs of fresh mint


  1. Combine salt, sweet paprika, turmeric, cumin and black pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a deep saucepan with a lid. Add rice and spices and stir well.
  3. Cook over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly and making sure the rice gets well coated with the oil and the spices.
  4. Add 500ml water. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes, remove from heat and let it sit for 15 minutes covered.
  5. In the meantime, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a non-stick frying pan.
  6. Add onions and carrots and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes stirring frequently, adding water 1 tablespoon at a time if necessary, to prevent from burning.
  7. Transfer onions to a plate and in the same frying pan heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Add dried fruit and pistachios nuts and cook over medium low for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  8. Once the rice is ready, fluff it with a fork, add onions, dried fruit, pistachios and lemon zest and toss well.
  9. Garnish at the end with a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds and sprigs of mint on the rice.


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