Enjoy a flavorful, traditional dish for the New Year.
Pomegranates are both a beautiful, symbolic food for the upcoming Rosh HaShanah holiday, the Jewish New Year, and a traditional Persian ingredient. So I thought they would be a perfect pairing in a rice dish - a staple in Persian households - spiced with classic Persian seasonings. Turmeric, cumin and cinnamon are all ingredients in adwiya, the classic Persian spice mix.
Basmati rice is both said to be a very close approximation of the rice available in Iran and a variety I find fairly easy to cook. Toasting the rice along with the spices in the dish brings out their flavor in a big way and fills the house with a delicious aroma.
These days you can buy pomegranate arils that have already been removed from the fruit, but I think that way you're missing all the fun (and you can't count to see if it has 613 seeds). I've tried every method under the sun for easier deseeding - doing it underwater, using the back of a spoon to thwack the pomegranate - but ultimately I found that cracking it open into sections and using my fingers to gently pry the seeds out of the fruit is the most effective avenue.
Happy New Year!
Amy Spiro is a journalist and writer based in Jerusalem. She is a graduate of the Jerusalem Culinary Institute's baking and pastry track, a regular writer for The Jerusalem Post and blogs at bakingandmistaking.com. She also holds a BA in Journalism and Politics from NYU.