Serving the Guest: A Sufi Cookbook
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O God, this that I hold in my hand,
I know not whose sustenance it may be;
Nor know I in whose hand my own sustenance is held.
Vegetarian Tekke Pilaf
Total time: 1-½ hours
2 cups currants
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 tbsp. butter (for almonds)
2 cups, whole, unblanched almonds
9 cups water
6 cups rice
4 tbsp. butter (for rice)
½ cup olive oil
2 cups finely chopped onion
½ tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pepper
2 tbsp. finely chopped garlic
4 cups diced red potatoes
4 cups summer squash, in ½" semicircles
2 cups green peas
3 cups cooked chickpeas
1 cup, finely chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

Marinate the currants for 30 minutes in the lemon juice, then drain and reserve the lemon juice.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, then pour it over the almonds and stir to coat evenly. Pour the almonds in a single layer onto a baking sheet and roast them until they begin to give off an aroma, about 10 minutes. Turn off the oven, stir the almonds around, then let them sit in the warm oven with the door slightly open while the rest of the dish is being prepared.

In a large, tight-lidded pot (at least 4 quarts), boil 9 cups of water with 2 teaspoons of salt. Add rice, currants and butter; stir well to combine. Bring the water to a boil again, stirring to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot, then cover the pot, lower the heat, and steam for 15 minutes.

While the rice is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Sauté the onion until golden, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the ground cloves, coriander, salt and pepper over the onions. Stir in the garlic, potatoes and reserved lemon juice, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the squash and peas, and simmer for 10 more minutes. Stir in the chick-peas and cook for another 5 minutes, until the chickpeas are heated through.

Combine the rice, vegetables and almonds in a serving dish and sprinkle with chopped cilantro or parsley.