Serving the Guest: A Sufi Cookbook
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Rice Jelly With Honey & Saffron
Zerde is a festive dish popular throughout Asia Minor for at least six hundred years, popular at weddings, birth celebrations, and during the first ten days of Muharram.
Total time: 4+ hours
Cooking time: 1-¼ hours
Chilling: 3+ hours
12 cups water
1 cup rinsed rice
1-½ cups honey
6 tbsp. Arrowroot
1 tsp. Saffron
½ cup water
2 tsp. Cinnamon (optional)
¼ cup rosewater
¼ cup golden raisins
¼ cup pine nuts, almonds or pistachios, blanched and sliced
¼ cup pomegranate seeds

In a large pot, bring 12 cups of water to a boil. Add the rice, lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, until the grains are cooked through. Stir in the sugar, raise the heat and bring to a rapid boil. Continue to boil for 5 minutes.

Dissolve the arrowroot and saffron in ½ cup of water, and add to the pot. Add the cinnamon (if desired) and rosewater, lower the heat and simmer for another 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the zerde to rest for 5 minutes before transferring to a serving bowl. Chill for several hours before serving, then garnish with raisins, nuts and pomegranate seeds.