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Sephardic Jeweled Rosh Hashanah Rice

Sweet and fragrant, this Sephardic Jeweled Rosh Hashanah Rice dish incorporates symbolic holiday foods.

  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings 1x


Units Scale
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • ⅛ tsp black pepper
  • 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil divided, plus 1 tsp
  • 2 medium size onions, diced small
  • 10 dried apricots, quartered
  • 6 dried figs (we used Smyrna), quartered
  • ¼ cup dried cherries
  • ¼ cups pistachios or pumpkin seeds
  • 2 cups long-grain rice (we used jasmine, but you can use basmati or whatever you prefer)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1½ tsp fresh lemon or orange zest
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds


  1. Combine salt, sweet paprika, turmeric, cumin and black pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a deep, nonstick skillet 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 3 cups 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 Tbsp olive oil in a nonstick skillet.
  6. Add onions and cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes stirring frequently, adding water 1 Tbsp at a time if necessary, to prevent from burning.
  7. Transfer onions to a plate and in the same skillet, heat 1 tsp olive oil. Add dried fruit and pistachios or pumpkin seeds and cook over medium low for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  8. Once the rice is ready, fluff it with a fork, add onions, dried fruit, pistachios and lemon or orange zest and toss well.
  9. Right before serving, sprinkle pomegranate seeds on the rice.
  • Author: Vicky Cohen and Ruth Fox
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Quick
  • Cuisine: Sephardic