A few weeks ago, I bought a package of dried barberries. I saw them at my local ethnic grocery and first thing I thought when I saw them was "Silk Road Cooking!". I've only cooked out of that particular book once and I was looking forward to trying something else from it. I highly recommend the cookbook. It's full of beautiful and exotic dishes that are sure to please the world traveller inside you. There are several recipes which call for dried barberries, which are a tart flavored dried berry that is commonly used in Iranian/Persian cooking.
I believe I got these for under $3.
They kind of look like smaller version of dried cranberries.
Here is how the beautiful "polow" (or pilaf) turned out. Beautifully studded with the red berries, pumpkin seeds (I substituted them for pine nuts) and flavored with golden caramelized onions, cumin seeds, cardamom, saffron and rosewater. The dish is named for Astara, which is a city on the southwest coast of the Caspian Sea on the Russian-Iran border. It's a very complex flavored dish with the earthiness of the cumin, sweetness of the browned onions and extreme tartness of the berries. I enjoyed the rice with the vegetable tagine I made yesterday which was the perfect accompaniment. The sweetness of the stew went well with the strong tartness of the pilaf.