Pilaf, also called polao, pilau or pulao, is a dish in which a grain, such as rice or cracked wheat, is browned in oil, and then cooked in a seasoned stock. Depending on the local cuisine it may also contain a variety of meat and vegetables. Pilaf and similar dishes are common to Middle Eastern, Central, South Asian, Latin American and Caribbean cuisine.
This version of pulao rice is a bit of a fiddle but worth making it if you have the time.
- 2 Cups Basmati rice (well rinsed under cold water)
- 1 Knorr chicken cube (dissolved in 4 cups of hot water)
- 2 oz ghee or oil
- 6 whole cloves
- 6 black or green cardamom pods (slightly crushed under a flat knife)
- 1 5cm (2") rolled cinnamon stick
- 4 cups boiling water
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- pinch of saffron strands
- 1 oz flaked almonds
- 1 oz seedless sultanas
- 2 medium onions, chopped (1 for garnish, 1 for the rice)
- In a large heavy pan melt the ghee and fry both of the chopped onions until browned
- remove half of the onions and reserve, leaving most of the oil in the pan
- Add dry spices and fry for 2 minutes
- Add the rice and coat with the oil and spices
- Add water and bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes. Don't lift the lid
- Remove from heat and leave undisturbed for a further 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, reheat the reserved onions for a garnish.
- Add the sultanas and the almonds and fry for the last minute or so.
- Place rice on a serving dish and fork in the onions and almonds
- Leave the woody spices in for authenticity, but don't eat them!
Switch sultanas raisins or dried apricots.
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