March 30, 2008

Peas pilaf

Rice is a staple of the southern states of India and a typical South-Indian meal consists of rice served with different veg/non-veg gravies and dry dishes. Hence, variations in the preparation of rice is always desired, a welcome change from the routine plain rice. Infact the different ways in which the rice can be spiced up is endless. The wide variety of rice available is by itself mind-boggling. I should admit, I am not an expert on rice !! One of the varieties of rice is the Basmati rice which was probably made familiar to the people all over the world by the increasing popularity of biriyanis in the Indian restaurants everywhere. Anyways, here is a creative way to introduce variety to your daily menu. The green peas in the pilaf looks adorable against the white rice background and the fried topping of onions, raisins and cashews make the dish irresistible !! Since the weather was good yesterday, we went out and by the time we were back, my legs were aching after a long day of walking around - browsing and shopping for clothes and groceries. Even after such a tiresome day, this recipe looked so simple, it was our dinner !

Recipe (Serves 4)

Basmati rice - 2 cups
Green peas - fresh or frozen - 1 cup
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Water - 4 cups
Butter - 2 tsp
Onion - 1 small ( 3oz ), sliced
Chopped cashews - 2-3 tbsp
Raisins - 2-3 tbsp
Cinnamon stick - 1 in piece
Bay leaf - 1
Peppercorns - 3


Wash the rice 2-3 times in fresh water and soak the rice in water for 30 minutes. Drain.

Boil the water in a heavy saucepan with a tight lid.

Add the rice, peas and salt.

Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 25 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.

Spread out the rice in a flat dish or pan for about 30 minutes, to cool and dry.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saute pan over medium-high heat and fry onion until browned.

Add the cashews, raisins, cinnamon, bayleaf and pepprcorns and fry for a minute.

Spread the rice on a platter and garnish with the fried seasonings.

Serve hot with raita and curry !

Source: Creative cooking, the Costco way.

I would like to suggest the following changes.
  1. I would probably add a cardamom pod, cinnamon and a few cloves to the boiling water while cooking rice. The rice will be fragrant.
  2. I added about 1/2 tsp of salt. Adjust salt to your taste.
  3. Since the cooking time varies with the rice, check the rice at intervals to prevent overcooking.
  4. I would suggest using two onions for garnish.
  5. This pilaf would be best served with spicy curries.

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