Pilau rice

This dish has a nice balance between sweet and savoury, spicy and creamy. It is a delicious accompaniment to spiced chicken. You could also add some orange or lemon peel to give it an even more Arabic vibe. Use dried apricots and almonds instead of sultanas and pine nuts as a variation.

Pilau rice (serves 4)
Adapted from The Conran Cookbook

50 g butter
2 onions, very thinly sliced
225 g basmati rice
4 cloves
8 cardamom pods, smashed
5 cm piece of cinnamon stick, broken in 2
2 bay leaves
1 chicken stock cube
50 g sultanas (light raisins)
150 ml milk
300 ml water
30 g pine nuts

Melt the butter in a pan on medium heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt, sauté on low heat until the onions are soft, golden and translucent. Add the rice, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring regularly, until the rice becomes translucent. Add the bay leaves, chicken stock cube (crumbled), sultanas, milk, water and stir to mix. Cover the pan with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Add a little more water if necessary. Meanwhile, roast the pine nuts in a dry skillet. Sprinkle the pine nuts over the rice to serve.

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