Isn’t it nice when someone cooks for you? We were recently invited over for lunch to a new friends house, no small feat considering that she was cooking for a total of 8 people (2 Moms + her 3 kids + my 3 kids); that’s a party in my opinion! Though I love being the head chef of my house, I really enjoyed eating a lovely meal made by the caring hands of another, it was absolutely delicious and I was so grateful.
This dish is inspired by one of the items she served. It’s my take on a North Indian staple, a dressed up version of regular basmati rice that is unbelievably fragrant, light and delicious. Though it is usually served as a side dish it could easily be topped with chopped or whole cashews and eaten on its own for a quick lunch
You can find many versions of this recipe but this combination of spices and seasoning works wonderfully and received two thumbs up from all members of my family. This recipe is easily veganized by using coconut oil rather then ghee.
- 2 cups basmati rice
- 1 large shallot - diced finely
- 2 cloves garlic - diced finely
- 1 tbsp shredded ginger
- 3 cloves
- 1.5 tbsp cumin seeds
- 3 cardamom pods
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup peas
- 1 tbsp ghee
- 1 tbsp oil
- 4 cups water
- salt to taste
- cilantro for garnish (optional)
- chopped or whole cashews (optional)
- Rinse basmati rice until the water runs clear. This step is very important as it rids the rice of any excess starch and gives the final product the desired fluffy texture. Soak rice in water while you prepare other ingredients.
- Heat up ghee in a saucepan on medium heat. Add in shallot, garlic and ginger. Add extra oil. Saute this until shallots are starting to brown and caramelize.
- Add cloves, cumin seeds, cardamom, cinnamon stick and bay leaves to the mix. Heat until fragrant.
- Drain rice and add to the mixture. Sautee for a few minutes.
- Add 4 cups of water and peas to the saucepan. Add salt and taste the water. It should taste as salty as you would like your rice.
- Bring mixture to a rolling boil. Add and lid and turn stove down to minimum. Cook for 15 minutes.
- Open lid and taste a few grains. The water should be incorporated and rice should be fluffy, soft and cooked through.
- Fluff rice with a fork. Serve hot with cilantro leaves as garnish if desired.
You can eat all the aromatics in this dish other than the cinnamon stick, but if you don’t care to bite into cardamom or cloves, simply remove before serving.