One of the places black cardamom does play the lead is in simple rice dishes. Once again, dried chiles provide a spicy compliment to the pods' smokey resin flavors. But the real hero is lime juice, the perfect balance to black cardamom. The result is a hot, slightly sweet, and surprisingly complex rice dish perfect as a side for greens, lentils, or simply-cooked meat. [Pictured: Black cardamom pods.]
- 2 cups of long-grained rice, preferably basmati
- 2 medium yellow onions, finely diced
- 5 black cardamom pods
- 6 small dried red chiles, preferably chiles de japonés
- Juice of one lime
- 1/3 cup of oil
Heat a large pot on medium-high, then add the oil. When it starts to shimmer, add the chiles and black cardamom pods and stir constantly till fragrant, about a minute.
Add the rice and stir so the oil coats each grain. Scrape the bottom of the pan frequently to prevent sticking, as the rice will give off plenty of starch. When the edges of the grains have turned translucent and the centers are milky white, add the water, bring to a boil, and cover, turning the heat down to medium.
After 25 minutes, left the lid and check on the rice. Depending on the juiciness of your onions and the thirstiness of your rice, you may need to add some water or let some excess evaporate. Add salt to taste, loosen the stuck rice from the bottom of the pan, and add the lime juice. Let the rice cool slightly before serving.