Cook the Book: Kashmiri Pilaf

I generally opt for steamed basmati rice to accompany my homemade curries but after trying out this Kashmiri Pilaf from Anjum's New Indian, I'm wondering, why settle for that when you can have an aromatic nut and fruit studded pilaf?

This pilaf begins with whole spices—cloves, cinnamon stick, bay, cardamom, and cumin—toasted in vegetable oil. Sliced onions are added to the pan and caramelized, followed by almonds and raisins. The rice is sautéed briefly to add toastiness and then cooked in a mix of water and saffron-scented milk. Fluffed with a fork and scattered with pistachios and lots of freshly ground black pepper, the pilaf is ready to go.

For a dish that contains barely any extra added fat at all, the flavors are incredibly rich thanks to the oily nuts, subtle saffron, and the heady, exotic mix of spices.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Anjum's New Inidan to give away this week.

Adapted from Anjum's New Indian. Copyright © 2010. Published by WIley. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.

Cook the Book: Kashmiri Pilaf

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About This Recipe

Yield:3 to 4

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3 inch piece of cinnamon stick
  • 3 cloves
  • 3 green cardamom pods
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 small–medium onion, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons blanched almonds, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 1 cup basmati rice, rinsed until the water runs clear and soaked in water while cooking the onions
  • A good pinch of saffron strands, soaked in 2 tbsp hot milk
  • 2 dried figs, chopped
  • Salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons walnuts or pistachios 

Procedures

  1. 1

    Heat the oil in a large nonstick saucepan. Add the whole spices and the bay leaf and cook over low heat for 30 seconds. Add the onion and cook until soft and golden, then add the almonds and raisins and cook for a couple of minutes.

  2. 2

    Add the drained rice to the pan. Stir it in the spiced oil for a minute and add 1 3/4 cups water, the saffron milk, figs and salt to taste. Bring to a boil and boil for a couple of minutes, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 7–8 minutes. Taste, the grains should be cooked; if not, cover for another minute. Season and add the walnuts or pistachios. Fluff up with a fork as you stir them in. Leave for 4 minutes to allow any excess water to be soaked up by the rice. Serve hot.

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