Affectionately known to me as ‘spicy’ rice there is no real heat in this dish at all. In fact, it is a gently fragrant biryani that would quite happily be eaten alongside a good curry. For me, though, this dish needs nothing else – perhaps because this is how I ate it as a child, but probably because I am a rice fiend!
This recipe is actually a Stokes family heirloom – of sorts. It is the dish I would ask Dad to cook for my birthday, or any day really that I was asked what I’d like for supper. It was always cooked in the same solid frying pan with its impossibly heavy lid, probably on days when we hadn’t been to the supermarket. It is a proper pantry dish – everything already on the shelves, no excuse not to cook, and ready in no time.
It is, as with most food, best enjoyed with family around – with everyone digging into the pot themselves, everyone jostling for those delicious crispy bits that get stuck to the bottom.
I have added a little carrot and sultana side – something I picked up and adapted from eating Kabuli Pilau.
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Serves: 2 as main meal
Prep time: 25 minutes
1 cup Basmati rice
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp oil of your choice
4 whole cardamom pods
4 whole cloves
4 black peppercorns
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 small pinch saffron (optional)
2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup sultanas
oil for frying
For the rice:
In a deep, heavy based frying pan, melt the butter and oil together over a medium heat. Add in the finely chopped onion and saute until soft and translucent.
Meanwhile, crush together the cloves, cardamom and peppercorns with a mortar and pestle. Add to the softened onions, with the cinnamon, and cook until the spices become fragrant (2 minutes).
Next, add the Basmati rice and stir continuously until completely covered in the spices. Add the hot stock, saffron and salt, before turning the heat down to its lowest point, covering and allowing to simmer for 20 minutes. Don’t remove the lid during the cooking time as this will release all the precious steam which is cooking the rice.
For the carrots:
Slice the carrot into long thin batons and fry in oil over a medium heat for about 10 minutes. The carrot batons will soften and begin crisping at the edges – once they have reached this point add in the sultanas, season, and fry for about 2 minutes or until the sultanas have puffed up.
*The yellow rice is WITH saffron and the brown rice beneath it is WITHOUT.
Serving suggestions: Barbequed lamb skewers with sumac. Onion pickle.