This pearl-white pilaf studded with forest green peas, is a Moghul classic. Because of its subtle, mellow flavor, it is the most popular rice pilaf at Indian restaurants. The pilaf can be cooked either in a rich chicken stock or plain water. It is wonderful both ways.
1-1/2 cups basmati or regular long-grain rice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
4 green whole cardamom pods
2 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3 cups chicken stock or water
Coarse salt to taste
1 package frozen green peas (10 ounces), thawed
1. Rinse the rice well with cold water and put it in a bowl. Add cold water to cover the rice by 1 inch and soak for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. Drain.
2. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the cumin, cardamom, cloves, and bay leaf. When the cumin turns several shades darker, add the onion. Cook until the onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the rice, ginger, stock, and salt to taste and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook, partially covered, for 8 minutes for basmati rice (12 minutes for regular rice), or until most of the liquid is absorbed and the surface of the rice is covered with steam holes. Cover the pan, and reduce the heat to low.
3. Let the rice steam for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the peas, and let the rice rest, covered, for 5 minutes. Remove the cardamom, cloves, and bay leaf and fluff the rice with a fork.
4. Transfer to a heated platter and serve.
Introduction to Indian Cooking
By Julie Sahni
Ten Speed Press
Full-color photo inserts
Recipe Reprinted by permission.
This page created January 1999
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