One of the delights of life is eating with friends; second to that is talking about eating. And, for an unsurpassed double whammy, there is talking about eating while you are eating with friends.
Laurie Colwin

Friday, April 20, 2007

Basmati Rice Pilaf

Adapted from the January-February 1997 issue of Cook's Illustrated Magazine

If you don't already subscribe to Cook's Illustrated Magazine or don't have the complete library, I highly recommend your subscribing to www.cooksillustrated.com.  All the back issues are available, and the site is very user-friendly; you won't be disappointed.

This is a very fragrant rice dish, one you will make over and over once you try it. It goes with so many things so don't wait until you're making an Indian-style dinner to try it.




Basmati Rice Pilaf
Adapted from the January-February 1997 issue of Cook's Illustrated Magazine

Serves 4

1 tablespoon vegetable oil (I usually use grapeseed)
1 3-inch cinnamon stick, broken in two
2 whole green cardamom pods (alternatively use ⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom - I use ground very often)
¼ cup thinly sliced onion (finely chopped is also fine)
2 whole cloves
1 cup basmati rice (I only use basmati rice from India)
1 teaspoon salt
1½ cups of chicken broth (water also works well)
Small pat of butter (optional)

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Add whole spices and cook, stirring, for about one minute. (If using ground cardomom, don't add it at this point.)

Add the sliced or chopped onion and cook, stirring until it just starts to turn gold, but don't let it brown or caramelize.

Stir in the rice, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Add 1½ cups chicken broth or water and salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low. (Add ground cardamom now if you are using it.) Stir once, cover tightly, and simmer until all the water or chicken broth has been absorbed.  This will take 15 to 17 minutes.  I generally proceed to the next step after 15 minutes without lifting the lid because it's been my personal experience that 15 minutes works well. But this might have some nuance involved - your pot, the level of your heat, etc. You will figure out what works for you after actually making the recipe.

Turn off the heat. Let stand, covered, for 10 minutes, then remove the lid, and fluff the rice with a fork. If you're going to add a pat of butter, now is the time, stirring it in with a fork.

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