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Basmati Rice Pilaf

Basmati Rice Pilaf

Basmati Rice Pilaf is a twist on traditional rice pilaf, since it is made with Basmati rice, mint, other fragrant spices and a touch of saffron. The spices and Basmati rice are all part of the Mediterranean and Indian/Pakistani cuisines where versions of rice pilaf is found. The additional spices create almost a fusion version, by crossing cultures and melding several rice recipes into one.

Rice Pilaf makes a wonderful addition to Greek or any Middle East chicken entrée, as well as many Indian dishes. To complete the meal, you can also serve with naan or pita bread.

Yield: 4 cups

1 Cup Uncooked Basmati Rice
2 Tablespoons Canola Oil
6 Green Cardamom Pods
1 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
2 Bay Leaves
2 Cinnamon Sticks
1 Medium Red Onion, Cut in Half, Thinly Sliced
2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
¼ Teaspoon Saffron Threads
¼ Cup Dried Mint (Spearmint is most commonly used)

Rinse rice with water to wash off any starch. Place in a bowl and cover with cold water. Let sit 30 minutes to soften the rice. Drain and return to the bowl.

Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the oil. When it starts to shimmer, add the cardamom pods, cumin seed, bay leaves and the cinnamon sticks. Stir a bit to mix the spices and oil. Heat for about 20 to 30 seconds then add the onion and stir constantly for about 4-5 minutes until the onion turns light brown. Watch so it doesn’t burn.

Add the rice and blend together with the spices and onions. Add 1 ½ cups cold water, salt and saffron. Stir the rice to mix in the salt and saffron. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Leave uncovered. Stir after about 3 to 4 minutes to remix the water, spices. onions and rice from the bottom. Cover with the lid. Reduce heat to low and let cook another 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and let stand another 10 minutes.

Add the mint and gently mix in with a fork. Remove the bay leaves, cardamom pods and cinnamon sticks. Serve with your favorite Mediterranean or Indian recipe.