I contributed this recipe for a vegan magazine which was featuring some Indian cuisine. This is a rice dish from Hyderabad that has influenced South Indian cuisine. Mainly cooked with basmati rice, this dish is almost always made with ghee (clarified butter) and spiced with cinnamon, cardamom and various aromatics. In Singapore, pandan leaves (screwpine leaves) are added. This is purely a southeast asian influence and is not traditional Indian herb.
1.5 tablespoon of canola/olive oil
35g raw cashew nuts, split lengthwise
15g raisins (optional)
2 inch cinnamon stick (abt 2g)
5 cardamon pods
1 star anise
2 bay leaf (optional)
1 blade of pandan (screwpine leaf) (optional)
1 stalk coriander, chopped
1 stalk mint, chopped
25g onion, sliced
15g garlic, grind into a paste
15g ginger, grind into a paste
1 green chilli, split lengthwise
100g tomatoes, diced
275g basmatic rice, washed and soaked in water for 15 mins
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 pinch of saffron, steeped in a 1 tbsp of hot water
1 teaspoon rose water
1) Heat the oil in a pot (big enough to cook rice in). Fry the cashews until golden brown. Remove from heat.
2) Fry the raisins next in the same oil. Once the raisins start to puff, remove them quickly to prevent burning.
3) In the remaining oil, add cinnamon, cardamom, clove, star anise, bay leaf, pandan, mint and coriander. Sauté in the oil until the spices release fragrance.
4) Add the onions next. Sauté until golden brown. Add the garlic and ginger paste, tomatoes and chilli. Continue to sauté until the tomatoes disintegrate and the ginger and garlic paste is cooked.
5) Add the basmati rice to the mixture in the pot. Mix the basmati rice with the mixture until it is coated. Fry the rice in the pot for about 1 to 2 mins. Stir gently to prevent breaking of the rice and sticking to the bottom.
6) Add the water and the salt. Close the pan. Leave it on low heat and let the rice cook. When the rice has absorbed most of the water, pour in the saffron water and rose water. Add the cashews and raisins. Stir gently, scrapping the bottom.
7) Close the pan and continue the low heat and let the rice absorb the water completely. Remove from heat.
Note: Different grades of basmati rice needs different amounts of water. Please check package instructions.