Basmati cooks to perfect, separate, fluffy grains and is considered by many to be the finest rice. Here it is subtly scented and coloured with saffron, cinnamon and ginger. The sweet-sharp flavour of pomegranate adds a unique quality to this dish, and a few seeds scattered over the top just before serving make an attractive finish.
For lemongrass-scented basmati rice, add a bruised stalk of lemongrass with the cinnamon stick. Instead of pomegranate and ginger juices, mix the juice of 1/2 lemon with the honey. * Make a spiced basmati pilaf. Gently cook 55 g (2 oz) cashew nuts in 1 tbsp sunflower oil until golden. Remove from the pan with a draining spoon and set aside. Toast the basmati rice in the oil with 1 tsp cumin seeds and the crushed seeds of 3 cardamom pods for about 2 minutes. Stir in the stock, 3 tbsp coconut milk, 1 bay leaf and 3 cloves. Cover and cook as in the main recipe. Remove the bay leaf and cloves, then stir in 1 tbsp lemon juice and 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander. Scatter over the cashew nuts and garnish with a sprig of fresh coriander before serving.
Pomegranate seeds not only add flavour to this dish, they also contribute vitamin C and some dietary fibre. * Almonds, like other nuts, provide many of the nutrients usually found in meat, such as protein, many of the B vitamins and essential minerals such as phosphorus, iron, copper and potassium. They are also a good source of vitamin E, which helps to protect against heart disease.
E * copper