Fragrant basmati rice

Fragrant basmati rice

5saves
35min


1 person made this

About this recipe: 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.

Norma MacMillan

Ingredients
Serves: 6 

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 55 g (2 oz) split blanched almonds, any tiny pieces discarded
  • 250 g (8½ oz) basmati rice, rinsed
  • pinch of saffron strands
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 450 ml (15 fl oz) boiling vegetable stock
  • 1 ripe pomegranate
  • 2.5 cm (1 in) piece of fresh root ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp clear honey
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • salt and pepper

Method
Prep:15min  ›  Cook:20min  ›  Ready in:35min 

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the almonds and cook gently for 2–3 minutes or until golden. Remove from the pan with a draining spoon and set aside.
  2. Add the rice to the oil and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the saffron and cinnamon stick, then add the stock and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to the boil. Stir, then cover and cook over a very low heat for 10–15 minutes or until the rice is tender and the stock has been absorbed.
  3. Meanwhile, cut the pomegranate in half and remove all the seeds from the membranes. Reserve about one-third of the seeds for garnish. Put the rest of the seeds in a sieve placed over a mixing bowl and crush with a spoon to extract the juice.
  4. Put the grated ginger into a garlic crusher, hold over the mixing bowl and squeeze out the ginger juice. Stir the honey into the juices.
  5. When the rice is cooked, stir in the pomegranate juice mixture. Cover again and leave to stand for 2 minutes. Then remove the cinnamon stick, fork the mint and coriander through the rice, and transfer to a warmed serving dish. Scatter over the almonds and reserved pomegranate seeds, and serve.

Some more ideas

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.

Plus points

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.

Each serving provides

E * copper

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