Spiced Pilau Rice

The amount given here will be enough for 6 people with a curry comprising several dishes, but if it's to be served with just one dish, the pilau will serve four. For what's commonly known as pilau rice, you simply follow this recipe, omitting the herbs and spices.

Serves 4-6

Spiced Pilau Rice
 white basmati rice measured up to the 10 fl oz (275 ml) level in a glass measuring jug
 2 cardamom pods
 ¾ level teaspoon cumin seeds
 ½ level teaspoon coriander seeds
 1 tablespoon groundnut oil
 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
 1 in (2.5 cm) cinnamon stick
 1 bay leaf


Use a pestle and mortar to crush the cardamom pods and the cumin and coriander seeds. Then warm a 10 in (25.5 cm) frying pan (that has a lid) over a medium heat. Add the crushed spices (the cardamom pods as well as the seeds), turn the heat up high and toss them around to dry-roast them and draw out the flavour – this will take about a minute. After that, add the oil and the onion and fry the onion till lightly tinged brown.
Next stir in the rice – there's no need to wash it – and turn the grains over in the pan until they are nicely coated and glistening with oil, then pour in boiling water measured up to the 1 pint (570 ml) level in a measuring jug. Add the cinnamon, bay leaf and a good seasoning of salt, stir once only, then put the lid on, turn the heat down to its lowest and let the rice cook for exactly 15 minutes. Don't remove the lid and do not stir at any stage from now on, because this breaks the grains and makes them sticky. After 15 minutes, take the pan off the heat, remove the lid and cover the pan with a clean tea cloth for 5 minutes before serving. Then empty the rice into a warmed serving dish and fluff up lightly with a fork before it goes to the table.
_This recipe is taken from Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course, Delia Smith’s Complete Illustrated Cookery Course and Delia Smith's Frugal Food. It has also appeared in Sainsbury's Magazine (Nov 1994)._

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