This is one of the most delicious rice dishes I have ever eaten and it’s very, very simple. We have long called it ‘spicy rice’ in my family, but there is no heat to the dish. It’s Indian origins lend it as an accompaniment to curry, but it works just as well with roast chicken or duck or even some sticky glazed pork belly.
1 cup basmati rice
2 cups chicken stock
9 black peppercorns
2 whole cloves
3 green cardamon pods
1 large pinch saffron (soaked in boiling water)
1/2 a brown onion
1 cinnamon stick
2 tbsp ghee/canola oil
Wash the rice thoroughly until the milky white starch stops being released and the water runs clear.
Place a heavy based saucepan on a medium heat and add the ghee/oil. Sautee the onions for about a minute before adding the rice. Stir the onions and rice for approximately 5-10 minutes before adding the peppercorns, cloves and cardamon. Maintain a medium heat, add in the saffron as well as the water it has soaked in and the chicken stock. Bring to the boil and then turn the heat to its lowest setting. Add the cinnamon stick and place a lid on the saucepan.
Cooking rice using the absorption method is never an exact science as surface heat and area are all factors which help to speed up or slow down the cooking process. The most important thing to remember is to keep the heat VERY low. It usually takes around 15 minutes in a medium sized saucepan, and a good indicator that the rice is ready is that you will be able to smell it. If the rice is not quite ready after 15 mins, give it another 5 over the heat (still with the lid on). It should never take more than 20 minutes to cook. When the rice is cooked turn off the heat and let it stand, lid on, for a further 5 minutes.