I recently took a vegetarian Indian cooking class in which we cooked a rice dish very similar to this one, except that we used cashews. I learned how the black (not white or green) cardamom adds a subtle smokey, resiny savoriness.
My version uses a rice cooker, because, well, it’s an appliance I frequently use. O:-)
Adapted from Daksha Mehta’s kesar, kaju bhaat (Gujarati saffron and cashew rice).
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 1/3 cup slivered and blanched almonds
- 1/4 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
- 2-inch piece of cinnamon stick
- 1 whole black cardamom pod
- a tiny pinch of saffron threads
- 1 tablespoon ghee, or vegetable oil
- salt, to taste
- 1 1/2 cups water
- Rinse the basmati in water until the water is no longer cloudy. I do this by putting the rice in a seive over a bowl, pouring water over the grains, swishing them around for a few seconds, then pouring out the water from the bowl; repeat 3 or 4 times. Drain and set aside.
- In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, roast the almonds, cumin seeds, cinnamon, black cardamom pod and saffron, until the almonds become golden and the spices fragrant. This takes about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add the ghee (or oil) to the spices, and sauté for a minute or two.
- Add the basmati, and sauté for another minute or two.
- Pour the rice’n’spice mix into the rice cooker, add salt, and pour in the water. Cook according to your cooker’s instructions for white rice.
- When the the rice is done, loosen the grains a bit (rice fluffing) with a large spoon before you serve it.