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Almond & cumin rice

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.

almond and cumin rice

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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Add the ghee (or oil) to the spices, and sauté for a minute or two.
  4. Add the basmati, and sauté for another minute or two.
  5. 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.
  6. When the the rice is done, loosen the grains a bit (rice fluffing) with a large spoon before you serve it.

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