This aromatic pilaf, combining fragrant rice, carrot and peas, is one of the quickest and easiest to make and is sure to impress. It is lovely on its own, or as an accompaniment to a vegetable or meat dish.
Serves 4 to 6
1½ cups/300g Basmati rice
20g ginger, peeled
8 cloves garlic, peeled
3 tablespoons plus ½ teaspoon ghee or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons cashew nuts, broken into pieces
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 star anise
1-inch/2.5-cm piece of cinnamon stick
4 whole black pepper corns
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
1 medium carrot, peeled and coarsely grated
2 fresh green chilli peppers, cut across into ¼-inch/6-mm rounds
1¼ teaspoons salt, or to taste
½ cup/80g frozen green peas
Wash the rice in several changes of water until the water runs clear, and then soak in water for 30 minutes. Drain well and set aside.
Using a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder, make a smooth paste of the ginger and garlic.
Place a large pan over low heat. Add the ghee and cashew nuts and stir gently, until golden, 3-4 minutes. Remove the cashew nuts using a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate.
Add the onion to the pan, cover and cook, stirring frequently, until it begins to turn golden, about 5 minutes. Add the star anise, cinnamon stick, cloves, pepper corns and cumin seeds and stir gently until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the ginger-garlic paste and cook, stirring frequently, until the paste turns golden, about 2 minutes.
Add the carrot, green chilli peppers and salt. Stir well and then pour in 3 cups/750ml water and bring to a boil. Add the rice and green peas. When the water returns to the boil, cover the pan tightly with a lid, reduce the heat to low and cook, without stirring, until all the water is absorbed, 12-14 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the pan rest, covered, on the warm stove for 10 minutes.
Garnish with cashew nuts and serve.