Quick & Easy Pilaf

This is a one-pot version of making vegetable Pilaf in a jiffy. It makes a healthy and satisfying meal, with an enticing fragrance of spices and Basmati rice. I have added cauliflower and potatoes, but you may use a combination of vegetables of your choice.  This goes well with a yoghurt-based salad on the side.

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

½ cup/40g coarsely chopped coriander leaves
2 fresh green chilli peppers, or more to taste
2 medium garlic cloves, peeled
1 medium tomato, coarsely chopped
1-inch/2.5-cm ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons Ghee or vegetable oil
3 cloves
2 green cardamoms
½-inch cinnamon stick
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
250g cauliflower head, cut into florets
1 medium potato, cut into ½-inch cubes
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1¼ teaspoons salt, or to taste
1½ cups/300g Basmati rice, , washed and soaked in water for 30 minutes
6-8 saffron strands
Toasted cashew nuts to garnish (optional)

Method

  1. Make a smooth paste of the coriander leaves, green chillies,  garlic, ginger and tomato using an electric blender, adding little water if necessary.
  2. Heat the Ghee or oil in a medium pan over medium-low heat. Add the cloves, cardamoms and cinnamon stick and stir for a minute or so, before adding the onions. Cook the onions until golden, stirring frequently.
  3. Add the paste and mix. Stir frequently and cook for 3-4 minutes, until fragrant.
  4. Add the potatoes, cauliflower, turmeric powder and salt. Mix.
  5. Cover, reduce the heat to low and cook until 3/4th done. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.
  6. Add 2.5 cups water and bring to a boil. Add saffron strands and drained rice and return to the boil.
  7.  Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and cook until the rice is tender and the water evaporates, 12 to 15 minutes. Turn off the heat. Leave the pan on the warm stove for 5 minutes.
  8. Fluff the rice with a fork. Leave for 30 minutes on the warm stove for the flavours to blend.
  9. Garnish with toasted cashews, if using.
  10. Serve warm.

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