Vegetarians will love this simple pilaff. Add wild or cultivated mushrooms, if you like.

  • 15 30 ml / 1 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 large carrot, coarsely grated
  • 225 g / 8 oz / generous 1 cup basmati rice, soaked
  • 10 ml / 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 10 ml / 2 tsp black mustard seeds (optional)
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 450 ml / ¾ pint / scant 2 cups vegetable stock or water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 75 g / 3 oz / ¾ cup unsalted walnuts and cashew nuts
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • fresh parsley or coriander (cilantro) sprigs, to garnish
Use whichever nuts you prefer in this dish even unsalted peanuts taste good, although almonds, cashew nuts, or pistachios are more exotic.
  1. Heat the oil in a large, shallow frying pan. Add the onion, garlic, and carrot and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for 3- 4 minutes, until softened. Thoroughly drain the rice and then add to the pan with the cumin seeds, ground coriander, black mustard seeds, and cardamom pods. Cook for 1-2 minutes more, stirring constantly to coat the grains in oil.
  2. Pour in the stock or water, add the bay leaf, and season well. Bring to the boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer very gently for 10-12 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat without lifting the lid. Leave to stand for about 5 minutes, then check the rice. If it is cooked, there will be small steam holes on the surface of the rice. Remove and discard the bay leaf and the cardamom pods.
  4. Stir in the nuts, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Spoon on to a warm platter, garnish with the parsley or coriander, and serve.
Basmati and Nut Pilaff