Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Peshwari Pilau aka Spiced rice with nuts and fruit

The New Curry Secret by Kris Dhillon is one of my new favorite cookbooks. And I don't even own it! Nope, the Witch was turned on to this amazing little gem by one of the moms in our playgroup. Like usual we were talking about food and she mentioned that her husband had received a great Indian cookbook for Christmas. After hearing about the wonderful things from this book for months (it was sheer torture, too!) we finally decided to get together and cook from the book.

It was one of the best meals of my life!! So a BIG THANK YOU to Nichole and her husband Mick for having this book and sharing its delicious secrets with the Kitchen Witch. Today I'd like to share with you one of the side dishes, Peshwari Pilau, or better known as Spiced rice with fruit and nuts. Sounds pretty delicious, right?

The spices in play here are cloves, cinnamon sticks and cardamon pods. Combined they create a rich, spicy background flavor, perfect for paring with all sorts of spicy Indian main dishes. The fruit is simply golden raisins. Cooking the raisins with the rice allows them to plump up and their sweet bursts of flavor are absolutely delicious. The crunchy bits of nuts add salty and sweet flavors as well. This rice is about as good as it gets in this Witches' opinion.

Best of all, even a rice challenged Witch can make this, successfully! Oh yes, its true, the Kitchen Witch is very, severely rice challenged. If its not 'minute, instant or boil in the bag' OR made in a rice cooker, chances are good that it won't be good if the Witch makes it. For some unknown reason my rice is notoriously crunchy, not cooked all the way through OR its super sticky (even when a non sticky variety) and pasty and well, frankly unpalatable. Sometimes I'm even able to have both things happen at once, gluey blown apart rice grains that are yet still crunchy in the inside. So when this rice turned out, perfectly, the first time, well I knew I had a winner of a dish and a great cookbook on my hands.

Even if Indian food isn't on your menu give this rice a try. It has a delightful fragrance and is filled with many of the spices we all associate with the holiday seasons. It'd be the perfect side dish for any of your holiday season dinners. Enjoy! Oh and PS, I'll be posting more Indian dishes from The New Curry Secret soon! Stay tuned for those!

Peshwari Pilau aka
Spiced rice with nuts and fruit
makes 4 generous servings
From The New Curry Secret by Kris Dhillon
9 oz (250g) basmati rice, rinsed very well
15 fl oz (450 mL) c water
1 T olive oil
1/4 c golden raisins
2 T blanched almond slices
2 T cashew pieces and halves
2-4 1 inch long cinnamon sticks
6 cardamon pods (green)
6 whole cloves
1 t kosher salt (use 1/2 as much if using table salt)

rinse the rice until the rinse water runs clear.

Preheat oven to 335F.

In an oven safe pan with a tight fitting lid heat the oil over medium high heat. Once oil is hot add the spices and cook about 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add nuts and raisins, cook 30 seconds longer, stirring often. Then add the rinsed rice and stir well. Coat rice in the fragrant oil and cook about 1 minute before adding the water.

Add water and salt, stir well to mix. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to the lowest setting on your stove, cover and allow to cook for 20 minutes, stirring 3 times during the cooking process.

~*~Kitchen Witch Tip: When stirring rice use a wide spoon and a folding technique. Do NOT vigorously stir the rice, that will cause the starches to be released and the rice will be gluey and unnecessarily sticky. A quick stir 2-3 times around the pot is all you need, basically insuring that you won't have any stuck on or scorch spots at the bottom of the pan. Resist the urge to over-stir!~*~

After all water is absorbed put the lidded pan into the oven to dry the rice out, about 20 minutes.

Fluff rice with a fork before serving. Remove the cardamon pods, cinnamon sticks and cloves before serving.

Photo Credits: R.L. Long (aka the Witchy Sissy), the spices photos

Nutrition Facts provided by SparkPeople recipe calculator
Amount Per Serving
Calories 325.9
Total Fat 7.8 g
Saturated Fat 1.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 4.7 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 508.8 mg
Potassium 124.3 mg
Total Carbohydrate 57.6 g
Dietary Fiber 1.0 g
Sugars 7.6 g
Protein 7.6 g


StephenC said...

This gives me an idea. I'm pretty successful with rice. The problem here is that Peter always wants to cook brown rice. Yeah, I know it's more nutritious. And with other stuff added in I think brown rice can be more interesting. I'll get back to you when I do my magic.

Yenta Mary said...

I can practically smell the fragrant rice just from reading this ... :)

Design Wine and Dine said...

Funny about the rice thing! I used to always make jasmine and basmati it in the microwave (had a pretty fail proof recipe) but since the micro is not working right now...I haven't made either in a while!

This look delicious and you know I LOVE these flavors! I agree with Yenta Mary - I am certain I can smell it from here!

Sounds like a book worth getting!

jane deere said...

This rice looks delicious! I can almost smell the fragrant spices...YUM!

Ananda Rajashekar said...

wow I smell India here Andrea and it feels Fantastic, congrats on the success for rice its amazing. you know my mum adds few Pomegranate arils to garnish the rice it brings a special effect for the food. Regarding ur previous failed rice expt, i would say rice grains should have be relative new and they are tricky to cook, it gets soggy if there is bit too much water. SO the rice we buy in our or family are so called aged grain, they are more fine and more expensive in terms of quality. But its hard to them abroad, so good solution will be soak the rice for 30 mins before you cook, add less water for instance if the recipe says one cup of water just add 3/4. Better solution hunt for Pakistani rice in oriental shop :) hope i managed to confuse you :D

Jenn said...

Oh wow... I bet that smelled so good while it was cooking!! YUM! It looks and sounds incredible Andrea....a definite winner!!

angicock said...

Fantastic. This look deliciou

anthony stemke said...

A fabulous recipe,thank you.

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