By Chef Linda
Rice often accompanies many meals, particularly in India. The use of fragrant spices dress up what can often be a dull dish. While adding a lovely taste to this recipe, the spices play a supporting role so that the other dishes served with the rice won't have to compete for center stage, but feel free to increase the spices if you feel the need.
Basmati rice is a long grain rice that is traditionally cultivated in northern India, and often it's a white variety of rice however, brown basmati rice, which is more nutritious, is becoming more commonly available.
Basmati Rice Pilaf
2 cups basmati rice, soaked overnight if possible
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped small, about a cup
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
4 cups water
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
Ground black pepper
Rinse and drain rice. In a large pan over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add onion and cook, stirring, until onion is tender. Add garlic, and cook for another minute or two.
Add cardamom, coriander, cinnamon, cloves and ginger and cook for another minute until spices are fragrant, then add rice. Cook rice while stirring occasionally, until rice is translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add water, bay leaf, cinnamon stick and salt and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partly covered, for about 15 to 20 minutes. Most of the water will evaporate and steam holes will show through rice. Do not stir. Remove from heat when water has evaporated and leave covered for 5 minutes, them fluff with a fork. Remove bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Taste and adjust seasonings, then serve.