Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Cardamom and Cilantro Rice (Kotmir Illaichi-wale Chaaval)

This dish is one of my favorite recipes for making flavorsome, mouth-watering rice. I know, rice is a basic food that's not usually described as mouth-watering, but this one is amazing. I can eat it just as is and be perfectly content. I also love when I have leftovers of this rice since I will gladly eat it the following day. So yes, I am kind of obsessed with this rice, but you will be too once you try it. Serve it alongside Indian Cilantro Chicken for a delicious, homemade Indian meal.

This recipe comes from Ismail Merchant. His Indian food is fairly easy to make and so far has never let me down. I more or less stick with his original recipe, except that I use much more cilantro (or coriander leaves if you're not from the states) and I add 3 scallions. I come from a family obsessed with cilantro, so if I can bring that flavor out in a dish, I do. If you hate cilantro, you can replace it in this recipe with about 4 tablespoons of chopped parsley. Also, make sure you don't bite into the cardamom mods, it's a pretty terrible surprise when that happens. I try finding them before I serve the rice, but if I don't I just let people know to look out for them.

Adapted from Ismail Merchant's Passionate Meals
Serves 6

2 tablespoons butter
2 1/4 cups uncooked basmati rice
4 cardamom pods
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 bunch cilantro, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
3 scallions, chopped

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the rice, cardamom pods and pepper and mix. Continue cooking for about 7 minutes, stirring constantly (be careful not to burn the rice or have it stick to the pan).

Pour the water into the rice and add the salt. Bring the water to a boil, cover the pan with a lid, and continue cooking the rice at a simmer for 20 minutes, until the rice is tender.

Remove the rice from heat and let it rest for 5 minutes with the cover still on. Serve warm.

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