Saffron & Pine Nut Pilaf

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Pilaf is an Indian style of cooking where seasoned rice is simmered gently allowing the flavour to infuse. Ideal as a side dish that would go great with grilled chicken or fish, you could also turn it into a main meal by adding some cooked chicken or prawns or keep it veggie by adding dried raisins and cooked peas.

The toasted pine nuts in the dish go very well with the rice and add additional texture. Toasted mixed nuts, flaked almonds or even pumpkin seeds would all work as substitutes.

The following recipe makes makes two portions.

• 15g/1 teaspoon of low fat butter spread
• 1 small onion. (Red or white) Peeled and finely chopped
• 120g long grain or basmati rice (white rice works best)
• ½ teaspoon of ground cayenne
• ½ teaspoon of ground turmeric
• 1 pint of chicken or vegetable stock (low sodium if possible)
• a couple of saffron strands
• 10g pine nuts

  1. Heat a large pot over a medium to high heat and add the butter. When it's bubbling add the pulped onion and stir fry for 5 minutes or so.
  2. Add the rice, cayenne and turmeric and continue to fry for a minute or so until combined.
  3. Add the saffron strands to the stock and stir. Add the stock to the rice and stir again.
  4. Increase the heat and bring the contents of the pot to the boil. Once it's boiled for a minute or so, reduce the heat to medium, loosely cover with a plate or lid and let it simmer for approximately 20 minutes, stirring every now and then to ensure it's not sticking to the bottom of the pot. The liquid should reduce, but make sure it doesn't boil dry. Add another splash of boiling water if this happens.
  5. After 20 minutes, remove from the heat and cover with a lid. Leave to sit for 5 minutes without removing the lid.
  6. To toast the nuts, heat a small frying pan over a medium to high heat and add the nuts. Keep them moving by shaking the pan gently. Fry for 2-3 minutes or so until they are lightly toasted. (They can burn quite easily so don't leave them unattended and remove them from the pan when they're done).
  7. When the 5 minutes are up, fluff the rice with a fork, transfer to warmed bowls and serve with the pine nuts on top.

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