Sunday, October 7, 2012

Azerbaijan Pilaf

Star Q

I'm so used to eating Beriyani, Nasi Minyak, Tomato Rice and Coconut Rice, that too many good things too often can make you feel, well, tired of them.  That means it's time to search for other creative ways of preparing the ubiquitous rice!

And in my case, the will to try out a new recipe is usually based on it's simplicity and the availability of the ingredients, mostly in my kitchen pantry!  This recipe came about, after glancing through a book by Paragon titled One-Dish Meals (simplicity!) and also rummaging through my pantry (availability!)

Pilaf is supposed to have some kind of meat along with it, but I opted to make it totally vegetarian (plus or minus!)  and I thought by keeping it that way, I could pair it with some kind of protein dishes in future!

  • 3 tbs vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 200 g Basmati rice
  • 1 tbs tomato puree
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, halved
  • 1/2 cup prunes, halved
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • Some chicken stock
  • Some shallot crisps
  • Salt and pepper

First measure the rice.  I used a soup bowl and I got two soup bowls of rice.  The amount of water that you use to cook the rice should be the same quantity as the rice, in my case, two soup bowls.  I can't explain the physics, but it just works!  Then, clean the rice and soak for half an hour.  Strain in a sieve and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a heavy metal pot.  Saute the onions and leave to sweat.  Then stir in the ground cumin, tomato puree and turmeric powder.  Pour in the two soup bowls of chicken stock and as soon as it starts to boil, add in the rice.  Cook the rice uncovered until most of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice.  Slowly stir in the apricots, prunes and raisins.  Turn down the heat, cover the pot and leave to cook for a further two to three minutes.

Fluff the rice slowly with a fork.  Serve on a platter garnished with some shallot crisps on top.

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