Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Fennel Saffron Pilaf

This is one of my favourite accompaniments to Indian curries - so I thought I would give it a post of its own instead of sharing with another dish!

I made this last night to go with my left-over curry - excuse the rubbish dark photo, I don't know why it turned out like that... but was so hungry I was rushing too much to try to fix it!

You can use a stock instead of water - but I am usually too lazy - and it doesn't really need it!

Fennel Saffron Pilaf

  • Basmati rice
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds per portion
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric per portion
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pinch saffron (it is a strong flavour, be careful not to go overboard with this!)
  • Olive oil
  • ghee
Heat the ghee and olive oil in a saucepan with a tightfitting lid. (Using ghee on it's own can be a bit overpowering, but it's nice to use a bit!)

Add the fennel seeds and fry until they start to brown. Add the basmati and fry for a couple of minutes. Keep it moving so all the grains get coated, and to stop it sticking or burning.

Add the tumeric, saffron and salt then mix well. CAREFULLY pour boiling water over the rice (it will spatter!) In my pot the water should come about an inch above the surface of the rice - you might need to experiment a little til you get it perfect with your pot. Don't worry if you add a bit much or little - it can be fixed later!

Cover and leave to cook for 10 minutes. After this time is up, remove the lid and check how cooked the rice is. You also want to check the water situation - using a fork, pull the grains away from the side of the pot and see if any water is left at the bottom.

Hopefully the rice is perfectly cooked and the water is pretty much gone (a little bit left is ok). In which case, mix well, replace the lid, turn off the heat and leave for 5 minutes. This really helps the rice fluff up.

If the rice isn't cooked yet, add a bit more water if required, replace cover and cook for another couple of minutes.

If its cooked but there is water left, pour the excess off, mix rice well, replace lid and leave for 5 minutes.


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Peter M said...

Superkittie, I bet the aroma just permeated your whole neighborhood!

I using saffron 2nite too!

Mike of Mike's Table said...

Sounds great--I love saffron-infused rice and fennel is a great spice to bring to Indian food! When I was in India, I never got used to fennel seeds being presented in a bowl after dinner (you're supposed to just eat a few for digestive purposes).

I usually use a rice cooker--while its a specialty item that is easily replaced by a saucepan, I use it so much and always have such great results, I couldn't live without it!

I usually pair my Indian dishes with either lime rice or yogurt rice, both of which sound a little odd (I tend to be wary of yogurt anything) but make an amazing pairing. In case you're interested:

kittie said...

Peter - I live in an apartment with a shared stairwell - the whole place smelt like a curry house... Which is not a bad thing IMO!

Mike - thanks for pointing me at your post - I hadn't come across yoghurt rice before! Another couple of Indian spice tricks is to suck cardamon pods to fresh breath, or suck a clove for heartburn!