vegetable or chicken stock
piece cinnamon bark, broken into 2 or 3 pieces
yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
carrot, peeled and diced 1/4 inch
Russet potato, peeled and chopped into ½-inch dice
chopped cilantro leaves
ghee (clarified butter) or canola oil
There’s a standard side of rice, and there is pulao—a fragrant and fancy bowl of rice laced with almonds, raisins and Indian spices.
- Wash rice well in a large bowl, rinsing and draining 2-3 times to remove excess starch until the water is clear. Soak the washed and drained rice in water and stock for 30 minutes.
- Heat a heavy-bottomed pot on medium-high heat. (Pick a pot that you have a tight-fitting lid for). Add 2 tablespoons ghee or oil, and once it’s hot, add the cinnamon and cumin seeds.
- Once the cumin seeds are sputtering, add the almonds and raisins. Stir gently until the almonds are light brown and raisins have puffed. Remove from pan and reserve.
- Add another tablespoon of ghee or oil to the pan and the onions. Stir continuously so the onions don't burn. Add a pinch of salt to draw the moisture out of the onions and they'll brown faster. Fry the onions until they are golden brown, then add the carrots, potato, and cumin/cinnamon/almond/raisin mixture to the pot. Stir and mix well with the fried onions and spices.
- Add just the liquid from the soaking rice. Bring this to a boil and season with salt. Taste now to make sure the seasoning is correct, as it's very difficult to add salt later without breaking up the rice.
- As the pot comes to a boil, add the soaked rice and mix in with gentle stirs so as not to break the grains. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook on medium-high heat, checking occasionally until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid and craters start to form on the top of the rice.
- Remove the lid and very gently slide a spoon or spatula down the side of the pot and bring the rice from the bottom to the top in 2-3 gentle turns. Add the chopped mint and cilantro on top.
- Return the lid, turn the heat to the lowest setting and let rice sit on low for another 3-5 minutes. Turn off the heat and keep the lid on. Let the pot sit for 10-15 minutes with the lid on and the rice will finish cooking in its own steam. If you remove the lid all the steam will escape.
- After 10-15 minutes, remove the lid and gently fluff the rice with a fork or spatula. Every grain should be long and separate. Serve hot.