Rice is an integral part of Persian cuisine with many dishes incorporating this staple grain. The cooking process is also highly skilled, where the rice is steamed to perfection. This results in the end product being light, loose and separated. Pilaf is a wonderfully aromatic and flavourful dish. Traditionally, the rice attains its distinctive flavours by being cooked in seasoned broth. A variety of spices make this Persian pilaf with pistachios deliciously robust and perfect for when you want an interesting side dish.
Persian pilaf with pistachios
- 30ml (2 tbsp) olive oil
- 2 onions, thinly sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 3 cardamom pods
- 5ml (1 tsp) fennel seeds
- 5ml (1 tsp) cumin seeds
- a pinch of saffron
- 500ml (2 cups) basmati rice
- 1,25L vegetable stock, heated
- fresh or dried seeds of 1 pomegranate (about 180ml)
- 2 oranges, peeled and sliced
- 100g pistachios
- a handful of fresh mint leaves
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, cardamom, fennel, cumin and saffron and fry until caramelised, about 10 minutes.
Add the rice to the pan, coating well with the oil. Stir in the hot stock, cover, reduce heat to low and gently simmer for 15 minutes.
Stir in the pomegranate seeds and orange slices. Top the pilaf with the pistachios and fresh mint.