While any rice could be substituted for Basmati rice, my experience has almost always made me revert back to Basmati as the Pilaf just does not has a personality without this grain type. Basmati rice or it's close variants can be found at almost any big grocery store in ethnic food section, but it is important to remember that just having the name 'Basmati' does not mean it is the correct rice type. To be simple, the organic Basmati variety only originates from Indian sub-continent to this day and any other rice is a genetically-modified variety with no relation to the real grain. So a cursory look at 'Made in XYZ (country)' would let you know if your off-the-shelf Basmati is actually the extra long grain variant.
- One pint of Basmati rice
- Three medium-sized potatoes (peeled and chopped into big cubes)
- One half of a red onion (finely chopped)
- Two cups of frozen (or fresh) peas
- One and a half teaspoon of the Dance spice blend
- One teaspoon of salt (the only time where salt is not optional, unless you are on a Sodium-restricted diet)
- Two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (or any vegetable oil would suffice)
- Fresh Coriander leaves for garnishing
- Plain white yogurt (you just cannot have Pilaf without yogurt)
4 to 6 people. A great staple food that can be used the day after if stored in fridge. I cook a lot each time so I get a day or so without having to cook anything.
- Soak a pint of Basmati rice in a receptacle for 15 minutes and then drain the water out.
- In a large 4 or 5 quart pan (preferably non-stick or aluminum), heat the oil and add the chopped onion. Let it sizzle and turn crisp golden brown and then turn the heat to low.
- Add the dance spice blend, peas and potatoes and turn the heat to medium. Stir the mix, cover with a lid and let it cook for about 3-4 minutes.
- Now add 2 pints of water and the wet soaked rice. The ratio has to be always 2:1 water to rice. Add salt, cover with lid and let it simmer at medium heat for about 8 - 10 minutes. If most of the water has dried out, then stir the rice pilaf a little, turn off the heat and cover with lid again.
- Let it sit for about 10 minutes until the rice is thoroughly steamed and potatoes are tender. Open the lid and immerse yourself in the beautiful aroma. Eat as such with yogurt or with some curry dish/lentil soup.
- This quick recipe rice pilaf goes with almost anything and for today's cookout, I had lentil soup with fried onions, three bean rajma curry and chicken escalopes in spicy tomato gravy to go with it.
- And as always, there was plenty of home-made yogurt.