Sweet Rice Pilaf
This elegant dish that Bebeji often made for our community meal in the gurudwara can be part of the main meal or a dessert, just vary the amount of sugar. The orange zest adds a Persian touch, which is probably the origin of the dish.
1 rounded cup basmati rice
1/3 cup golden raisins
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon saffron
2 teaspoons orange zest
3 tablespoons coconut oil or ghee
1/2 to 1 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 teaspoon cardamom seeds
1/2 cup dried thin slices of coconut, broken into pieces (optional)
1/2 cup slivered and lightly toasted almonds
Rinse the rice under cold water until water runs clear. In a large saucepan, bring 6 cups water to a rolling boil. Add the rice, raisins, and salt and boil for exactly 5 minutes. Drain thoroughly.
If using the saffron, pulverize in a mortar. Add the saffron and orange zest to the rice.
Over low heat, warm the coconut oil or shee in a nonstick pan or pot with a tight-fitting cover. Add the sugar, cloves, cinnamon stick, and cardamom seeds, stir for only a few seconds and then stir in the rice mixture. Add 1/4 cup water and coconut slices. Cover tightly and cook over very low heat until all water is absorbed and rice is cooked, about 20 minutes. If the rice is undercooked, sprinkle a teaspoon of water into it and check after 5 minutes. Rice grains should be separate. Serve warm with the almonds sprinkled on top.