Pullow (Rice Cooked with Spices and Onions)

This light and fragrant dish is the perfect accompaniment to chickpeas and kebabs.

3 cups basmati rice
3 tablespoons ghee or canola oil
1  3-inch {cinnamon stick}
5  cloves
5  black peppercorns
2  black cardamom pods (slightly crushed to expose seeds)
5  {green cardamom pods} (slightly crushed to expose seeds)
1  medium yellow onion, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 1/2 cups water
2 teaspoons sea salt
Wash and rinse the basmati rice thoroughly. It is important to rinse the starch off the rice to ensure that the grains do not clump together. (I typically rinse 3 times.) While rinsing the rice, agitate carefully to avoid breaking it. Drain as much water as possible from the rice and set aside.

In a large pot, heat the oil. Add the cinnamon stick, cloves, peppercorns, and green and black cardamom pods and fry until the spices have "puffed up." This will only take a minute. Be sure to not let them burn.

Add the onions and garlic and fry until the onions are golden brown. (Add a wee bit of oil if needed.)

Add the rice and stir gently until it is translucent. This should take 2 to 4 minutes. Along with removing the starch, this important step will ensure that the rice is light and fluffy and less inclined to clump.

Add the water and salt to the pot with the rice and spices. Once the water boils, lower the heat, cover the pot, and let simmer until done. This should cook in about 15 minutes. (Holes will appear on the surface of the rice when done.) Serve on a platter. (As elsewhere, feel free to remove the cinnamon stick, cloves, and peppercorns before serving. I don't bother and nor do most folks I know cooking this stuff.)

Ease of Preparation: Easy

Preparation Time: 15 min

Cook Time: 30 min

Recipe By: Chris Fair

From:  Cuisines of the Axis of Evil
Used with permission of Globe Pequot Press