Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Persian Style Basmati Rice Pilaf

This pilaf reminds me of my favorite Middle Eastern restaurant in Portland.  I like to make it when I'm missing the city.  It is sooo good.  Warm and savory with a hint of sweetness from the raisins.You'll definitely be asked for the recipe.  If you don't have basmati rice, you can use another long grained fragrant rice.  Don't use plain rice if you can help it- it just isn't the same.  Fragrant rice has a better flavor and holds up nicely in this dish.  This is great served with grilled meat or kebabs on the side. 

Nutritional Bonus:  Turmeric, which gives this dish a wonderful flavor and rich yellow color is an antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties.  Countries that consume turmeric on a regular basis have lower rates of cancer, heart disease and diabetes, so eat up!

4 Tbsp. butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
1/2 c. slivered almonds
1 1/2 c. uncooked basmati rice
1/2-3/4 c. raisins
1 tsp. turmeric (or more to taste)
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
3 c. low sodium chicken broth (if you use regular broth, omit the salt!)

Melt the butter in a large skillet (make sure you have a lit to fit it!) over medium heat.  Add onions and almonds, sauteing until the almonds are golden.  Add in the garlic the last few minutes.

Stir in the rice, raisins, turmeric, cinnamon, salt and broth.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat.  Simmer 20-25 mins. until rice is tender- no peeking!  Season as you like with salt and pepper.

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