Rice is a staple food in a lot of cultures. Today, I wanted to show you how you can spice up your rice (literally and figuratively) and turn it into a gorgeous side dish that will stand out at any dinner table.
This type of rice originated in the Middle East, but is prepared all around the world. It has many names: pilaf, polo, palav and pulao. In Russian, we call this dish “plov”. It is usually made with chicken or beef, but trust me when I tell you that my vegan-friendly version is just as delicious. And, it’s quicker to prepare which is a plus in my books.
Pilaf rice usually has a golden colour which can be achieved by adding turmeric, saffron or by sauteeing the rice before the water is added. Speaking of spices. They make all the difference! I prepare my pilaf with turmeric, saffron, chilli pepper, paprika, cumin seeds and salt. If you can’t get your hands on saffron, feel free to skip it. By the way, did you know that saffron is the most expensive spice in the world? I usually get mine from a Persian supermarket. They tend to have more reasonable prices and the quality of their saffron is far more superior.
The barberries serve as the jewels of this rice. They have a lovely tart flavour and add a nice pop of colour to the dish. Again, if you have trouble finding them, feel free to leave them out.
Let me know how you enjoy this pilaf rice by leaving me a comment down bellow!
- 2 tbsp grapeseed oil
- 2 small onions
- 1 carrot
- 1 garlic head
- 1 cup of rice
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp barberries (optional)
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp paprika
- ½ tsp turmeric
- ¼ tsp ground saffron (optional)
- ½ tsp chilli pepper
- Measure one cup of rice and add it to a bowl. Add lukewarm water to the rice and agitate gently with your hand. Then pour out the water. Repeat this process 4 to 5 times.
- Soak washed rice in 2 to 3 cups of water overnight or for at least 2 hours.
- When you’re ready to cook the rice, thinly slice the onions and carrot. Separate the garlic cloves, but do not peel them.
- In a large pot, heat grapeseed oil over medium heat. Add sliced onion, carrot and cumin seeds and cook for about 2 minutes.
- Next, add garlic cloves, barberries and all of the spices. If you’re using saffron, first ground the saffron threads using a mortar and pestle. Then add about 1 tbsp of hot water to ground saffron and mix with a spoon. Add to the pot.
- Continue cooking over medium heat for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
- After 10 minutes, drain the rice and add it to the pot.
- Gently mix everything together and add 2 cups of water. Make sure that all of the rice grains are covered with water so that the rice cooks evenly.
- Bring to a boil. Then cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium/low and cook for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, check whether all of the water has been absorbed. If so, remove the rice from the heat and plate it.