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Winter Vegetable Pilao


Basmati rice
 400g, washed in running water and soaked for 10 minutes
Ghee (or butter if you don’t have) 75g
Bay leaves 3
Black cardamom pods 4
Cinnamon stick 1
Cloves ½ tsp
Cumin seeds 1 tsp
Red onions 2, finely sliced
Carrot 1, peeled and diced into 1cm pieces
Cauliflower 100g, cut into 1cm florets
Turmeric 1 tsp
Salt 4 tsp
Green Chillies 4, finely sliced                                                                               Frozen or garden peas 100g
Raisins 2 tbsp
Boiling Water 900ml
Sugar (optional) 1 tsp
Mint leaves 2 tbsp, shredded
Fresh coriander leaves 10g, chopped                                                                Cashew nuts  fried in lots of vegetable oil



Rinse the rice to remove some of the starch, then leave to soak in cold water. Take a thick bottomed cooking dish and heat the ghee, then add the bay leaves, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick and cloves. As they begin to crackle add the onion. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until the onion starts to change colour.

Add the carrot and cauliflower and stir well, reduce the heat and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the turmeric, salt and green chillies and cook for another minute, stirring, until the turmeric is mixed throughout.

Drain the rice and add it to the vegetables. Mix lightly, trying not to break the grains of rice. After a minute or so add the peas and raisins. At this point you can turn off the heat and leave the dish for up to a couple of days in the fridge, and finish it when you want.

When you’re ready to finish the pilau add the boiling water to the rice and vegetables, ensuring that it covers everything in the dish and keep it boiling. Add the sugar if you like and cook over a medium-high heat stirring gently (without breaking the rice).

When you start to see small holes in the surface of the rice the water is nearly all absorbed. Sprinkle the mint and coriander on top and put a lid on the pan, cook for a further 10 minutes on a very low heat (stirring occasionally if you are worried the bottom may burn). Sprinkle with the fried cashew nuts and serve.


  • I apologise wholehearted. Please add them at the start with the cloves, cinnamon stick and cardamom. I should have just said add all spices beginning with a c!

    Nicholas Hartston
  • You have cumin seeds in the ingredients list, but what do I do with them?! Decoration perchance?

    anonymous pedant

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