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from "One Spice, Two Spice" by Floyd Cardoz and Jane Daniels Lear

This pilaf is simple, yet sophisticated. My wife, Barkha, likes to sprinkle black, or royal, cumin seeds over the finished dish to give it a slightly mysterious fragrance. When cooking basmati for a pilaf, I always use the absorption method, instead of cooking it like pasta in a large amount of water, which is the way I make plain basmati. That's why the size of the pot is important: the quantity of cooked rice should never fill less than half the pot and never more than three-quarters of the pot. And I always measure both rice and liquid by volume, so I use a dry-measuring cup.

Serves 6
 One Spice, Two Spice

2 cups white basmati rice
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock, chicken stock, or water
3 tablespoons canola oil
One 1-inch piece cinnamon stick
3 cloves
1 cup finely chopped white onion
2 bay leaves
Generous pinch of kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black cumin seeds (shah jeera) (optional)

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Put the rice in a large bowl and fill the bowl with cold water from the tap. Swish the grains around gently with your hand, then pour off the water. Wash the rice about 7 more times in this way, or until the washing water loses its murkiness and remains clear. Cover the rice in the bowl with lukewarm water from the tap and let soak for 20 minutes. Drain the rice in a sieve.
Heat the stock in a small pot over moderately high heat until hot.
Heat the oil in a 4-quart pot (see headnote) over moderate heat until warmed through and add the cinnamon and cloves. Cook for about 1 minute, or until the spices are fragrant. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened (don't let it color), about 3 minutes. Add the bay leaves and drained rice, stirring to coat the rice with the oil.
When the rice starts sticking to the bottom of the pot, which will take about 1 minute, add the hot stock and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil. Fold the rice over with a rubber spatula and cover the pot. Reduce the heat to low so that the mixture simmers very gently. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until most of the stock has been absorbed. Turn off the heat and let the pilaf sit, covered, for 15 minutes.
Fluff the pilaf with a fork and sprinkle the black cumin over, if desired.

Buy The Ingredients
Product nutrition and information
 Quantity Ingredients Est.Price
  Lundberg California Brown Basmati Rice - $5.99/ea
  Kitchen Basics Unsalted Vegetable Cooking Stock - $3.99/ea
 32fl oz
  FreshDirect Cinnamon Sticks
This product is currently unavailable.
  FreshDirect Whole French Cloves
This product is currently unavailable.
  White Onion, Large - $1.99/lb
You Might Already Have
  Wesson Canola Oil - $5.19/ea
 48fl oz
  Spice Supreme Bay Leaves - $1.29/ea
  Morton Coarse Kosher Salt
This product is currently unavailable.
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