Aromatic Basmati rice pilaf, filled with sweet dried fruits and crunchy nuts, makes a lovely side dish to serve with curries. Use the optional chile peppers if you’d like this dish to have a little kick, but it’s good without them as well.
In this recipe, I call for brown Basmati, but if you’re not a fan of brown rice, use whatever variety you prefer — white Basmati, or your favorite kind of long-grain white rice. Start with the same amount recommended in the recipe, which should yield 4 cups cooked rice.
Try serving this as a side dish with:
- Easy Eggplant and Chickpea Curry (swap this in for the plain rice)
- Super-Easy Chickpea Curry (Chana Masala)
- Quick Indian Lentil and Kidney Bean Curry
About Basmati rice
Brown Basmati is a long-grain rice that originated in northern India. Basmati’s special appeal lies in its exceptionally nutty flavor and enticing fragrance.
The Basmati rice used in traditional Indian cookery is usually refined, but a whole, unpolished version is available in natural foods stores and well-stocked supermarkets.
California Basmati is labeled, appropriately, Calmati®. This variety of rice is generally available in bulk and is a bit more expensive than ordinary brown rice, but not prohibitively so. Basmati may be substituted in any recipe calling for long- or medium-grain brown rice.
- 1 1/2 cups brown Basmati rice (see note)
- 1 tablespoon neutral vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 to 2 small fresh hot chili peppers, sliced, optional
- 2/3 cup raisins or dried cranberries, or a combination
- 1/3 cup finely chopped dried apricots
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground or fresh nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 cup orange juice, preferably fresh
- 2 teaspoons agave nectar
- 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice, to taste
- 1/2 cup toasted cashews (whole or chopped) or sliced almonds
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Combine the rice with 4 cups water in a saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil, then lower the heat, cover, and simmer gently for 30 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. If the rice isn’t done to your liking, add 1/2 cup water and simmer until absorbed.
- Once the rice is done, heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and optional chili peppers sauté over medium heat until golden.
- Stir in the rice and all the remaining ingredients except the nuts, salt, and pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, for about 8 to 10 minutes, allowing the flavors to blend.
- Stir in the nuts, season with salt and pepper, and serve.
If you like this global rice dish, you might also enjoy …
Here are more easy vegan salads & side dishes.