This is a simple and yet visually stunning dish. My mother would collect leftover rice and embellish it with this lovely zesty seasoning and lots of fresh lime juice. No one ever minded that it was ‘recycled’ rice. If you don’t have leftover cooked rice, it is worth making fresh rice to enjoy this pilaf, that’s how I make mine for special meals.
- 5 cups day-old cooked basmati or jasmine rice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ¼ cup or more freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro plus additional sprigs for garnish
- 3½ tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- ¼ cup roasted salted or unsalted peanuts
- 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 2 fresh hot green Serrano or jalapeno chilies, stemmed and chopped
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
Place the rice in a large bowl. Sprinkle salt, sugar, lime juice and cilantro. Toss gently to mix. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a large heavy sauté pan or Dutch oven over moderately high heat. Add the mustard and cumin seeds; immediately cover with a spatter screen, and cook until the seeds stop popping, about 30 seconds. Add the nuts and cranberries and stir about 1 minute. Add the onion, chilies and turmeric. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, for 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low. Add the rice and mix thoroughly until each grain is stained yellow from the turmeric. Cover and cook until very hot, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a heated serving platter. Arrange sprigs of cilantro and serve hot or warm or at room temperature.
Serves 5 as a main dish, 8 as a side dish.