Saturday, October 27, 2012

Cumin Pilaf (Pilau wa jeera)

Rice to me is like a magic food. That is because depending on how you cook it, it can be transformed into so many things! From a breakfast food, to a savory dish to a dessert.What's not to like? As we continue along this culinary safari togegther, I will share with you all the rice recipes that I have learnt to make through the years. This is but one of the many. It is called "Pilau wa jeera". Translated to English, that means, "Cumin Pilaf". This is an aromatic rice dish found along the East African coast. It is simple, yet delicious!
-2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used Canola).
-2 minced cloves of garlic.
-2 tablespoons whole cumin seeds.
-1 cup of basmati rice (cleaned and soaked in room-temperature water for 20mins, then drained).
-2 1/2 cup water (to cook the rice).
-Salt to taste.
-On medium heat, heat up the oil in a medium saucepan.
-Once the oil is hot, add the garlic, stirring constantly.
-Once the garlic starts turning golden/translucent, add the cumin seeds, stirring constantly.
-Once you start smelling the cumin, add the drained rice and stir (do not let the cumin burn!). Let the rice cook for 3-4 mins, turning gently.
-Add the water and stir gently.Add the salt a little at a time until you acquire the level of saltiness you are looking for.
****At this point, pre-heat your oven to 225 degrees F (you will "dry" your rice in here****
-Cover the pot and let it simmer on medium heat for 20mins. As it cooks, keep checking every 5 mins and gently stirring to make sure the rice is not sticking to the bottom of the pan.
-After cooking for 20 mins, transfer the rice to an oven-safe dish (uncovered), and let it "dry" out for15-20 mins.
-When all the water in the rice has cooked off, remove your rice from the oven, fluff with a fork and serve.
This rice can be enjoyed with any kind of stew (chicken, beef, vegetable).
Join me next time as I take your taste buds on another culinary safari. Good eats from my meza (table) to yours!!