If you love a well seasoned rice, then Rice Pilaf is the way to go. Also called pilau, this classic dish got its start in India and spread throughout the world, popping up in many other cuisines. While this dish has seen itself transformed from culture to culture, in its most common form, the recipe usually calls for white rice to be braised with vegetables, meat, stock/broth, herbs, and spices in a saucepan or sauce pot.

The dry ingredients are sauteed, then briefly boiled in the stock, covered, and baked in an oven. The result is a richly flavored rice that sets the mood for an exotic feast and should at least be tried once in a while. Today's recipe is a classic Rice Pilaf that's surprisingly simple for amateurs to cook but will also include several variations for the professionals out there who want to spice things up.

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • One tbsp unsalted butter
  • One tbsp olive oil
  • Two garlic cloves, minced
  • One onion, diced
  • 200 grams white rice
  • 400 grams chicken stock
  • One pinch saffron
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat an oven to 175°C. Pour the stock into a medium stock pot and bring to a boil over medium-low heat.
  2. Heat the butter and oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the diced onion and minced garlic in the saucepan and stir while it cooks for seven minutes or until the onions turns soft and light brown.
  3. Add the rice and stir with the onions to coat them. Do not brown.
  4. Add the stock, saffron, and salt and bring to a boil. Cover the rice and place the saucepan into the oven. Bake for 20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.
  5. Fluff the rice and serve.

Serves 6.

Variations

  • Brown Rice: Substitute brown rice for the white rice in step three
  • Vegetable: Add one cup mirepoix in step two
  • Caribbean: Add string beans, pigeon peas, green peas, carrots, a jalapeño, and stewed chicken meat as needed in step two. Substitute coconut milk for one fourth of the stock in step four
  • Mushrooms: Add four ounces of fresh mushrooms in step two.
  • Basmati: Substitute Basmati rice for the white rice in step three
  • Pakistan: Substitute the white rice and chicken stock with Basmati rice and beef/mutton stock. Add beef or mutton in step two. Add more spices, including coriander seeds, cloves, cumin, and more
  • Brazilian: Add mirepoix, green peas, corn, shredded chicken, tomato sauce, and mint in step two. Substitute risotto rice for the white rice in step three
  • Raisins and cashews: Add half a cup each of raisins and cashews in step two
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