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How To Cook Pilaf

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Rice sauteed in oil then cooked in broth is pilaf. There are no rules on what else you can add. For the most basic recipe, I like combining nuts and raisins to make the wonderful blend of savory, crunch and sweet.

How to cook pilaf: a step-by-step guide with photos

I’ve been cooking pilaf long before I came across the word. There was a time when we went loco over mussels and we often had excess broth. So I’d cook rice in mussel broth. My daughters loved it! I didn’t know I was making pilaf because, at that time, I hadn’t heard of pilaf in my entire life.

The pilaf I cooked a few days ago had vegetables, almonds and golden raisins. The bone broth I used was made with roasted pork and chicken bones. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to cook pilaf.

Basmati rice: preferred in South Asian and Middle Eastern cooking

Pilaf is a savory fluffy rice dish so you have to use a rice variety that fluffs well. That means long-grain rice which has less starch so that the grains don’t clump together during cooking. There are several varieties of long grain rice but basmati is my favorite.

How to cook pilaf: start with aromatics to create a flavor base

Choose your flavor base. Any combination of herbs and spices is okay, but make sure that your choices go together well. The most basic combo of onion and garlic is fine.

For my pilaf, I chose equal amounts of bell pepper, carrot and celery. How much you will need should be commensurate with the amount of rice you’re cooking. Cut your aromatics into small pieces.

How to cook pilaf: Nuts are a popular addition to pilaf.

If you’re using nuts, it’s a good idea to toast them first. Heat a frying pan. Dump in the nuts and just toss them around until you see oil on their surface.

Before or after toasting the nuts, you have the option of chopping them. Because I used almonds which are on the large side, I roughly chopped them after toasting.

How to cook pilaf: For sauteeing, choose butter or ghee for more flavor.

You can use any oil for sauteeing the aromatics. But, for better flavor and aroma, butter or ghee works better.

Ghee is clarified butter. You can buy it in South Asian food stores.

How to cook pilaf: saute your aromatics with butter or ghee

Heat your oil, ghee or butter in a frying pan. Saute your aromatics with a bit of salt and pepper. To the bell pepper, carrot and celery, I added rosemary too for even more flavor and aroma.

How to cook pilaf: add nuts and raisins (or sultanas) to the aromatics

Then, you add the nuts and raisins or sultanas. Just keep sauteeing until you can smell all those beautiful aromas.

How to cook pilaf: add long-grain rice

Add the rice.

How to cook pilaf: toss the rice in oil and make sure that every grain is glistening with oil

Toss everything together so that every grain of rice is coated with oil.

How to cook pilaf: add the broth to the rice and vegetables

You can pour the broth directly into the pan and cook the rice on the stovetop. But, I like convenience. So, I dumped the contents of the frying pan into the rice cooker then poured in the broth.

How to cook pilaf: cook the rice until all the broth as been absorbed

I turned on the rice cooker and, twenty minutes later, my pilaf was ready.

How to cook pilaf: let the pilaf rest for a few minutes then fluff with a fork.

I let the pilaf sit in the rice cooker for five minutes to allow the starch to stabilize before raking through the rice with a fork.

Rice sauteed in oil then cooked in broth is pilaf. There are no rules on what else you can add. For the most basic recipe, I like combining nuts and raisins to make the wonderful blend of savory, crunch and sweet.

And there’s my pilaf. It’s best while still hot!