Basmati Rice Pilaf with Dried Fruit and Almonds

basmati-pilaf-with-dried-fruits-and-almonds

As promised, here’s the basmati rice pilaf that was pictured with the Chicken Kebabs a few weeks ago. Bright yellow, studded with dried fruit and almonds, and scented with cumin, cinnamon and turmeric — it will remind you of someplace exotic you’d like to travel far far away.

Basmati is a type of rice grown in the Himalayas and Pakistan. It’s incredibly fragrant with a light nutty flavor. “Bas” in Hindi language actually means “aroma” and “mati” means “full of,” hence the word Basmati — or “full of aroma.” The grains are long, slender and fluffy compared to standard white rice.

It’s always a good idea to rinse basmati rice, otherwise it will be gummy and stick together.  It only takes a minute or two — all you have to do is place the rice in a bowl with water, and then swish it around to release any excess starch. Rinse the rice in several changes of water until the water runs almost clear.

Let the rice drain in a fine mesh strainer, then move on to the pilaf by melting the butter in a medium pot.

Add the onions and cook over gentle heat until soft and translucent.

Stir in the garlic and spices and cook until fragrant.

Next, toss in the rice and cook, stirring constantly, for a few minutes.

Add the water, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.

Cover and simmer over low heat until the rice is cooked, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle the dried fruit over top, then cover loosely and let sit for about 10 minutes. (As you can see, I used a combination of currants and chopped apricots but feel free to use whatever you like.)

Finally, toss in the almonds and fluff the pilaf with a fork.

Serve and enjoy!

Recipe adapted and modified from Cooks Illustrated

Basmati Pilaf with Dried Fruits and Almonds

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Servings: 4
Cook Time:
Total Time:

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups basmati rice
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onions, from one small onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-1/4 cups water
  • 1-1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup dried fruit, such as currants, raisins or finely chopped dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds, toasted until golden

Instructions

  1. Place rice in medium bowl and add enough water to cover by 2 inches. Using your hands, gently swish grains to release any excess starch. Carefully pour off water, leaving rice in bowl. Repeat four to five times, until water runs almost clear. Using a fine mesh strainer, drain water from rice. Place strainer over bowl and set aside.
  2. Melt butter in a pot over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook, stirring regularly, until softened but not browned, about 4 minutes. Add cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, and garlic to sautéed onions and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds longer. Add rice to pot, and cook, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes. Add water, salt and pepper to rice and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until all liquid is absorbed, 15-18 minutes. Off heat, remove lid, and sprinkle dried fruit over rice (do not mix in). Place lid loosely over pot and let stand 10 minutes. Toss in toasted almonds, fluff rice with a fork, then serve.
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  • I can smell it over the airwaves !! All Jennifer’s recipes are hits..and are presented so beautifully and clearly. This one is on my menu for Friday night.

  • I love basmati rice..I cook with it a lot. Great recipe!

  • marjory

    When my kithen reno is complete (hopefully in a couple of weeks), I am making this AND the kebabs. I can’t wait to make this using my new Miele appliances!

  • becky

    Thanks for the rinsing hint for basmati! Do you rinse all of your rice before cooking? I can’t wait to try the recipe, it looks delicious!

    • Jenn

      Hi Becky, I don’t rinse all of my rice, but with basmati it’s a good idea.

  • Gail

    This recipe sounds wonderful. I’ll make it tonight. I was looking for a carb to go with my steamed fish & chinese cabage. Turmeric is so healthy as well.
    So glad this came up today.
    Thank you for all your great Recipes.

  • S L Bennetti

    This is a first for me and this recipe was so easy to make, very flavorful and my family, who shy’s away from new recipe’s loved it.

    I love your recipe’s and this is a keeper to make many times over. Thanks for the step by step, everyone can be an accomplished Chef like you.

  • I always cook with basmati rice. It is my favorite! I will definitely have to try this.

  • Hope

    this looks amazing. thank you for sharing this recipe! I can’t wait to make it!

    I am sure not a traditional ingredient, but I wonder if I can add green olives to it?

    • Jenn

      Hope, I think green olives would be delicious in this…great idea!

      • Hope

        Thanks, Jenn! You convinced me – olives it is! haha

  • Linda Chaviano

    I tried this one and it was really good for a side dish.

  • Danita

    This rice has been on my todo list every since you posted the picture with the chicken kebabs. I made both tonight. I let the chicken marinade for a day and a half this time and it was super flavorful and tender. My husband requested I add these to his list of favorites. I used a mix of raisins + the dried apricots. It really makes the dish. I used about 1/2 c of fruit.

  • Nella

    I was looking for a good recipe to make rice with dry fruits and this Is it! I am planning to make it for this Thanksgiving. Jenn, can I make this rice a day before with so much cooking to do on Thanksgiving day?

    • Jenn

      Hi Nella, You can definitely make it ahead and reheat it in the microwave!

      • Nella

        Thank you!

  • Mandy

    Easy and delicious!

  • Kathy

    So pretty and a great dish to serve with chicken.

  • Kim Pike

    Rice is a favorite in our house, and so I am always quick to spot a new variation. Your combination of spices and dried fruit is a showstopper…fragrant, colorful, perfect blend of sweet and savory. Substituted raisins for currents.

  • Nella

    I made it last Thanksgiving. It is delicious! Next time I will double or even triple the dried fruits, I think it will be more flavorful. But this is a personal taste. Thank you Jenn for great instruction: very easy to follow!

  • My husband is Middle Eastern, and when he tried this rice, it took him back to his childhood. You nailed it with this recipe!!

  • Suzy

    I can almost smell it…. Im makin this for my family friday…. The rice looks really yummy beautiful n colorful… Mmmmmm

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