Its Diwali time again. Time once again to have festive fun with friends and family.
I normally start the preparation weeks in advance. However, this year I didn’t get a chance to do my traditional Diwali shopping on time because I was travelling for work. Also, Diwali falls on a weekday this year, which makes it difficult to prepare an elaborate meal.
So I have decided to try something different this Diwali. I am going to prepare a one pot festive rice dish, which is fragrant, fresh tasting and rich without being heavy.
This rice dish is an elegant blend of both sweet and savoury flavours. The sweetness comes from the raisins in the dish and the saltiness and warmth comes from the ginger and whole spices.
You don’t need to spend hours in the kitchen to create something special. The dill and raisin rice is just what you need to be the centrepiece of your dining table. Serve it with an aubergine or potato raita and papad to make it a complete meal.
I stopped at my local Asda for a quick shop and was surprised to find they had a fantastic range for Diwali, and I managed to buy all the ingredients I needed for the dish in one go. I was amazed to see their special offers. And with rice as the main ingredient of my dish, I went for Tilda Basmati rice, which is available at £10 for a 5kg pack.
Hope you enjoy my herb and raisin fried rice. Happy Diwali!!
Serves 4-6 people
- 2 cups basmati rice
- 1/3 inch/8cm cinnamon stick
- 3-4 whole green cardamom
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, finely sliced
- 3 Tablespoons raisins
- One generous handful of unsalted cashewnuts
- 11/2 teaspoon Garam masala
- ½ bunch fresh coriander leaves, chopped
- ½ bunch parsley, chopped
- 1 bunch dill, chopped
- 2 Tablespoons vegetablesoil
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- Pinch of salt
- 1 large onion, sliced and fried separately for the garnish
There are two stages in this recipe
Stage 1 – Cooking the rice
- Wash the rice in cold water in a large bowl, then rinse and drain it. Soak the rice for an hour. (Soaking isn’t essential, but even 30 minutes soaking time will help elongate the grains, making for a more elegant rice dish.)
- Place a large saucepan or stockpot over a medium heat. Fill the pan with boiling water, drain the soaked rice and add to the pan. Bring to a boil and cook the rice for 6-8 minutes, or until the rice is done. Drain the rice in a colander and set aside (do not rinse). Spread the rice with a fork to avoid the grains from sticking.
Stage 2 – Making the main dish
- Take a large wok or a wide rimmed pan, heat and add the oil and butter.
- Add the bay leaf, cinnamon, cardamoms when the oil is hot
- Then add the sliced onion and cook for 3-4 minutes until the colour of the onions changes to a golden brown. Add the ginger. Reduce the heat.
- Now add the raisins and the cashew nuts and mix well for 2-3 minutes
- Add the salt and the garam masala. Mix well.
- Scatter the rice into the pan. Ensure you scatter it – don’t pack it – make sure the grains are separate and not mashed up.
- Finally add the chopped herbs and mix well with a fork.
- Garnish with the fried onions and a few cashewnuts.
Serve on a platter with lots of love and happiness