Let's Cook with Meg and Ted

Bengali Royal Rice (Pushpanna)

1 1/2 cupsbasmati or other long-grain white rice
1/2 teaspoonsaffron threads
1 tablespoonhot milk
3 cupswater
3 teaspoonsfreshly grated nutmeg
ghee, oil or butter
1/4 cupraw cashews
1/4 cupalmond slivers
3 tablespoonssultanas
1 teaspoonfennel seeds
1cinnamon stick
1 teaspooncumin seeds
6cardamon pods, bruised
1 teaspooncoarsely ground black pepper
1/4 teaspooncayenne pepper
1/2 cupcooked green peas
1/4 cupbrown sugar

Wash, drain and dry the rice.

Soak the saffron in the milk for 5 minutes.

Put the water, saffron milk and nutmeg in a saucepan. Bring to the boil (with the lid on to avoid evaporation). Heat some oil in a medium-large saucepan and saute the rice for 2-3 minutes over moderate heat, then add the boiling saffron water. Stir, raise the heat and bring the water to a full boil. Immediately reduce the heat to low, cover with a tight-fitting lid and gently simmer, without stirring, for 15-20 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender and flaky.

While the rice is cooking, heat some oil and saute the cashews and almonds until golden, then remove with a slotted spoon. Stir-fry the raisins for a few seconds until they swell, then remove them and place them in a bowl with the nuts.

Heat more oil and stir-fry the fennel seeds, cinnamon stick, cumin seeds, cardamom pods and cloves for 1 minute or until seeds are golden brown. Add the black pepper and cayenne pepper and cook for another minute. Add the peas, sugar, nuts and raisins and remove from the heat.

When the rice is cooked, combine it with all the other ingredients and serve.

Slightly adapted from Kurma dasa's Great Vegetarian Dishes.

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