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Pilau Rice

2 mugs basmati rice
olive oil
4 cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
5 cardamoms
1 piece star aniseed
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon turmeric

At least one hour before serving, repeatedly rinse the rice in cold
water until the water is no longer cloudy. Place in a pan of cold
water to soak. About half an hour before serving, transfer the
rice to a pan of freshly boiled water. Again leave to soak. In
order to finally cook the rice, remove it from the water it has
been soaking in, and allow to drain. Have some water close to
boiling point prepared separately; this will be required at a
moment's notice later.

Heat the oil in the pan until very hot - vapour should be seen
rising from the oil. Add the spices to the oil, and fry for about
a minute. Add the bay leaves and the turmeric near the end of this
process, as they burn easily.

When the spices are fully fried (they should all be just starting
to discolour), quickly add the rice and stir into the oil/spice
mixture until all the rice is coated. Do not be unduly alarmed by
the violent reaction of the not-quite-dry rice and the super-heated
oil; though the safety-conscious may like to remove the pan from
the vicinity of the hob while this operation is carried out. When
the rice has been coated, add the freshly-boiling water - this
should be of approximately the same volume as the rice - and return
to the hob.

Add the salt, give one stir, turn the heat down to it's lowest
setting, place the lid on the pan, and leave to simmer. This should
be allowed at least ten minutes to cook very slowly, before removing
from the heat. The whole spices will be found resting on top of
the rice and can be picked off before serving.


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