Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Qabili Pilau (Dhruv Baker's recipe for Tilda rice)

The aroma of cooking pilau or pilaf takes me back to my childhood, when we used to visit family friends. The pater familias was a Korean born and bred in Uzbekistan, which is famous for its delicious pilaf dishes. He always cooked a lamb plov (that's what we call it in Russia), and it was a real feast. It has been cooked for hours in a special heavy pot, with a whole head of garlic sitting inside the rice. Memories, memories... When Tilda rice asked me recently if I would like to try some of their new recipes created by Dhruv Baker, I immediately said Yes.

MasterChef winner Dhruv Baker has been working wonders in partnership with Tilda (you might have seen and enjoyed their Limited edition rice packs). To coincide with the coming Diwali celebrations they have just released the first ever Rice & Spice Pairing Guide, which is "designed to help people understand the complex characteristics of rice and discover mealtime pairings".
This guide "helps uncover how wholegrain Basmati balances perfectly with spices like smoked paprika in a chilli con carne and why Basmati, often referred to as the Prince of Rice is an ideal accompaniment to a perfect chicken curry".

Having read the Guide, I was happy to try all the recipes. The first one I have chosen to recreate was a Qabili Pilau, which pairs Tilda Easy Cook basmati with cinnamon. I don't usually add cinnamon to pilaf, and was curious to try this combination of flavours.

Apart from cinnamon, there are also such spices as cumin, saffron and pepper. Tilda Easy Cook Basmati is exactly what it says on the packet - easy to cook. It has a unique fragrance which is ideal alongside the cumin, saffron and cinnamon.
"It is also more robust, both texturally and in terms of flavour, so it stands up to the lamb resulting in a fabulous finished dish".
What did we think of the pilau? It was absolutely spot on flavour-wise, a great combination of rice, meat, spices and vegetables.

Qabili Pilau (serves 6) - Recipe is reproduced with kind permission from Tilda
360g Tilda Easy Cook Basmati
3tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
600g lamb, diced
200ml water
2 large carrots
100g black seedless raisins
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp saffron
1 litre of water
salt and pepper

Prep time 10 mins
Cook time 2hrs 10 mins

1. Heat a large pan with the 2 tbsp oil and add the onions and saute until brown.
2. Add the lamb and brown lightly.
3. Add the 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp cumin, pepper with the water and cover. Simmer until meat is tender, about 1 1/2 hours.
4. Remove meat from the juice and set juice aside.
5. Cut 2 carrots into match stick pieces. Saute carrots and 1 tsp sugar in 1 tbsp of oil.
6. Remove from oil. Add 1 cup of raisins to the oil and cook until they soften up.
7. Simmer the leftover meat juices until it thickens into a sauce.
8. Bring a pan of water to the boil and add the Tilda Easy Cook Basmati, cook for 8 mins and then drain off the excess water.
9. Add the rice back to the pan with 5 tsp of the meat sauce and the saffron. Mix the meat, carrots, raisins and rice together. Add salt and pepper to taste.
10. Place in a large oven-proof dish and cover well to keep the steam inside. Bake for 30 mins at 200C.

11. Serve on a large platter and enjoy with the leftover meat sauce.

I have tried some of Dhruv Baker's recipes in the past, and if you are interested to check them out, please read my posts:
Dhruv Baker's Perfect Chicken Curry
Tilli's Tasty Tuna Bites

Disclosure: I received vouchers for purchasing products and testing a recipe.

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