This is a delicious one-dish meal. Although it does require a little more preparation than the average dish, the smell of freshly ground spices is heavenly and the flavor of the end result is worth the effort!
10 whole green cardamom pods
1-1/2 cups basmati rice, soaked and drained
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-3 whole cloves
2 inch cinnamon stick
3 tablespoons canola oil
3 onions, sliced
4 chicken breasts (preferably from organic, free-range chickens), cubed
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ginger, peeled and grated
juice of 1 lemon
4 tomatoes, sliced
2 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped
2/3 cup plain organic yogurst
4-5 strands of saffrom, soaked in 2 teaspoons hot milk
2/3 cup water
toasted flaked almonds and fresh coriander sprigs to garnish
natural yogurt, to serve
Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F). Remove the seeds from half the cardamom pods and grind them finely, using a mortar and pestle. Set aside. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add the rice, salt, whole cardamom pods, cloves and cinnamon stick. Boil for 2 minutes, then drain, leaving the whole spices in the rice.
Heat the oil in a frying pan (or dutch oven) and fry the onions for 8 minutes, until softened and browned. Add the chicken and the ground spices, including the ground cardamom seeds. Mix well, then add the garlic, ginger and lemon juice. Stir fry for 5 minutes.
Transfer the chicken mixture to a casserole (unless using a dutch oven) and arrange the tomatoes on top. Sprinkle on the fresh chopped coriander, spoon the yogurt evenly on top and cover with the drained rice.
Drizzle the saffron milk over the rice and pour over the water. Cover tightly and bake for 1 hour. Transfer to a warmed serving platter and remove the whole spices from the rice. Garnish with the toasted almonds and fresh sprigs of coriander and serve with the yogurt. Enjoy!
Ingram, C. (1999). Rice and Risotto: Cooking with the World’s Best-Loved Grain. London: Lorenz Books.