At Home with Madhur Jaffrey
The best basmati rice pilaf recipe, with almonds and raisins, is from Madhur Jaffrey’s cookbook, She is an award-winning actress and cookbook author. This book is a fantastic resource because she magically inspires home cooks to try exotic recipes and spices. With her signature writing style, not only will you gain confidence in these unique and ethnic dishes, but also you will feel like you gained a friend. She weaves her rich family stories and regional cuisine history into the recipes. But above all, she makes Indian recipes accessible and opened my experiences to cooking the best basmati rice pilaf.
Francis Lam, the host of American Public Media’s The Splendid Table, interviewed Madhur Jaffrey in a podcast last June. It is a delightful interview that highlights her impressive career and a new 30th cookbook, . At 80+ years old, she is an extraordinary food ambassador and relevant force in cooking. This cookbook will be an upcoming project of mine to post about the successes. I am sure there will be many.
This recipe for basmati rice pilaf is my favorite rice recipe because of the simplicity of ingredients and versatility to accompany many main courses. Making basmati rice requires rinsing and soaking. Who knew that rice needs a bath? The word basmati derives from Hindi, literally meaning “fragrant.” My home smells like hot buttered popcorn when I make it. Only use basmati rice with this recipe – no substitutes. The rinsing and soaking are not necessary with other rice like Jasmine or long grain.
My Favorite Rice Pot
I enjoy basmati rice so much that I invested in a 3.75 Quart French Cast Iron Staub Essential French Oven because the best recipe deserves the best pot. The pan cooks the rice beautifully, and the proprietary lid design distributes the liquid while cooking. Staub calls it a “self-basting system” that ensures a continuous distribution of the liquid over the rice while cooking.
Enamel cast-iron pot with a unique lid.
The slightly textured interior provides the ideal properties for roasting and cooking.