Wild mushroom pilaff

This is a special occasion pilaff. Indians try to serve their guests the best they can afford and wild mushrooms, in season now, is suitably generous and also a wonderful ingredient to pair with Basmati rice.

Serves 8

Whole spices

  • 1½ tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 large shards of cassia or 1 cinnamon
  • 3 black cardamom pods
  • 9 each black peppercorn and green cardamom pods
  • 6 cloves
  • 6 tbs. vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 300g good quality fresh wild mushrooms, girolles, morels (if dried, soak in boiling water for 20 minutes), ceps, oyster etc. Wash morels well and clean the rest a toothbrush. Tear or slice any large mushrooms and add the rest whole
  • 450g Basmati rice, washed well and soaked for 30 minutes
  • 900ml water
  • Salt to taste
  • 1½-2 tsp. lemon juice or to taste

Heat the oil in a large wide saucepan. Add the whole spices; cook for 20-30 seconds. Add onion and cook until soft and browning at the edges, around 4-5 minutes.

Add the mushrooms, garlic and salt and sauté over a high heat for 4-5 minutes. Drain the rice and add along with the water, bring to a good boil then cover and lower the heat completely and cook for 10 minutes. Check a grain of rice, it should be done, if not leave another minute. Take off the heat, remove the cover and allow any excess moisture to evaporate. Gently stir in the lemon juice, taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary and stir in gently with a fork.

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