Chicken Pilaf

The Pilaf is one of that vast range of dishes that involve rice boiled in a savory liquid and is thus in the same class of phenomena as paella, jambalaya and risottos. The word pilaf is of Persian origin, and this one is typically south-west Asian in its use of cinnamon, allspice, dried fruits and nuts. Do not be put off by the long list of ingredients. It is actually very simple.

Ingredients.

¼ cup olive oil.

250g diced lean chicken meat.

½ teaspoon cinnamon.

½ teaspoon allspice.

½ teaspoon ground ginger.

¼ teaspoon white pepper.

Salt to taste.

1 cup jasmine rice.

1/3 cup chopped cashews.

4 dried apricots, chopped.

½ cup sultanas.

2 tablespoons tomato paste.

2 cups chicken stock.

2 spring onions, finely chopped.

½ cup chopped celery leaves.

Method.

Mix the cinnamon, allspice, ginger, pepper and salt together and stir into the meat, mixing well. Cover and set aside. Mix the rice, cashews, apricots, sultanas, tomato paste and stock in a bowl and set aside. Leave sitting for a couple of hours to allow the sultanas to plump up.

Heat the oil in a sauté pan on a high flame and cook the meat, stirring well until fully browned. Add the rice mixture, bring to the boil, stirring to mix thoroughly, then reduce heat to a simmer and cover the pan with a tight fitting lid. Cook for 20 minutes then remove from the heat, still covered, and allow to sit for a further 10 minutes.

Fluff up the rice, adding the spring onions and celery, and serve on hot plates.

Serves: 2.

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