1 ½ cups basmati rice
3-4 tbsp ghee/oil
2 bay leaves
2 pcs cinnamon
4 green cardamom
1 black cardamom
3 cups hot water (or milk or combination of milk and water)
2 generous pinch saffron
1 medium onion sliced
½ cup paneer cubes
Handful of cashewnuts
Handful of raisins
Handful of almonds, pista
Vegetables (peas, capsicum pieces, cauliflower, carrot pieces) – optional
Fruits per your liking:
½ apple chopped
½ cup pineapple slices
½ cup purple grapes
Handful of pomegranate seeds
Wash and soak rice in water for 20 mins. Put in a strainer so all water runs out.
Mix saffron with 1 tbsp warm milk and keep aside
Heat a pan with tight fitting lid and add ghee.
Add whole spices and stir.
Add rice and stir gently and saute for 5 mins.
Add vegetables if using and stir.
Add milk or water or a mix of both and saffron and salt.
Bring the flame to low so that there is a simmer. Cook covered for 10 mins.
Take off fire and fluff the rice and keep aside.
Meanwhile when rice is cooking, deep fry onion (in a mix of ghee and oil) to golden brown and transfer to a plate.
Fry nuts and raisins in the same oil and keep aside.
Fry paneer cubes and transfer to the plate.
Now add all fried items and fruit pieces to the rice and mix well.
Add fruit pieces per your liking- all or none.
Cooking in milk definitely gives richness to rice. I used a combination of milk and water.
When frying onions, always fry few extra onions and store in refrigerator. Comes handy for a quick garnish.
Water ratio varies for different basmati rice, so use accordingly.