Wild mushroom pilaff
Whole spices add flavour but if you don't have any, substitute one rounded tablespoon of garam masala when you add the mushrooms. If you can't get fresh wild mushrooms, use half the amount of dried and soak in hot water for 20 minutes. Drain and rinse.
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 large piece cinnamon stick
- 2 black cardamom pods, lightly crushed
- 6 black peppercorns
- 6 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
- 4 cloves
- 1 small onion, roughly chopped
- large handful raw cashew nuts, whole
- 200g/7oz fresh wild mushrooms (girolles, morels, ceps, oyster mushrooms, etc, wiped clean with damp kitchen towel, and cleaned of any grit)
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- salt, to taste
- 300g/10½oz basmati rice, washed well and soaked (soak the rice while you chop the mushrooms)
- 390ml/13¾fl oz water
- 1 tsp lemon juice, or to taste
Heat the oil in a large wide saucepan. Add the whole spices, cook for 20 seconds then add the onion and cashew nuts. Be careful as they may splater a bit. Fry for about 4-5 minutes, until the onions are soft and browning at the edges.
Add the mushrooms, garlic and salt and sauté over a high heat for 4-5 minutes. Drain the rice that's been soaking and add to the pan along with the 390ml/13¾fl oz water, bring to the boil then cover and lower the heat to very low and cook for ten minutes.
After ten minutes, check a grain of rice to see if it is tender. If not, leave for another minute. Take off the heat, remove the lid and allow any excess moisture to evaporate. Gently stir in the lemon juice, taste and adjust seasoning if necessary and stir gently with a fork.