Everyday party rice


Everyday party rice - onion pilau

This is my son’s favorite rice and the rice I always serve with black beans, it goes perfectly with Cuban black beans but it mixes and matches with  Indian, Mexican, Middle-Eastern – take your choice. It also makes an excellent emergency store cupboard meal, when you have no idea what to cook – add a fried egg, a chopped salad with some feta or a can of tuna and you have dinner.

This is basically a simple pilaf where the rice is sautéed with finely chopped onion & garlic until golden and fragrant with stock added to cook the rice.  It’s something that can segue from a week night beans and rice meal to a dinner party standard that will wow everyone.

This is a basic ratio recipe which you can multiply like the loaves and fishes depending on how many hungry souls you need to feed. Depending on the occasion I’m more or less generous with the olive oil. If I’m making a richer more indulgent party pilaf I like to cook the rice longer on a low moderate heat so it gets a golden crust on the bottom something the Iranians call tahdig and a much prized feature of a Persian rice pilaf. You need to be patient to get a nice crunchy crust and I’m often too impatient (or too paranoid about burning it) to get a proper, golden brown tahdig but when I do it’s a cause for much celebration and a satisfaction.

Simple onion pilaf

  • 2 cups of long grain rice (Basmati is best)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic chopped
  • 3 cups of  hot water or stock ( I use Massel vegetarian chicken stock)
  • 2 tablespoons of light olive oil (You can use up to a 1/4 of a cup depending on how lush and celebratory you feel)
  • Salt and pepper (if you’re not using stock you need to season to taste)
  1. Rinse and drain rice. (It’s good to drain the rice until dry but often I don’t have the time to do this)
  2. Heat oil in pan. Saute rice and until it’s starts to turn golden. Add onion and garlic. Keep sauteing the rice and onion until rice is nice golden colour and onion is translucent.
  3. Season with salt and pepper. Pour in hot stock or water, cover pan and cook until rice is tender and stock evaporated (About 15 – 20 minutes) If you want a nice golden crust cook rice on medium low for about 30-35 minutes.


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