Elegant pistachio and dried fig pilaf

Elegant pistachio and dried fig pilaf

Anjum's Quick & Easy Indian
Lisa Linder

A sophisticated pilaf to serve to friends, lovely with any curry, and also brilliant with some of the roasted meats in this book, perhaps with a creamy raita on the side. The pistachios add a lovely fragrant nuttiness and the dried fruit a sweet chewiness that works well with the spiced rice. You can vary the dried fruits as you like.


Quantity Ingredient
200g basmati rice, well washed
vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely sliced
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
7.5 cm shard cassia bark or cinnamon stick
3 cloves
1 bay leaf
4 green cardamom pods
40-50g pistachios
3 large dried figs, chopped
or 2 tablespoons sultanas
good pinch saffron
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Once the rice has been washed, leave it to soak in fresh water while you cook. Heat 1 cm of oil in a large non-stick saucepan. Add the onion and fry for five to seven minutes, or until deep golden but not brown (it will continue cooking once you take it out). Using a slotted spoon, remove the onion and place on kitchen paper to crisp up. Remove most of the oil from the pan, leaving 3 tablespoons.
  2. Reheat the 3 tablespoons of oil, add all the spices except the saffron and cook for 40 seconds or so. Add the pistachios, figs, drained rice and saffron. Give the pot a few good stirs and add 400 ml of water. Taste the water and add seasoning to taste.
  3. Bring to the boil, then cover and reduce the heat to its lowest. Cook undisturbed for seven to eight minutes. Check a grain and, if the rice is done, turn off the heat, cover and leave to steam for a further five to seven minutes. To serve, pile into a bowl or platter and garnish with the onions.
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