Wild mushroom pilaff

Wild mushroom pilaff

Indian Food Made Easy
Vanessa Courtier

This is a special-occasion statement pilaff. It is a dish cooked either for those you love or for those you really want to love you. It is a dish that may send you on a treasure hunt for delicious wild mushrooms that will cost a little more than your standard button ones, but the results are well worth the extra effort. The delicate flavours of mushrooms and Basmati rice marry beautifully. The onion and cashew nuts add a hint of sweetness and texture to make the dish a sublime but subtle experience. Whole spices add a wonderfully rounded flavour but if you don’t have any, leave them out and simply add one rounded teaspoon of garam masala instead (stir in with the mushrooms).


Quantity Ingredient
300g basmati rice
200g good-quality wild mushrooms such as girolles, morels, ceps, oyster, etc.
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, peeled and chopped into 1cm dice
large handful raw cashew nuts, whole
5g garlic, peeled and finely chopped
salt, to taste
390ml water
1 teaspoon lemon juice, or to taste

Whole spices

Quantity Ingredient
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 bay leaves
1 large shard cinnamon
2 black cardamom pods
6 green cardamom pods
6 black peppercorns
4 cloves


  1. Wash the rice well and soak in cold water while you prepare the mushrooms. If using dried mushrooms, soak in boiling water for 20 minutes, then drain. Wash the morels well and wipe the other mushrooms clean with damp kitchen paper. Cut any large mushrooms into slices.
  2. Heat the oil in a large, wide saucepan. Add the whole spices and cook for 20 seconds, then add the onion and cashew nuts. 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.
  3. Drain the rice and add to the pan of mushrooms with the water, bring to a good boil, then cover with a lid, lower the heat and cook for 10 minutes. Taste a grain of rice to check if it’s cooked; 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 and taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary.
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