Yamuna Devi's Rice with Shredded Carrots and Coconut


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Yamuna Devi's Rice with Shredded Carrots and Coconut (Gajar Pulao)

Yamuna Devi writes: "This is pale golden rice marbled with shredded carrots and toasted shredded coconut. A touch of raisins adds a little sweetness. You may want to remove the whole cloves, peppercorns and cinnamon stick before serving, as they are not meant to be eaten. This is a good choice for luncheon or evening menus along with any dal soup or tossed salad. This dish is quick, colorful, aromatic and, most important, delicious".

Preparation time: 5 minutes,

Cooking time: 25-35 minutes,

Serves: 3or 4.

1 cup basmati or other long-grain white rice,

2 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil,

1½ tablespoons sesame seeds,

6 whole cloves,

6 black peppercorns

1½ inch (4 cm) piece of cinnamon stick,

3 tablespoons fresh or dried shredded coconut,

1 2/3 - 2 cups water,

1½ cups scraped and shredded carrots,

1¼ teaspoons salt,

2 tablespoons raisins or currants.

Heat the ghee or oil in a heavy 1.5 litre nonstick saucepan over moderate heat until it is hot but not smoking. Add the sesame seeds, cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon stick and coconut. Stir-fry until the coconut turns light brown. Stir the rice into the mixture and fry for a few minutes until the rice grains are slightly translucent.

Add the water and the remaining ingredients raise the heat to high and bring to a full boil.

Reduce the heat to low, cover with a tight-fitting lid and gently simmer without stirring for 20-25 minutes or until the rice is fluffy and the vegetables are tender-crisp and all of the liquid has been absorbed.

Turn the heat off and let the rice sit, covered, for 5 minutes to allow the fragile grains to firm up. Just before serving, remove the cover and fluff the piping-hot rice with a fork.