Carrot and Pistachio Pilaf

I signed up to Oddbox when Lockdown 2.0 started. The thrill of getting a small mystery fruit and vegetable box was only outweighed by knowing I was rescuing items that would otherwise have gone to waste. I wish this was available all over the country, as there is absolutely nothing wrong with the produce. All power to Oddbox for rescuing poor, beleagured fruit and veg.

I’m sure I’ll figure out what to do with the kiwi fruit, but what excited me was the carrots. Beautiful, sturdy yellow carrots, with a fresh apple+carrot scent when I peeled them. Carrots and spices work so very well together, so that’s the route I went. I’d fleetingly seen a recipe for carrot and almond pilaf earlier in the day, but then remembered I had a whole big jar full of pistachios sitting there, eyeing me accusingly, so I used those instead and made it up as I went along.

This is nice and easy, no chopping of onions or garlic required.

4 tbs shelled pistachio nuts
1 tbs hazelnuts
4 tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
3 large carrots, cut into chunky batons and part boiled (I did mine in the microwave)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbs sultanas
2/3 cup of basmati rice + double that amount of water
Additional 1/2 tsp salt

First, put the olive oil in a good sized saucepan – you will cook the rice in here too – and add the salt, coriander and cumin. Heat it up, then pop the nuts in. Swirl them about to coat them with the spices. Keep an eye on them, and once you start to smell them, and they change colour a bit, lift them out of the oil, leaving all the goodness behind, and set aside.

Fetch your part cooked carrots, and pop them into the oil. Add the cinnamon, sultanas, salt and rice.
Mix everything really well to coat then pour in the water.
Bring to the boil, then turn the heat right down and simmer, covered, until all the water has been absorbed.
Turn the heat off, take the lid off, pop a paper towel over the pan then put the lid back on. Keep the lid on tight and leave the rice to steam for 5 minutes. (The towel just stops condensatiom from dropping back into the rice.)

Eat with bread or pappadoms or just as it is. Feel free to add a dollop of butter or yoghurt if you are that way inclined, though the whole thing is vegan otherwise.

Mixed carrot pilaf with pistachios and walnuts
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