Red rice pilaf, one of my mother’s specialties. This was her go-to recipe when my father invited Very Important People to dinner. She has many such recipes, from creamy dal makhani to crisp spice-stuffed okra, but this is one of my favorites.
Incredibly simple, fresh, cheerful, it has no spices, relying instead on the combination of fruits and vegetables for color and flavor. It works beautifully. The picture above is missing her finishing touch of carefully applied vark– edible silver foil- an uncommon garnish, but one befitting the crowning glory of my mother’s table.
To serve four:
1.25 cup long grain basmati rice
1/2 beet, peeled and slivered
1/2 cup French beans, sliced on the bias, parboiled
1/2 cup fresh green peas, parboiled
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1/2 a sweet apple, peeled, sliced, tossed with lemon juice
Sections from one small orange, the white membranes removed
A handful of sliced cashews and almonds
– In a non-stick saucepan, bring 1 cup rice to boil with two cups of water. Cover and simmer on low heat until all the water is absorbed. Gently fluff with a fork.
– In a smaller non-stick saucepan, combine the beet slivers with 1/2 cup water and 1/4 cup rice. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until the water is absorbed. Again, fluff with a fork.
– At the time of serving, lightly combine both types of rice, salt, vegetables, fruits and nuts. Serve warm.