Basmati rice is most often served as a plain backdrop for spicy curries or other strong flavored dishes. This is unfortunate because this type of rice has its own very special flavor and aroma. Well, it is time for basmati rice to finally show itself off! In this dish, the rice is cooked with curry powder and then accentuated with pretty vegetables, rich nuts, and sweet currants. The flavors are all brought together with a simple lime vinaigrette. Turmeric gives the salad a vibrant yellow color like nothing else, guaranteed to whet the appetite long before the first bite is taken. As a testament, after a marathon of cooking and testing tons of recipes, my family chose this salad to be one of the dishes served at my sister's wedding.
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1 tablespoon, plus 1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups basmati rice, rinsed and well-drained
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 bay leaves
2-1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup currants, soaked for several minutes in hot water until softened slightly and drained
1 cup chopped celery
1 small red bell pepper, finely diced
1/2 cup toasted cashews, almonds, or hazelnuts, lightly chopped
1/4 cup fresh lime juice

Cooking Instructions

Heat a large, preferably nonstick pot over medium-high heat. When hot, add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the rice. Quickly stir the rice until it is well-coated in the oil. Add the curry powder, turmeric, and bay leaves. Stir to mix the ingredients together completely. Add the water and bring to a boil. When the rice reaches a boil, add the salt and lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer until done (about 15 minutes), transfer the rice to a large mixing bowl and set aside in the refrigerator to cool.

When the rice has cooled, mix in the currants, chopped celery, red bell pepper, and nuts. Whisk the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil with the lime juice and pour over the rice. Mix thoroughly. Add more salt if necessary and serve (can be refrigerated up to 1 day before serving).

Makes 6 servings



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elliemay's blog

You can use either a spicy or not so spicy curry powder in this dish; the choice really depends on your own personal preference. It will be delicious either way.

Instead of soaking the currants in hot water to soften them, I sometimes stir them into the warm rice before letting the rice cool. The steam and heat from the rice softens the currants. If your currants are very fresh, however, they may not need any soaking in the first place.

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