Basmati Rice With Pomegranate Seeds and Mint

Courtesy of Sala Kannan

Makes 4 servings

1 cup white or brown basmati rice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 bay leaves
2 green cardamom pods, bruised
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 cups water
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts*
8 to 10 mint leaves
1/2 cup fresh pomegranate seeds

Rinse the rice well in running water. Drain and set aside. (Some people like to soak their rice in water for about a half-hour. This reduces the cooking time. I generally don't soak my rice.)

In a deep pan, heat the vegetable oil. Add the bay leaves and cardamom pods. Saute for a minute, or until fragrant.

Add salt to taste, the lemon juice and the rice. Mix well. Add the water and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 18 to 20 minutes for white rice, 30 to 40 minutes for brown, until most of the water has been absorbed. You will see small craters forming on top of the rice.

Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for about 5 minutes.
Fluff with a fork, remove the bay leaves, top the rice with the pine nuts, mint leaves and pomegranate seeds, and serve immediately.

*To toast pine nuts, heat a small, dry skillet on medium heat. Add the pine nuts and toss gently for about 30 seconds or until they begin to brown. Remove immediately.