Nutty Sweet Rice
Every ingredient of this delicate dessert has a healthy contribution to make. Enjoy it after a light dinner on a chilly night.
Cook one cup basmati rice in two cups of water. In a heavy-bottomed pan, melt 2 Tbsp. ghee (clarified butter). Toss 1 cinnamon stick, 2 pods of coarsely crushed green cardamom, 1 Tbsp. raw sugar and 2 Tbsp. each of raisins and unsalted pistachios, almonds, and cashews (any or all of these) into the ghee.
Stir-fry for about a minute, or until the nuts are lightly browned and the spices give off an inviting fragrance. Pour this garnish into the rice, fluffing with a fork to mix the ingredients thoroughly. Serve warm.
Variations: Omit any of the nuts and add your own favorites—walnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts.
Prep: Soaking the rice in water for 15-20 minutes before cooking helps the grains absorb water and allows them to cook thoroughly. Soak the raisins in clean water overnight to plump them up and make them easier to digest. Shell and blanch almonds (if using), and soak them in water overnight. This is not necessary with pistachios, cashews and walnuts.
Health Benefits: According to Ayurveda, cardamom and cinnamon are warming spices that balance the ‘cooling’ nature of rice, making this a perfect winter dessert. Nuts supply vitamins, minerals, fiber and have a warming, nourishing effect. Raisins nourish the brain and appease the Vata dosha, which tends to flare up during the cold months. Easy-to-digest basmati rice boasts a natural sweetness. Ghee helps carry the lipid soluble portions of the spices and nuts to the lipid-based cell walls of the body.
What’s not to love?!