[Lo Jardinièr’s adaptation of a recipe in Diana Henry’s Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons]
for 4 people
1 large cup basmati rice
ground seeds of 10 cardamom pods
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon brown sugar
30 grams roughly chopped pistachios
30 grams raisins
seeds from 1 pomegranate
Wash the basmati rice in a sieve and leave to soak in a bowl of water.
Take thin shavings of peel from the oranges and cut into thin strips. Boil in a cupful of water for 2 minutes and leave to cool. Remove peel from the water, keeping both.
Peel the carrots and cut into matchsticks. Sauter in oil for 4 minutes and add the ground cardamom seeds and cinnamon. Add the sugar and orange peel and cook for 1 minute. Add the pistachios and raisins or other dried fruit (vary the proportions to taste). Take the pan off the heat.
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, add the drained rice and cook for 5 minutes only. Drain.
In a large heavy-bottomed pan, eg. cast-iron casserole, heat 2 tablespoonfuls of olive oil (you can add some butter if you wish). Cover with a layer of rice, then add a layer of orange and carrot. Continue to build up layers, keeping some of the orange and carrot mix for a garnish later. Pour on the cupful of orange water.
After the last layer cover the pan with a lid wrapped in a tea-towel to seal it and cook on a high heat for a couple of minutes, then gently for about 10 minutes. Turn heat off but leave lid on for another 10 minutes.
Spoon the rice into a hot dish or leave in the pan. Garnish with orange and carrot mix and pomegranate seeds. The rice will have just burnt on to the bottom of the pan – this is supposed to happen and is considered a real treat.