Pretty and perfumed but not too rich, this is good with a special curry meal. You can omit the vegetable if you like.
1 onion cut across and finely sliced lengthwise, or packaged fried onion flakes
3 tablespoons ghee or 2 tablespoons oil and 1 tablespoon ghee, for flavor
2-in (5-cm) piece of cinnamon stick, splintered
4 cardamom pods, broken open
2 cups (500 g) Basmati rice, washed, soaked for 2 hours and drained
2½ cups (565 ml) water
1 cup (250 g) shelled young or frozen peas or grated carrot
½ cup (125 g) slivered almonds
If you are using fresh onion, heat the combined ghee and oil in a pan or a wok and fry the slices until they are brown and crisp. Drain and set them aside.
Reheat the ghee and oil in a heavy saucepan and fry the spices for a minute. Add the rice and fry, stirring until the rice is translucent. Add water and cook covered until the water has evaporated. Reduce the heat to low, add the peas, cover, and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the stove, wrap in a kitchen towel and set aside to steam. Just before serving stir in the almonds and garnish with fried onion flakes.