Guaranteed you will enjoy this nicely textured, versatile side dish that tastes a whole lot more complicated than it actually is to make!
- 2 cups uncooked brown basmati rice
- 3 cups water
- 2 tablespoons oil or butter
- 1 ½ cups minced onion
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon minced or crushed garlic
- 2 teaspoons fennel seeds (optional)
- 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 1 cup raisins (dark or golden – or a combination)
- 1 to 2 teaspoons grated orange or lemon zest (or a combination)
- 1 ½ cups minced walnuts, lightly toasted
- About 10 fresh mint leaves, in very thin strips (“chiffonade”) - optional
Place the rice and water in a pot with a tight fitting lid. Bring to a boil, then cover, and simmer undisturbed over low heat until tender (about 40 minutes). (If the rice is still underdone at this point, it is okay to splash in up to ¼ cup more water, and cook a little further.)
Meanwhile, heat the oil or melt the butter in a medium-sized skillet. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, fennel seeds and salt. Sauté over low heat for about 15 minutes, or until the onion is very soft. Remove from heat.
When the rice is tender to your liking, fluff it with a fork to separate the grains, and transfer to a serving bowl. Stir in the onion mixture, working it in with a fork to thoroughly combine. Add the raisins, citrus zest, and walnuts as you stir.
Top with the mint chiffonade, if desired, and serve right away.