Komola Pulao. Basmati rice cooked in orange juice. The fragrance of green cardamom and cinnamon. The heat of black peppercorn. The tart of orange zest. The sin of fried cashewnuts and plump raisins. And that blissful kiss of saffron.
This is food heaven !!!
Soak the rice for 30 odd minutes. Wash properly, drain the water, keep aside.
Soak the saffron strands in warm milk, keep aside.
Heat the oil and 1 tbsp ghee, add the bay leaves, crushed cinnamon, cardamom and black peppercorn, saute till the spices start to release their aroma.
Add the rice and a sprinkle of salt, mix well, saute for a while.
Pour in 1 cup of warm water and 3 cups of orange juice, cook over a medium flame.
When the rice is about 80% done, throw in the fried cashewnuts and raisins, sprinkle in the fresh ground black pepper powder, salt and sugar. Give a gentle stir, you would not want to break the rice grains.
Adjust seasonings. Cook till the rice is 90% done and the water has almost been absorbed. Do not over-cook the rice.
Switch off the flame, add the saffron soaked milk and the remaining ghee, sprinkle in the orange zest. Fluff the rice gently using a fork.
Cover the pan, leave it to rest over the hot oven for a further 10 minutes.