This is pretty easy to make. Chop the veggies, add the masala and rice and cook on low heat! You may use the crock pot if you like. The key to a great pilaf is slow cooking.
What I used: Serves 4/5
2 cups rice
1 cup ripe tomatoes diced
½ cup fresh/frozen peas
2 tsp fresh ginger and garlic chopped
1 cup onions diced
2 tsp cilantro finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
A stick on fresh mint leaves
1 tsp Whole Garam masala (1/2 inch cinnamon, 2 cardamoms, 4 cloves, 1tsp fennel seeds)
1 tsp red chili powder
¼ tsp turmeric
2 tsp ghee/oil
Salt to taste.
First, soak the raw rice in cold water. Set aside for 30 minutes. Add ghee into a medium pan. Over medium heat, add the whole garam masala, and fennel seeds. Stir in whole mint leaves, chopped ginger, garlic, and onions. Once they turn soft, add chopped tomato. Stirring attentively, cook on medium-high till they are soft and pulpy. About 5-7 minutes.
Add in the peas and powders (chili powder, turmeric and salt). To this mixture, pour 4 cups of hot water (lesser if you like your pilaf flaky, more if you like it soft and mushy) and bring to a boil. Now drain the soaked rice and add it into the bubbling mixture slowly. Let is simmer on high for 3 minutes.
Add in the lime juice, then, cover the simmering mixture on low heat for the next 10-12 minutes. Stir occasionally, very gently. All the liquid will evaporate. Test to see if the rice is cooked. If it is watery, let it stay on low heat for a few more minutes. Turn off the heat. Smear the top of the pilaf with 1tsp ghee just before it is served. Serve hot!