- 1 cup basmati rice
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced into half-moons
- 1 (2-inch piece) cinnamon stick
- 2 whole cloves
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Pinch of ground cardamom
- 1 small tomato, finely chopped
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 3 tablespoons golden raisins
- 1 tablespoon Xawaash Spice Mix
- 1 ½ cups boiling water
- Cilantro for garnish
Xawaash Spice Mix
- One 2-inch
- piece cinnamon stick
- ½ cup cumin seeds
- ½ cup coriander seeds
- 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
- 6 cardamom pods
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- 2 tablespoons ground turmeric
- Place the rice in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse with cold tap water, stirring the rice gently with your hands, until the water runs clear. Place the rinsed rice in a bowl, cover with cold water, and let it soak for at least 10 minutes and up to 30 minutes.
- Warm the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the cinnamon and cloves and cook, stirring, until the mixture smells very fragrant, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cardamom and cook, continuing to stir, until they’re also quite fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomato and a large pinch of salt, then increase the heat to high. Cook, stirring, until the juice from the tomato has evaporated and the mixture is like a thick paste, about 2 minutes. Drain the rice and add it to the pot, along with another large pinch of salt. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook, stirring, until the mixture is quite dry and the rice smells nutty and is opaque, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the raisins, spice mix, and boiling water. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the rice has absorbed the liquid and is tender, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the rice sit, covered, for at least 10 minutes before fluffing with a spoon or fork. If you can find the cinnamon stick and cloves, fish them out and discard them (or warn your guests to avoid eating these). Serve the rice immediately, while hot. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, and rewarmed in a 300F oven or in a skillet over low heat.
Xawaash Spice Mix
- Place the cinnamon stick in a small zip-top plastic bag, seal it, and bang it a couple of times with a rolling pin, skillet, or mallet (anything firm and heavy) to break it into small pieces. Place the cinnamon pieces, cumin, coriander, peppercorns, cardamom, and cloves in a small heavy skillet set over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the smell is very aromatic and the spices are lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Let cool. Transfer the mixture to a clean coffee grinder and grind into a fine powder (or use a mortar and pestle and some elbow grease). Transfer the ground spices to a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl and sift. Regrind whatever large pieces remain in the sieve and add them to the bowl with the ground spices. Add the turmeric. Whisk well to combine and transfer the mixture to an airtight jar. Store in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months.