Prep time: 10 minutes plus 40 minutes for soaking
Cook time: 20 minutes
315 g uncooked basmati rice
½ lb (250g) fresh wild mushrooms such as chanterelles, morels, oyster, and shitake
3 tbsps oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp fennel seeds
2 bay leaves
1 inch (2.5-cm) cinnamon stick
5 green cardamom pods
5 black peppercorns
1 red onion (about ½ lb/150g), peeled and chopped
100 g packed fresh spinach leaves, washed and chopped
100 g slivered almonds
1 tbsp chopped garlic
Salt to taste
1 tsp juice of fresh lemon
Soak the rice for 30 to 40 minutes. Carefully pour out the soaking water and wash the rice in several changes of water, until the water runs clear. Leave it to drain in a fine-meshed strainer for about 15 minutes.
Wipe and clean the mushrooms clean with damp paper towels. Cut any large mushrooms into slices.
Heat the oil in a large, wide saucepan. Add the whole spices (cumin, fennel, bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom, black peppercorns and cloves) and cook for 10 to 15 seconds or until fragrant. Add the diced onions and slivered almonds.
Cook stirring often for about four to five minutes until the onions are soft and browning at the edges. Add the mushrooms, spinach, garlic and salt, and cook over a high heat for another two to three minutes.
Add the drained rice to the pan with the water, bring to a good boil. Then cover with a lid, lower the heat, and cook until the water has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Take off the heat, remove the lid, and allow any excess moisture to evaporate.
Gently stir in the lemon juice, and taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary.
ABOUT THE CHEF: Hari Nayak is more than a chef, today he is a restaurateur, author as well as a culinary consultant in North America. Chef Nayak started his epicurean journey from the Culinary Institute of America and today, he is one of the most sought-after chefs for his unique style. Today, Nayak is the author of the six bestselling books like Modern Indian Cooking and My Indian Kitchen, these books feature the simple yet eclectic style of his dishes. His latest book The Café Spice Cookbook is filled with quick and easy Indian recipes for every day meals.