Serves 4


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or clarified butter
  • 1/2 small onion, finely diced 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom 
  • 2 pinches saffron threads
  • 1 3-inch cinnamon stick
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups basmati rice, soaked for 30 minutes and drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley 
Warm the oil in a 2- or 3-quart saucepan. Add the onion and spices and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes.  
Add the rice and stir to coat, then add 3 cups water and the salt. Increase the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, until the liquid is absorbed and holes have appeared over the surface. 
Turn off the heat, put a clean towel over the pot, and cover with a tight lid. Set on the back of the stove for 40 minutes. When ready to serve, gently fluff the rice with a fork and scatter the parsley on top.

From The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison,  Ten Speed Press 2014.