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French Fridays with Dorie: cardamom rice pilaf

There’s not a whole lot to say about this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe other than that it’s a delightful side dish that I ate on its own for at least one meal this week.  Also, that it had totally changed my mind about cooking rice other than in a rice cooker.  Yes, this Cardamom Rice Pilaf (p. 378) was a revelation in a number of ways.  Six simple ingredients and 30 minutes made for a dish with a  much more complex flavour than you would expect.

The secret?  The cardamom pods…

Inside the ugly pods, are somewhat ugly seeds whose appearance belies their taste.  Light and citrusy, they release even more flavour when you press the seeds with the flat of a chef’s knife and the aroma and flavour only continue to deepen when you cook them.  The lemon zest adds a little more citrusy zing and the chicken stock infuses the finished pilaf dish with a buttery flavour and texture.

Now, let me tell you that rice and peas is one of the first thing I remember cooking on my own and I never used a rice cooker. In fact, I thought they were ridiculous, one-use appliances that just took up space in the cupboard.  However, since I moved to Canada, I have only ever cooked rice in a rice cooker. Neil swears by his billion year old rice cooker and I just kind of went along with it. Until now. When Dorie calls for cooking rice the old fashioned way, in a saucepan.  I do admit to toying with the idea of making this in the rice cooker but I couldn’t figure out how to make it in JUST the rice cooker, since there were onions needing to be cooked as well..  So I followed the recipe (gasp! though with Dorie’s stuff I tend to be faithful!) and it was perfect. Fluffy, not soggy, not undercooked.

And isn’t it beautiful?

I added a little extra lemon zest for flavour and colour when I served it on its own.  I also served it with roasted vegetables and a steak and vegetable dinner. I was very happy with this and will definitely use this method again when I want to make a flavoured rice. Thanks, Dorie!

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French Fridays with Dorie participants do not publish the recipes on our blogs, rather, we prefer if you purchase Around My French Table for yourselves (trust me, you definitely want this book!) which you can do here on Amazon or Amazon Canada. Or for free worldwide shipping, buy from The Book Depository.

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54 Responses to French Fridays with Dorie: cardamom rice pilaf

  1. Adriana May 27, 2011 at 06:47 #

    I have to admit I didn’t let go of the rice cooker this week for the pilaf. What I usually do is take out the insert, place it on the stovetop, and saute the onions (or whatever ingredients I might use to flavor the rice), add the rice and the liquids, and take it back to the cooker. That said, I know I should try to break off my comfort zone and try to make this in a good old fashioned saucepan. Love how the zest pops out in the picture.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite June 5, 2011 at 18:37 #

      I need to try it out now with the rice cooker to see if I can make it work too. But Dorie’s method is so failproof, I might not bother!

  2. Liz May 27, 2011 at 07:03 #

    I’ve never used a rice cooker, but Dorie’s method is a wee bit different from mine. Loved the results…although one of my kiddos got the extra zest I also used for garnish and didn’t think extra lemony was a good thing!

  3. Maya@Foodiva's Kitchen May 27, 2011 at 07:36 #

    Mardi, I too resisted using my rice cooker for this week’s pilaf and was relieved that the rice came out okay. I went with lime zest, but looking at your lemon one, it really does brighten up the dish considerably!

  4. Belinda @zomppa May 27, 2011 at 08:37 #

    Makes the rice so beautifully aromatic!

  5. Nelly Rodriguez May 27, 2011 at 08:54 #

    Oh rice how I love you….I haven’t had any in 5 days and am missing it after reading this post! And cardamom, another of my great loves. Love that you added lemon zest!

  6. Pam @ From Apples To Zucchini May 27, 2011 at 09:37 #

    Beautiful pictures! I loved this one too, even though mine turned into quinoa pilaf : )

  7. Denise May 27, 2011 at 10:31 #

    I was a bit put off by the appearance of the seeds too, but loved the flavor, especially with the zest. Lovely photos, as always. Have a great weekend.

  8. Paula May 27, 2011 at 10:35 #

    I’ve never used cardamom and now I know what to expect. Thank you! Love how you staged these photos, especially the last one…it just pops!

  9. Jessica of My Baking Heart May 27, 2011 at 12:03 #

    What a beautiful dish of rice… and a great description of cardamom, too! :)

  10. Rochelle May 27, 2011 at 12:14 #

    I have a confession… I have never made rice pilaf that wasn’t of the boxed variety. I also dislike rice cookers (I always make my rice in a pan)!

    So I think I need to get a hold of this recipe so I can make my first real rice pilaf and enjoy the fact that I’m not a fan of rice cookers :D

  11. Cher May 27, 2011 at 13:03 #

    Hmm. Have never used a rice cooker, so I can’t compare. Although, I loved that this was such a quick, simple way to dress up plain ‘ol rice.
    Love the contrast of the yellow dish with the blue tablecloth.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite June 5, 2011 at 18:34 #

      It really made such a lot of difference, the extra effort and time, to make rice something special!

  12. Yuri May 27, 2011 at 17:07 #

    Beautiful dish, Mardi! Mine had a brownish color because I overcooked the onions :) Happy Friday!

  13. kitchenarian May 27, 2011 at 20:46 #

    Beautiful pictures. I enjoyed this dish. It would be great with so many different foods. I served the rice with chicken. Now that I think about it, we have everything with chicken!

  14. Elaine May 28, 2011 at 00:21 #

    Your rice has a lovely yellow color. I really liked the lemon zest in this dish.

  15. Krissy May 28, 2011 at 00:32 #

    Very pretty photos…your rice looks really good. We liked this pilaf with our meal. You are right: Cardamom is quite interesting and even ugly, but it was fun and I do like the taste…I’ve only used ground cardamom previously, so this was a new experience.

  16. Tricia S. May 28, 2011 at 11:14 #

    Agreed with you completely on the stunning simplicity of this one. Nana and I were not expecting much, given the list of ingredients. I did not have great results with the cardomom on the ginger carrot recipe but still feel that was a user error on my part. It was fun to see such basic ingredients turn out so amazing on this one. And who isn’t always looking for a simple, easy side dish. Not that the eclairs weren’t a blast…..

  17. Kate@Diethood May 28, 2011 at 14:00 #

    I’ve never used a rice cooker… now I’m curious.
    I, too, ate this all on its own and loved it!

  18. Candy (Dulce) May 28, 2011 at 14:49 #

    Glad you enjoyed this. Mine wasn’t great, but oh well! Yours looks fantastic!

  19. Dan May 28, 2011 at 14:56 #

    I love cardamom. It’s such an inexpensive and under-used spice. I feel like everything is a little better with some lemon zest! :)

  20. Brian @ A Thought For Food May 28, 2011 at 21:33 #

    Rice, when done right, can be a beautiful thing. And doesn’t this sound so flavorful! Love it!

  21. Cookin' Canuck May 28, 2011 at 22:37 #

    This is another one of Dorie’s recipes I must try. Cardamom pods are such a wonderful ingredient and I can imagine that they must add a very alluring scent and flavor to the rice.

  22. Betsy May 29, 2011 at 22:05 #

    Great tablecloths! I was pleasantly surprised how easy this one was, only marginally more effort than plain steamed rice, and so much more interesting.

  23. The Mistress of Spices May 30, 2011 at 08:47 #

    Vive le cardamom, pour toujours!

  24. Mr. Neil May 30, 2011 at 13:09 #

    Mr. Neil will forgive the abberation. ;-)

  25. penny aka jeroxie May 31, 2011 at 08:13 #

    spiced rice! this means curry to me.

  26. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction June 1, 2011 at 15:14 #

    I love simple dishes with great flavors… And, this one seems to fit the bill perfectly! I’m especially fond of cardamom!

  27. Marisa June 2, 2011 at 02:01 #

    What a great looking side-dish – can just imagine how wonderfully it would complement a fragrant curry. Or I’ll eat it as is – I love cardamom!

  28. Jean (Lemons and Anchovies) June 6, 2011 at 10:39 #

    From the time I was 10 to age 27, I only ever cooked rice in a rice cooker. When I started cooking for my now husband in his kitchen it was nerve wracking each time a cooked up a batch of rice in a sauce pan. :-)

    I have cardamom pods waiting to be used–this recipe will be the perfect use for them. :-)

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