Rice Pilaf with Lime & Cashews

  • Active Time 30m
  • Total Time 1h

6 servings, about 1/2 cup each

In southern India, this fragrant dish is served during the harvest season. We've made it the traditional way using white rice (though brown rice is nutritionally superior, it is rarely used in India because the oils in the bran cause it to deteriorate faster, reducing its shelf life). If you are committed to eating only whole grains, you can use brown basmati rice (see variation).


  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 1/2 cups cold water
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon black or yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped cashews
  • 2-3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro or 12 fresh kari leaves (see Ingredient Note), chopped
  • 2-3 fresh Thai, cayenne or serrano chilies or 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Ingredient Note: Olive-green kari leaves (also called curry leaves), a distant cousin to the citrus family, have a delicate aroma and flavor and are available in the produce section of Indian grocery stores. They last up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator or in the freezer for up to a month. Do not use the dried (and highly insipid) version of these leaves—substitute cilantro instead.


Place the rice in a medium saucepan with enough water to cover by about 1 inch. Gently swish the grains in the pan with your fingertips until the water becomes cloudy; drain. Repeat 3 or 4 times, until the water remains almost clear. Cover with 1 1/2 cups cold water; let soak for 30 minutes.

Bring the rice and water to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid evaporates from the surface, 4-6 minutes. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to the lowest setting; cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit undisturbed for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat; add the mustard seeds. When the seeds begin to pop, cover the pan until the popping stops. Reduce the heat to medium; add the cashews and cook, stirring, until golden brown, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove from the heat; add the lime juice, cilantro (or kari leaves), chilies (or jalapeno), turmeric and salt. Add the mixture to the cooked rice; mix well.

Brown-Rice Variation: If using brown basmati rice, rinse as directed in Step 1 then soak in 2 cups water. In Step 2, bring rice and water to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender, 25-30 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Proceed with Step 3.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Publisher. All rights reserved.

RecID 7461

nutrition information per serving

161 calories; 4g total fat; 1g total saturated fat; 0mg cholesterol; 101mg sodium; 29g carbohydrates; 0g fiber; 3g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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