From Geoff Last

2015 Jan/Feb

Leftover meat is delicious in this, though optional.



  • 2 T. unsalted butter
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 c. basmati rice, soaked in cool water for 20 minutes, then rinsed and drained well
  • 1 t. salt
  • 4 c. water


  • 2 T. each unsalted butter and olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 yam or sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 T. each ground cumin and turmeric
  • 1/2 t. each ground cinnamon, hot paprika and black pepper
  • 1 t. ground coriander
  • 1/4 t. ground fennel seed
  • 12 cardamom pods, seeds only
  • 1 T. salt
  • 1/2 c. tomato purée and chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 c. fresh or frozen peas
  • 1 handful of green beans, blanched and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 c. dried cranberries (you can also use raisins, dried mango or other dried fruits)
  • 1/2 c. cashews, coarsely chopped and flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped (garnish)
  • seeds from 1 pomegranate (garnish)


Cook the rice: Heat a medium pot (with tight-fitting lid) and add 2 T. butter, then add a cinnamon stick and gently fry for a minute. Add the rice, salt to taste and 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and cook the rice for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat, fluff the rice with a fork, cover and set aside until ready to use.

To finish: Heat a large heavy pot or Dutch oven and add the butter and oil; when the butter has stopped foaming, add the onion and reduce the heat to low. Cook for about a half hour, until the onion is golden but not browned. Increase the heat to medium-low, add the carrots and yams and cook for about 15 more minutes (the yams should be tender by this point). Then increase the heat to medium and add all the spices, frying for a couple of minutes (this process is traditional with most curry dishes; it intensifies and unifies the spice flavours). Add the tomato purée and stock and stir to incorporate. Then add the cooked rice, peas, beans and cranberries (and any leftover meat, should you decide to incorporate it) and cook gently, stirring constantly to warm the dish through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large serving platter and garnish with cashews, parsley and pomegranate seeds. Serves 8.