Pumpkin & Cauliflower Pilaf
2 cups uncooked brown basmati rice
1 onion, finely diced
1/4 cauliflower, broken into florets
1 handful baby spinach leaves
¼ medium pumpkin, cut into bite sized cubes
4 fresh medjool dates, pitted and finely chopped
8 cardamom pods, crushed
1 cinnamon stick
1 aniseed star
1 pinch saffron threads
6 black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
2 cups boiling water
1 cup pistachio nuts, shelled & roughly chopped
1 lemon, zested and juiced
Heat a frying pan over high heat, add the diced onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Add ¼ cup water to deglaze the pan. Add the cinnamon stick, cloves, peppercorns and aniseed star. Add the cardamom pods and bay leaves and continue to stir. Add 2 cups of uncooked brown basmati rice and stir well to coat the grains. Add the pumpkin chunks and cauliflower florets. Add the zest of one lemon. Carefully add one litre of boiling water and stir well. Add the saffron threads, cover with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove lid and add the chopped dates and the chopped pistachio nuts. Add salt to taste. Gently stir through the shredded spinach. Remove the bay leaves, cinnamon stick, star anise, cloves and peppercorns of desired. Finish with lemon juice squeezed over the top and serve.
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