Aktar Islam’s Nawabi Pilau

Ingredients (Serves 3)
  • 250g basmati rice (washed thoroughly)
  • 120g cashew nuts
  • 6 shallots, sliced
  • 1 tbsp cold-pressed rapeseed oil
  • 120g raisins
  • 500ml water
  • 1/2 tsp sugar

Spices and powers

  • 4 cloves
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp saffron
  • 1/2 tsp salt Garnish
  • Chopped coriander


Wash and drain the rice 2-3 times and leave to soak in water for 10-15 minutes. Boil the 500ml of water and add the saffron.

In another pot, heat the oil to a high temperature, then add the nuts, cloves, cardamoms, cumin seeds and cinnamon and fry for a couple of minutes.

Add the shallots and fry for 2 minutes, till they are translucent. Add the raisins, salt, sugar and turmeric and stir for a few seconds.

Add the rice and stir well until all the grains have been coated with the spices. Add the boiling water and saffron. Partially cover the pan and reduce heat to a slow simmer, allowing the rice to cook gently in its spices. This should take about 12-15 minutes.

When the water has been absorbed, test the rice by tasting it to see if it is done. If necessary, leave for another minute or two, with the lid on.

Stir in the chopped coriander and serve with some lovely Basmati rice and an ice cold Cobra.