Pilaff with Peppers and Chicken

This fragrant and tasty pilaff may be served with a vegetable or egg curry. Iced lager is the perfect accompaniment. This pilaff may be made an hour or so in advance, placed in an ovenproof serving dish, covered tightly with a lid or aluminium foil and reheated in a moderate oven.

5 fl. oz. yogurt

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 tablespoon coriander seeds, crushed

½ teaspoon hot chilli powder

2 tablespoons ground almonds

½ teaspoons salt

1 oz. butter

2-tablespoons vegetable oil

1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1-inch piece fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped

1 green chilli, finely chopped

12 chicken pieces, skin removed

1 lb. green or red peppers, white pith removed, seeded and sliced 1 lb. Basmati or other long-grain rice, washed, soaked in cold water for 30 minutes and drained

In a small mixing bowl, beat the yogurt, turmeric, coriander seeds, chilli powder, ground almonds and salt together. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter with the oil over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli and fry, stirring frequently, for 8 to 10 minutes or until the onion is golden brown.

Add the chicken pieces and fry, turning them frequently, for 6 minutes.

Pour in the yogurt mixture and stir well to mix. Stir in the peppers.

Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and cook the chicken pieces for 35 to 40 minutes or until they are tender when pierced with a sharp knife. Uncover the pan, increase the heat to moderately high and stir in the rice. Cook the mixture, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes or until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid in the pan.

Pour in enough boiling water to cover the rice and chicken by a J-inch. When the mixture boils, cover the pan, reduce the heat to very low and cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until the rice is tender and has absorbed all the liquid.

Spoon the pilaff mixture into a warmed serving dish and serve immediately or keep warm until required.

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