2 cups basmati rice
1 tablespoon vegetable ghee
1 small onion finely chopped
½ lb (225g) frozen peas
4 green cardamoms
2 bay leaves
1 by 2 inch (5cm) stick cinnamon
1 teaspoon whole cummin seeds
3 cups cold water
1 teaspoon salt
Pick over the rice and wash in several changes of water. Leave to drain in a colander or sieve.
Heat the ghee in a heavy pot and fry the onion until transparent.
Add all the remaining ingredients except rice, water, and salt, and cook on a gentle heat for 6-7 minutes, stirring now and again.
Add the drained rice and mix well. Stir in the water and salt and bring to the boil.
Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and turn down the heat to very low.
Preheat oven to gas mark 3 (350F or 170C).
After five minutes stir in the rice. Replace lid for a further three minutes. Stir very carefully after this time by sliding the spoon down the side of the pot and gently pushing the rice at the bottom, towards the top.
Place the covered pot in the hot oven for about 15 minutes to dry off the rice.
Transfer to another container layer by layer and fluff up with a fork.
If not using immediately, cool, and keep covered in the refrigerator for up to two days.
NB. Peas pillau made in this way is delicious eaten cold with spiced yoghurt.