I think the book (which one, I forgot. look up Madhur Jaffrey) intended for the chicken and the pilaf to be served together, so I might as well share the pilaf recipe, too. I would be careful if you choose to use ground spices in lieu of some of the whole ones. You would probably have to use very little, as the effect you're going for is subtle and fragrant. Also, I specified a sweet onion to give the pilaf something to directly contrast with the spicy chicken. Trust, it's worth it.
- 1 cup basmati rice (or other long grain rice)
- 1 medium sized sweet onion, chopped
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter (or vegetable oil)
- 4 whole cardamom pods
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 5 whole cloves
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 4 bay leaves
- 2 cups water
- 1 tsp salt
In a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat, saute the onion in butter until golden. Add the cardamom pods, cinnamon, cloves, turmeric and bay leaves and saute for 2 minutes or until your kitchen begins to smell like a buttery spice market. Add the rice and stir for another two minutes so that all the grains are coated. Add the water and salt, bring it to a boil, then turn the heat down to the lowest setting and cover. Let it simmer undisturbed for 20 minutes and then take it off the heat. Keep covered until ready to serve, at which point you can fluff with a fork. It's really fluffy!