Carrot Rice

1 tsp vegetable oil
2-inch piece cinnamon
5 pods green cardamom
5 cloves
1 bay leaf
1 medium onion (thinly sliced)
2 tbsp raw cashew pieces (optional)
2 cups carrots (grated. Approx 2 carrots)
2 cups basmati rice
4 cups water (or vegetable stock)
Salt to taste

Heat the oil. Add the whole spices–cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and bay leaf–and stir for a minute until fragrant.

Add the onions and cashews, if using, and a pinch of salt and saute, stirring frequently, until the onions become translucent but not brown.

Stir in the carrots and saute for another couple of minutes until they start to cook. Stir in the rice along with salt to taste and mix well. As soon as the rice starts to turn opaque, add the water and salt. Give everything a good stir and let it come to a boil.

Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook the rice 10 minutes. At the 10-minute point, open, give the rice a good stir, and cover and cook another 10 minutes.

Let the rice stand another 10 minutes before opening. Serve hot with any basic coconut curry.

TIPS FOR MAKING CARROT RICE:

Use the largest holes on your hand grater or food processor to grate the carrots. You want the carrots and the rice to be approximately the same size when they cook. Keep in mind the carrots will shrink as they express their juices, and the rice will expand as it absorbs them.
For the same reasons, slice the onions really thin. If the onion you use is big, cut the slices in half.

You don’t need to soak the rice for this recipe, which makes it come together even more quickly, since there’s no prep ahead of time.

Usually, when I share a rice recipe with you, I ask you not to stir the rice as it cooks. I will make an exception in this case. About halfway through the 20-minute mark when the rice is covered and cooked, give the rice a stir. This will help the carrots and rice mix better and cook more evenly.
I like adding a few cashew pieces to this recipe, but they are completely optional if you want it to be nut-free.