3 tablespoons canola oil
One 1-inch piece cinnamon stick
3 whole cloves
1 cup finely chopped white onion
4 scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced
2 bay leaves 2 cups white basmati rice, rinsed, soaked, and drained (see here)
1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes
2 small or 1 large chicken bouillon cube, preferably Maggi brand
3 cups boiling water
Heat the oil in a 4-quart stew pot over medium heat until shimmering.
Add the cinnamon stick and cloves and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add the onion and scallions and cook, stirring, until softened (don’t let them color), about 3 minutes.
Add the bay leaves and drained rice, stirring to coat the rice with the oil. Cook, stirring frequently, until the rice starts to stick to the bottom of the pot, 4 to 6 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, bouillon cube, and water, taste, and add salt as necessary.
Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Gently stir the rice with a silicone spatula a couple of times and cover the pot.
Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes.
Turn off the heat and let the pilaf stand, covered, for 15 minutes.