"The Qur'an mentions the pomegranate as one of the fruits found in paradise, and medical research suggests it may help those wanting to extend their stay in this world. Rich in antioxidants, the pomegranate is promoted in the West as a defence against prostate cancer, heart disease and other illnesses. We had a few pomegranate trees in our gardens in Sri Lanka, and whenever someone had a bruise, my aunties would quickly blanch the leaves to soften them, and then apply a bandage filled with the leaves to the bruise. Quite apart from any medicinal benefits, pomegranates are great to eat, and are a stunning addition to this lovely dish." ~ Peter Kuruvita.
400 g (2 cups) white or brown basmati rice
100 mL virgin coconut oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
150 mL good-quality pomegranate juice (see tip)
150 mL coconut water, vegetable stock or water
2 spring onions (scallions), finely chopped
1 tsp aleppo pepper
1 pomegranate, seeds separated, to garnish
Soak the rice in a bowl of water for 2 hours.
Heat the coconut oil in a heavy-based saucepan over medium–high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, for about 3 minutes, or until softened and golden brown.
Add the rice, cumin seeds, cardamom and turmeric and stir to coat all the rice.
Stir in the pomegranate juice and coconut water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook, partially covered, for 15–18 minutes, or until the liquid has been absorbed.
Remove from the heat, cover the pan and leave to stand for 5 minutes.
Fluff the rice grains with a fork, then fold in the spring onion and aleppo pepper. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with the pomegranate seeds and serve.
You can make your own pomegranate juice by passing the seeds of 5–6 fresh pomegranates through a juicer.
Credits: Images and recipes from Lands of the Curry Leaf by Peter Kuruvita, Murdoch Books, RRP $49.99 Photography by Alan Benson.