- 250g diced chicken leg
- 1 onion
- 1 red pepper
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 lemon
- 4 cardamom pods
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 150g white basmati rice
- 50g rocket
- 1 pomegranate
- A handful of flat leaf parsley, leaves only
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 300ml boiling water
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the chicken. Fry for 5 mins till golden, giving it a stir now and then.
While the chicken fries, peel and finely chop the onion. Halve the pepper and flick out the seeds and white bits. Finely chop it. Peel and grate or crush the garlic.
Add the onion and pepper to the pan. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Fry for 5 mins till soft and glossy. Stir in the garlic. Cook and stir for 1 min till the contents of the pan smell sweet.
While the veg fry, finely grate or pare the zest from the lemon. Bash 4 cardamom pods in a pestle and mortar, or in a small bowl with the end of a rolling pin, to split them open. Add the seeds to the pan. Drop in the cinnamon stick. Add the lemon zest and rice. Pour in 300ml boiling water.
Bring the pilaf up to a simmer. Cover and bubble gently for 10 mins till the rice is tender. Remove from the heat. Stir in half the rocket so it wilts. Put the lid back on to keep warm.
While the pilaf cooks, roll the pomegranate around in your hands to loosen the seeds. Slice in half. Hold 1 half over a bowl, cut-side down, and thwack with a wooden spoon to shake out the seeds. Repeat with the other half. Pull any stubborn seeds out with your fingers, discarding the white pith.
Roughly chop the parsley leaves. Squeeze the juice from half the lemon. Cut the other half into wedges. Stir the parsley and lemon juice into the pilaf. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve the pilaf with the pomegranate seeds and remaining rocket scattered over the top, and lemon wedges for squeezing.
Spice is nice
For a warming bedtime drink, simmer a couple of mugfuls of milk (or almond or hazelnut milk) with the leftover cardamom pods for a few mins. Strain into mugs or whisk with cocoa powder for a fragrant hot chocolate.