Embrace spring with a green pilaf

Arthi Subramaniam

Just as daffodils, early tulips and crocuses are heralds of spring, so is the Spring Green Pilaf.

The basmati rice dish is loaded with asparagus, leeks, edamame and pistachios, and if that doesn’t make it verdant enough, it gets an extra zip of color and flavor from dill.

Layered with flavor at every step, the leeks are first sauteed in butter and perfumed with garlic, garam masala and a dash of salt. The rice is then cooked with the leeks in vegetable broth. When the edamame and asparagus are added, so are chili powder and another dash of salt. Finally, after the salted pistachios are toasted, dill is added to the nuts. This way, every one of the vegetables is perfectly seasoned and combines beautifully with the rice.

Being a firm believer that there’s no such thing as too much edamame, asparagus, dill or pistachios for that matter, I tossed in more of them than what the recipe in “Posh Rice” by Emily Kydd sought. What I ended up with was a pot with green goodness that embraces spring.

Spring Green Pilaf

11/2 cups basmati rice

4 tablespoons butter

2 leeks, thinly sliced

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1 teaspoon garam masala

Salt to taste, divided

16 ounces vegetable stock

1 cup shelled edamame, defrosted if frozen

12 ounces asparagus, sliced into 11/2-inch pieces

1/2 teaspoon chili flakes

1/4 cup pistachios, shelled and salted

Small bunch dill, finely chopped

In a bowl, rinse the rice and cover with cold water.

Melt butter in a pot over a medium heat. Once it begins foaming, add leeks and cook for 8 minutes until softened.

Add garlic, garam masala and salt, and stir for 2 more minutes.

Drain the rice, add it to the leeks and stir to coat in the butter.

Pour in stock, and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 10 minutes.

Add edamame and asparagus. Add chili powder and salt; stir gently. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to steam for 10 minutes.

Toast pistachios in a pan. Turn off heat and add dill; stir for 2 minutes. Scatter nuts and dill on top of rice.

Makes 6 servings.

— Adapted from “Posh Rice” by Emily Kydd (Quadrille; March 2, 2017; $19.99)