She brings the salad to the table, but over on the stove, the pressure cooker gasps, exploding Blake Edwards style. "Ahhh! Ahhhh!" Holly cries out. Paul smiles.
"Oh, oh, golly, darling, I did so want to impress you," she says, picking rice from her hair.
(makes 4 servings, pressure cooker optional)
2 cups basmati rice
1 tsp. saffron threads
3 Tbsp. plus 4 cups boiling water (a little less if using a pressure cooker)
6 Tbsp. ghee or butter
1 cinnamon stick
4 whole cloves
1 cup onion, finely minced
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
Place the saffron in a small bowl and cover with 3 tablespoons of boiling water. Soak for 10 minutes.
Heat the butter in a heavy 3 or 4 qt. pot with a tight-fitting lid (or pressure cooker). Add the cinnamon and cloves and stir well. Add the onions.
Add the rice and stir for about 5 min. Pour in the 4 cups of boiling water, salt, and the cardamom. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add the saffron and its soaking water. Stir gently. Cover, reduce heat, and cook for 25 minutes (4 minutes at 15psi if using a pressure cooker, then remove from heat for approx. 10 minutes, or until steam dissipates). Fluff and serve hot.