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Support farmers with Aarti Sequeira’s chickpea rice pilaf

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Only a small percentage of what we spend on food actually reaches the people who farm and produce it. Even when prices go up, farmers in poorcountries rarely benefit.

To help, look for products and brands that ensure small-scale food producers get a fair deal. Rice is a staple crop that supports millions of families all over the world. When buying the rice for this recipe, look for a brand that guarantees small-scale farmers a fair price.

Chickpea rice pilaf

contributed by Aarti Sequeira


  • 1 cup rice (basmati recommended), rinsed until water is clear
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ medium white onion, finely diced
  • 2 green cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1 2-inch cinnamon stick
  • 4 cloves
  • ½–1 whole Fresno chili, minced (to taste)
  • 1 14½-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • Scant 2 cups hot water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced

Instructions: Fill a large bowl with fresh water and soak rice for about 30 minutes. Drain, reserving 2 cups of water. Combine oil and butter in small pot over medium heat. Once butter has melted and foam has subsided, add cumin seeds. After cumin seeds have darkened, add onions, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, and cloves. Sprinkle with a touch of salt and cook, stirring frequently, until onions have softened, about 5 minutes. Add Fresno chili and sauté 30 seconds. Add rice and cook, stirring frequently but gently, until the grains turn translucent and don’t clump together, 2–3 minutes. Add chickpeas, reserved water, and salt. Bring to full boil then simmer, partially covered, until rice is cooked and fluffy, about 15 minutes. Turn off heat, cover, and allow to steam 5 minutes. Garnish with cilantro.

Options: After cumin seeds have darkened and before adding onions, add ¼ teaspoon asafetida powder (hing).

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

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