Fennel and Asparagus Pilau

Adapted from Meera Sodha


1.5 cups basmati rice
3 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons oil or unsalted butter
2 onions, finely sliced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 green finger chillies, vey finely sliced
1 medium bulb of fennel, thinly sliced
Half to 3/4 pound asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup of peas, or fava beans (double-podded)
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
1 ½ teaspoons garam masala
3/4 teaspoon salt
A big handful of mint and dill, chopped
1 lemon, cut into wedges


Wash the rice until the water runs clear, then leave to soak for 20 minutes. Add the rice to a large lidded saucepan and cover with the stock. Cover and bring to the boil, boil for 2 minutes and then turn the heat down to a whisper and leave to cook for 10-12 minutes. Turn the heat off and leave to steam through until needed.

Heat the oil over a medium heat in a large lidded pan. When hot, add the onions. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes until the onions are translucent and softening but not yet colored, then add the garlic and chillies and cook for another 2 minutes.

Add the fennel to the pan, stir to mix then add a couple of tablespoons of water and cover. Cook for 8 minutes or until soft then add the asparagus, peas, cumin, garam masala and salt to taste. Stir and cover and leave to cook for another 5 minutes, then take off the heat.

Fold the herbs and rice into the vegetable mixture, you might need to delicately break up the clumps of rice using your hands. Transfer to a serving dish, and serve with wedges of lemon on the side.