Prep time: 10 minutes plus 40 minutes for soaking
Cook time: 20 minutes
315 g uncooked basmati rice
½ lb (250g) fresh wild mushrooms such as chanterelles, morels, oyster, and shitake
3 tbsps oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp fennel seeds
2 bay leaves
1 inch (2.5-cm) cinnamon stick
5 green cardamom pods
5 black peppercorns
1 red onion (about ½ lb/150g), peeled and chopped
100 g packed fresh spinach leaves, washed and chopped
100 g slivered almonds
1 tbsp chopped garlic
Salt to taste
1 tsp juice of fresh lemon
Soak the rice for 30 to 40 minutes. Carefully pour out the soaking water and wash the rice in several changes of water, until the water runs clear. Leave it to drain in a fine-meshed strainer for about 15 minutes.
Wipe and clean the mushrooms clean with damp paper towels. Cut any large mushrooms into slices.
Heat the oil in a large, wide saucepan. Add the whole spices (cumin, fennel, bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom, black peppercorns and cloves) and cook for 10 to 15 seconds or until fragrant. Add the diced onions and slivered almonds.
Cook stirring often for about four to five minutes until the onions are soft and browning at the edges. Add the mushrooms, spinach, garlic and salt, and cook over a high heat for another two to three minutes.
Add the drained rice to the pan with the water, bring to a good boil. Then cover with a lid, lower the heat, and cook until the water has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Take off the heat, remove the lid, and allow any excess moisture to evaporate.
Gently stir in the lemon juice, and taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary.