Beside apples, oranges are the most common imported fruit that my mom usually used to buy for the family when I was a child. But, I disliked oranges then, as more often than not they weren’t sweet but rather sour. I thought I was the only one who had this bias against oranges until I discovered that my hubby also disliked oranges. Maybe, we might also have influenced our son who also didn’t show much interest eating this fruit. So much for parental influence! But, we knew that it’s a good source of vitamin C and need to change our mindset on oranges.
Luckily, I came to know an honest fruit seller at the nearby wet market. He would tell me if the oranges he was selling are sweet or otherwise. Not surprising, freshly cut orange has since become our number one choice as a thirst quencher. Our son, with parental influence and encouragement, has also learned to accept oranges as well. He can eat a few thinly sliced oranges without fuss, which is really a great improvement for him.
Now, getting back to this Middle Eastern inspired pilaf which I bookmarked from my son’s bi-monthly school magazine, I was intrigued by the use of orange zest and orange juice that give the dish a taste of “sunshine”. Infused with the scent of orange, the rice itself is so aromatic and flavourful. The black and golden raisins, as well as almond flakes used in the dish greatly compliment the basmathi rice. We love basmathi rice because of its fluffy and not starchy texture. All said, the combination of ingredients made the rice dish look so eye-pleasing and appetizing! Every time I cooked this orange pilaf, my husband and son would ask for an encore. In fact, I cooked it a couple of times during the recent June school holidays. My son enjoyed this rice dish so much that he didn’t mind to have it for lunch and dinner.
The recipe that you find in page 2 was modified to cater to my family’s taste buds. I substituted ground cinnamon with cinnamon stick, as well as reduced the quantity of cloves and cardamom pods used. I also didn’t crack the cardamom pods. By doing so, the smell and taste of these spices were not too overpowering and more kid-friendly. The addition of chicken meat and green peas made it a perfect one-dish meal for the family too. It can also be packed well into lunch boxes so your kids can have a delicious and healthy meal at school.
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>>> Click on PAGE 2 BELOW for orange pilaf recipe ……………