This dish has the complex spice nuances of a recipe that's been nurtured for hours, but it's so much simpler than that – and a one-pot meal to boot. Once cooked, the rice is perfumed with rich, nutty notes from the brown butter, while the just-set egg is flecked with the salty bite of haloumi. Pomegranate, lemon and coriander impart a pop of freshness that's tempered by a good dollop of tangy yoghurt. A simple, yet exotic vegetarian dish.
400g basmati rice
1 garlic clove, finely grated
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp baharat*
1 pinch saffron threads
650ml boiling water
salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
125g haloumi, coarsely grated
½ lemon, juiced
2 handfuls pomegranate seeds
20g crispy fried shallots
50g toasted flaked almonds
2 handfuls coriander leaves
natural yoghurt, to serve
1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over a medium heat, cooking until it's fragrantly nutty and brown (about 6 minutes). Pour half the butter into a small bowl.
2. Add the rice, garlic, spices and saffron to the butter in the pan and stir to coat. Add the boiling water, season with salt and pepper and stir. Cover with a tight lid and cook for 8 minutes over low heat.
3. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl, seasoning with salt and pepper.
4. After 8 minutes, fluff the rice with a fork. Scatter over the haloumi and pour over the egg and remaining butter. Cover again, cook over low heat for 4 minutes, then turn off the heat and stand, covered, for 5 minutes.
5. When ready to serve, squeeze over the lemon juice and scatter over the pomegranate seeds, shallot, almond and coriander. Serve with yoghurt.
*An all-purpose Middle Eastern spice blend found at some supermarkets and specialty shops.