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Lemon & Almond Rice Pilaf

I'll never forget the first time my brother-in-law used the family's brand new microwave. “It takes around 1 ½ hours to cook a large madumba in the oven,” he thought to himself, “so I’d think it would take 45 minutes in the microwave.” (A madumba, by the way, is the Zulu name for a giant, gnarled African potato.) He set the dial on high, pressed the ‘start’ button, and left the house for a 1 hour run. Unsurprisingly to everyone but him, he returned home to the acrid smell of burning, and fought his way through billowing smoke, to find the entire inside of the microwave had melted around his precious potato. That's culinary-challenged South African men for you! Despite this story, microwaves definitely do have their uses, and are especially handy in the hot, Israeli summer, when you'd prefer to spend as little as time as possible in the kitchen. This Lemon ‘n Almond Basmati Rice Pilaf makes the most wonderful side dish – and a super main meal for vegetarians – and it can be prepared in the microwave in mere minutes. Of course, if you prefer, you can also cook it on the stove top, or even in the oven. You can also turn this versatile dish into a main meal with the addition of chunks of ready-roasted rotisserie chicken and, if planning ahead for chag, bear in mind this freezes well. I'd share the recipe with my sheepish brother-in-law too, but I'm afraid he was banned from venturing into the kitchen ever again.


  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

  • 6 spring onions, chopped

  • 2 teaspoons/2 frozen cubes fresh ginger

  • 1 stick of celery, including a few leaves, chopped

  • 1 cup basmati rice

  • 2 cups chicken stock (2 heaped teaspoons powder to boiling water)

  • 2 tablespoons Soya sauce

  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

  • 3 tablespoons Kiddush wine

  • 1/3 cup toasted almond slivers or halves

  • Chopped parsley to garnish

Method: 1: Place oil, spring onions, grated ginger and celery in a deep bowl and microwave covered on high for 3 minutes. 2: Add remaining ingredients – apart from parsley – and microwave covered on high for approximately 16 minutes, then fork in chopped parsley and serve. Serves 4 as a side dish. May be doubled.

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