This dish is filled with incredible flavor, one that you will crave during the week. Takes some time but well worth it in the end.

INGREDIENTS                                       (click photo to enlarge)

* 2 cups basmati rice
* 1 pound shrimp, shelled and de-veined or 3 chicken skinless, boneless chicken breasts, diced
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
* 1/4 bunch cilantro
* 2 serrano chilis (optional)
* 1 chunk of ginger
* 4 large cloves of garlic
* 4 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 large yellow onion, chopped
* 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
* 1 cinnamon stick
* 1/4 stick of butter
* 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
* 10 – 12 whole green cardamom pods
* 2 bay leaves
* 3 cups water
* 2 sprigs fresh mint
* sea salt to taste

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wash the rice and soak it in cold water, set aside.
2. Wash the shrimp and drain it well. If using chicken cut into bite size pieces. In a glass container add shrimp or chicken, salt and tumeric. Blend together and refrigerate.
3. Peel the ginger and garlic, blend in food processor, add cilantro, chiles and blend until a paste.
4. Chop the onion and mint. Set aside.
5. Heat oil on medium in an oven safe baking dish. Add the peppercorns, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and 1 bay leaf. Saute until fragrant, approximately 2-3 minutes.
6. Add chopped onion/mint mixture and saute until light brown, stirring constantly. Add 1/2 of the paste and saute for another minute or two. Add water and salt, bring to a boil.
7. Drain the rice and add it to the boiling water and add the butter and mint. Bring this to a boil, cover and place it in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes.
8. When the rice has been in the oven for about 10 minutes heat a drizzle of olive oil in a saute pan and add the remainder of the paste along with the other bay leaf. Saute this for a minute or two and add the shrimp or chicken. Saute until done, about 5 minutes or the shrimp and little longer for the chicken.

Remove the rice from the oven. Top it with the shrimp or chicken and serve immediately.