Basmati is a long grained rice from India. It means fragrant in Sanskrit. I like it because it's not at all sticky, and the grains stay separated, even after a night in the fridge. Since the grains are fluffy and relatively dry they mix well with sauces like curries.
Basmati rice elongates to twice its length after cooking, and you can see how long the grains have gotten in the photos. India has been fighting for the rights to 'patent' the rice as coming exclusively from a specific geographic location, kind of like certain wines from France and Parmesan cheese from Italy. It's worth seeking out the real thing because the flavor and aroma is so special.
I gathered these coriander seeds from my sister's garden. Coriander is the seed of the cilantro plant. When you plant cilantro it 'goes to seed' pretty quickly, and if you leave it alone it will drop the seeds and spread easily, at least here in California. You can also just pinch the seeds off the dried plant and use them in cooking. The ones on the left (below) are my foraged seeds, the ones on the right are from my spice cabinet. In a taste test the garden seeds tasted fresher and more delicate than the store bought. They are amazing in this rice, when you bite down on one of the tiny seeds you get a burst of flavor.
In a heavy bottomed saucepan, heat 2 Tbsp of vegetable oil, and add the mustard seeds and coriander seeds. Cook them, swirling in the oil, until they start to pop and become fragrant. Don't let them burn, just toast. Stir in the turmeric. Then add in the rice. Stir the rice until it is completely coated with all the spices, and let it toast for a minute, on a moderate heat. Add in the water and the the saffron threads, crushing them as you scatter them in, salt and pepper. When the water boils, lower the heat, cover, and simmer for about 12 minutes, until the water is absorbed. Take the rice off the heat, add in the nuts and raisins on top of the rice, but don't stir. Keep covered and let sit another 5 minutes. Fluff the rice, add more salt and pepper if necessary, and serve hot.
This recipe gives a big payoff in return for a relatively simple process and easy to find ingredients. I highly recommend it.