Fragrant Lime Basmati Rice

It's kind of a mini-tradition in the O'Connor Clarke household to use up the leftover Christmas turkey in a major curry-fest.

Turkey curry is one of my all-time favourite dishes. I roast and grind my own spices to make a balti masala paste, and will happily spend hours in the kitchen chopping, stirring, and generally pottering about over my curry. All sounds a bit pretentious, I know, but I promise it's all worth it.

There isn't really a recipe for my curry, although I might try to write it down this Christmas - if I remember to. Thinking about it earlier today, though, I remembered the extra special rice recipe I invented earlier this year, and thought it might be worth posting here.

My parents were over for a couple of weeks around Halloween, and we served some Arctic Char with this rice accompaniment. It was such a hit, I just might have to knock it together again for this year's curry.

Here's what you do:

Get up in the morning, wash your paws, and then start the process of filling your house with maddeningly wonderlicious aromas for a whole day.

Seriously – start this reasonably early in the day so the milk base for your rice dish has hours to steep.

Peel a large onion and shove about four cloves into it.

Pop it into a pot with a couple of inches of milk, a cinnamon stick, a sprinkling of turmeric, five or six black peppercorns, a pinch of saffron strands, and about a half dozen dried kaffir lime leaves.

(The lime leaves are the most important thing here. They can be hard to track down - if you're in Toronto, you can generally find them either in Chinatown or in one of the terrific Indian grocery stores along Gerrard St. East. Wherever you are, you should be able to find them if you ask in your local Asian food market. Once you've cooked with kaffir lime leaves, the challenge is to resist the temptation to add them to everything you're cooking.)

Bring the mixture to a rolling boil, switch it off immediately, whack a lid on and leave it alone.

When you’re ready to do the rice, remove the cinnamon, peppercorns, onion/cloves, and lime leaves from the milk. Chuck 'em.

Take some really good basmati rice. Don't rinse it or mess around with it. Trust me. Measure about a handful and a bit per person in a good, heavy-bottomed pot with a tight-fitting lid, then pour the milk mixture in on top.

You need just enough liquid to cover the rice by about half an inch (stick a clean thumb into it - the depth of the liquid above the surface of the rice should just cover your thumbnail). If the infused milk isn't quite enough fluid, add some water and give the whole thing a good swill around.

Bring the rice to a boil over high heat, stir it around well with a fork, then switch the heat off, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid, and LEAVE IT ALONE. Don't move the pot off the ring. Don't be tempted to lift the lid. Just let it sit there until you're ready. Within about 12-15 minutes you'll have perfect rice.

Just before serving, splash in a glug or so of really good olive oil and fork the rice over.