Pilaf of Asparagus, Broad Beans & Mint

This Nigel Slater adapted recipe is perfect when you want something light and fragrant but which still comforts the soul. Think having a bowl on an ever so slightly chilly summer evening. 


  • 2 handfuls of broadbeans, peeled
  • 12 thin asparagus spears
  • 120g basmati rice
  • 50g butter
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 6 cardamom pods, seeds crushed
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 pinch cumin seeds
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 4 spring onions
  • 4 sprigs parsley


1.Start by cooking the broadbeans in lightly salted boiling water for four minutes before draining and leaving aside. Cut the woody ends off asparagus and boil for 3 minutes.
Wash rice in cold water, cover with warm water and set aside for an hour.

2.Melt butter in a saucepan, add bay leaves, cardamom seeds, peppercorns, cinnamon stick, cloves, cumin seeds and sprigs of thyme. Stir them in butter for two minutes.

3.Drain the rice and tip it into warmed spices. Cover with 1 centimetre of water and bring to the boil. Season and cover the rice, turning down the heat to a simmer.

4.Finely slice the spring onions, chop parsley and after 5 minutes, remove lid and gently fold in asparagus, broad beans, spring onions and parsley. 

5.Replace the lid and continue cooking for another 5-6 minutes until the rice is tender but has some bite. 
When all the water has been absorbed, turn the heat off and add butter. Serve hot.