The Koran mentions the pomegranate as one of the fruits found in paradise, and medical research suggests it may help those wanting to extend their stay in this world. Rich in antioxidants, the pomegranate is promoted in the West as a defence against prostate cancer, heart disease and other illnesses.
We had a few pomegranate trees in our gardens in Sri Lanka, and whenever someone had a bruise, my aunties would quickly blanch the leaves to soften them, and then apply a bandage filled with the leaves to the bruise.
Quite apart from any medicinal benefits, pomegranates are great to eat, and are a stunning addition to this lovely dish.
Soak the rice in a bowl of water for 2 hours.
Heat the coconut oil in a heavy-based saucepan over medium–high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, for about 3 minutes, or until softened and golden brown.
Add the rice, cumin seeds, cardamom and turmeric and stir to coat all the rice.
Stir in the pomegranate juice and coconut water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook, partially covered, for 15–18 minutes, or until the liquid has been absorbed.
Remove from the heat, cover the pan and leave to stand for 5 minutes.
Fluff the rice grains with a fork, then fold in the spring onion and aleppo pepper. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with the pomegranate seeds and serve.
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