Curried rice salad with raisins and toasted almonds

Serves 4 to 6

3 – 4 tbsp olive oil or other vegetable oil
1 cup uncooked short grain brown rice
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 3/4 cups water or chicken broth
2 tbsp dried raisins or currants
1 – 2 tsps curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 bay leaf
1 small (about 1/4 x 1 inch) cinnamon bark
1 whole clove
1/3 cup slivered, blanched almonds
1 cup chopped tart green apple (I use a Granny Smith)
3/4 cup trimmed and thinly sliced scallions
3/4 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup chopped red or green bell pepper
2 – 3 tbsp lime or lemon juice
freshly ground black pepper
fresh cilantro, chopped (a bunch)

Heat 2 tbsps of the oil and the sesame oil over a low heat in a heavy saucepan.
Stir in the rice, turmeric, curry powder, 1/2 tsp salt, bay leaf, cinnamon stick and clove and saute, stirring constantly for 1 minute or until it is all coated with the oil and spices.
Add the water/broth and currants.
Heat to boiling over high heat stirring once.
Cover and cook over medium-low heat until all the water is absorbed, about 45 minutes, then let sit off the element for about 10 minutes or until rice is cooked. Remove the lid and let it stand to the side until cool.
Remove and discard the bay leaf, cinnamon stick and clove from the rice.
Heat the oven to 350F. Spread the almonds in a small baking pan and place in the oven for 5 mins or until lightly toasted. Set aside to cool.
When the rice mixture is cooled to room temperature, empty it into a serving bowl and stir in the toasted almonds, chopped cilantro, apples, celery, scallion, chopped red or green pepper and lime/lemon juice.
Add 2 more tbsp of olive oil if you think it needs it and adjust the seasoning. Chill in the fridge for 2 -3 hours before serving.

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