Stephen McLaughlin's pilaff recipe

This warm, aromatic dish pairs beautifully with Krug's Grand Cuvée 169ème Edition

Serves 6

Preparation time 5 minutes

Cooking time 25 minutes

Who says champagne has to be the reserve of caviar and oysters? The versatile Krug bottles pair perfectly with a host of dishes, and this one allows for the beguiling marriage of liquid gold and an whole host of warming spices. 

The partnership between food and drink works on aroma and taste. The aroma as the lid comes off the pan of this dish will entice the rest of the household to huddle around the stove. The warm spices of the rice marry beautifully with Grande Cuvée – particularly in the choice of fennel seed, cinnamon, and the cloves.

The Krug brings out the nuttiness and earthiness of the lentils and, while the dish is delicious on its own, it also plays as a great support to a main dish - a piece of tandoori fish, or spiced aubergine would just build on the harmony.


  • 200g basmati rice
  • 3 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1.5 tbsp coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp cracked fennel seeds
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • A good pinch of saffron
  • 4 cloves
  • ¼ tsp allspice
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • Half teaspoon of fine sugar
  • ½ tsp of fine sea salt
  • 250g cooked puy lentils
  • 350ml cold water


  1. Heat the oil in a medium-sized, heavy -based pan that has a tight-fitting lid.
  2. Add the cumin, coriander and fennel seeds and toast evenly until they release their distinctive aromas (1-2 minutes).
  3. Add the rice to the pan, along with the remaining spices, sugar and salt.
  4. Stir to coat the rice with the oil and spices and add the lentils in a single layer.
  5. Add the water and bring gently to a simmer, then cover the pan with it's lid, and reduce the heat to very low and cook for 15 minutes.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat, and lift the lid. Quickly cover the pan with a clean tea towel and replace the lid, and allow to stand for 10 minutes.
  7. Remove the lid and tea towel and gently fork to fluff the rice. Turn into a warmed serving dish and serve.

If eating the rice on its own why not try and add some fried onions and a little strained yogurt and a flat bread.