Growing up in the South Indian state of Kerala, Asha Gomez didn’t formally learn to cook—she absorbed lessons by spending time in the kitchen with the women in her family. She loved how her mother always found subtle ways to make rice special. “Three hundred and sixty-five days a year,” says Gomez, “it was something different: tamarind rice, tomato rice, lemon rice.” Chicken rice pilaf was a favorite in the rotation, and now Gomez serves it at her Atlanta restaurant Spice to Table. She describes it as a simpler take on an iconic dish: “In the north, south, east and west of India, everyone makes biryani,” she says. “But it’s tedious and time-consuming. Cooking all the ingredients together and paring down the spices are quick ways around this.”
Get Asha Gomez’s best-ever rice pilaf recipe here.