Chefs Saqib Keval and Norma Listman of Masala y Maíz in Mexico City marry aspects of Desi and Mexican cuisine in this colorful dish, a hybrid of biryani and toasted, pilaf-style rice, cooked in coconut milk with mint, almonds, and golden raisins.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add raisins, and fry until raisins swell, about 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer raisins to paper towels to drain. Add almonds to skillet; fry 1 minute. Using slotted spoon, transfer almonds to paper towels to drain. If using curry leaves, add to skillet, and fry 1 minute. Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels. Reserve 1/4 cup oil from skillet; discard remaining oil.
eat reserved 1/4 cup oil in a large Dutch oven over high. Add rice, onion, and garlic; cook, stirring often, until rice is light golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in raisins, almonds, coconut milk, and salt. Cook, without stirring, until coconut milk is absorbed into rice and liquid is level with rice, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir and reduce heat to low. (Some of the rice will stick to bottom of Dutch oven; this is OK.) Simmer, uncovered, until rice is completely tender, with toasted bits of rice on bottom, about 30 minutes. Scrape up any toasted rice from bottom of Dutch oven, and stir to combine with cooked rice.
Spoon rice onto a serving platter; sprinkle with chopped mint and, if using, fried curry leaves