Notes: At least 3 hours or up to 2 days ahead, in a 3- to 4-quart pan, combine 2 1/2 cups rinsed and drained basmati or long-grain white rice and 4 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until most of the water is absorbed, 6 to 8 minutes. Cover and cook over low heat until rice is tender to bite, 8 to 10 minutes more. Pour rice onto a tray and let cool, then cover and chill until cold. To use, break grains apart with your fingers.
3 tablespoons salad oil
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 onion (about 3/4 lb.), peeled and finely chopped
3 or 4 fresh jalapeño chilies (1 1/2 to 2 oz. total), stemmed and chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
12 fresh curry leaves (optional)
9 cups cold cooked basmati or long-grain white rice (see notes)
1/4 cup frozen peas
About 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/3 cup unsalted or salted roasted cashews
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
How to Make It
Set a 5- to 6-quart pan or 14-inch wok over medium-high heat. Add oil, mustard seed, and cumin seed.
When the seeds begin to pop, in 2 to 3 minutes, stir in the onion, chilies, turmeric, and curry leaves. Stir often until the onion is limp, about 4 minutes.
Reduce heat to low. Add rice, peas, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and sugar. Stir until rice is evenly colored yellow. Sprinkle with lime juice and mix well. Cover and stir occasionally until rice is hot, 6 to 10 minutes. Add salt to taste. Transfer to a platter.
Sprinkle rice mixture with cashews and cilantro. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.