Heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat.
Add bay leaf, cardamom, star anise and cinnamon stick. Let it heat until aroma of spices is released.
Stir in the onion and saute until translucent and aromatic but not browned. Now add chopped carrot and saute for another 2 – 3 minutes or until you smell the aroma of nuts.
Add the rice and sauté the rice for a few minutes until it is translucent around the edges.
Add the saffron and its water, the stock, raisins, peas, salt, turmeric and chilli powder. Increase the heat and bring to a boil.
Bring the dish to a simmer. Then turn the heat to medium, cook until all the water is been absorbed by the rice.
While the pilaf is cooking, toast the nuts until golden brown. Once done, set aside to cool.
Check the rice to see that all of the water has been absorbed and that the rice is cooked through and tender.
Once the rice is done, cover with a tight fitting lid and let the dish rest for at least 10 to 20 minutes.
To serve the dish, fluff the rice with fork and garnish with freshly chopped cilantro, toasted nuts and pomegranate seeds.
Serve Pilaf warm with chilled yoghurt and salad.