Heat olive oil in sauce pan. Add onion and fry over fairly high heat, stirring until golden brown, but not burned.
Add 1 cup of Basmati rice and continue stirring constantly over high heat until all the rice is hot and has been coated with oil, about 3 minutes.
Add hot water until the rice is covered about ½ inch. Be careful, because the rice will be hot and when you add water the steam may burn your hands.
Add 3 or 4 cardamom seeds and a scant teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil and then cover and turn down the heat until it is just simmering.
Leave until the rice is done. It doesn’t take long for the rice to cook so I’d check it in about 10 minutes to see if it is done. You can check by eating a piece of rice to see if it is soft. If it isn’t and the rice seems too dry, add just a tiny bit of water to let it finish cooking. If the rice is done, turn off the heat and cover the pot and let it sit until you are ready to serve it. This will help the rice fluff up.
Aunt Joan's/Abdo's recipe, verbatim