1Cook rice following the absorption method on the packet (for a quick microwave method, see tip below). Rinse under cold water then drain well. Spread the cool rice out onto a baking tray. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour, if time permits.
2Heat 1½ tablespoons oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and green onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Add the figs, orange rind and 2 tablespoons orange juice. Cook for 1 minute.
3Reduce heat to medium. Add the rice, chicken and cashews. Cook, tossing gently, for 3–4 minutes or until heated through.
4Whisk together remaining 1½ tablespoons oil, 1/3 cup orange juice, parsley and salt and pepper until well combined. Pour the dressing over the pilaf and stir to combine. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Tip Dried dessert figs have a soft moist texture. You’ll find them in the baking aisle with other dried fruit. If unavailable, place dried figs in a heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water and stand for 5 minutes to soften slightly. Microwave
Tip: Place a sheet of baking paper on the microwave turntable to catch spills. Pour water over rinsed rice until it sits 2.5cm to 3cm above the level of rice. Cover with two layers of plastic wrap or a lid. Microwave on High (100%) for 5 minutes, then on Medium (50%) for 7 minutes. Stand for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and stir with a fork.