Add rice and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes until small craters appear in the surface of the rice. Remove from heat and stand covered for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the oil and butter in a large deep-frying pan over medium-low heat. Add onions, stir to coat. Press a piece baking paper onto the surface of the onions, cook, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes until soft.
Discard the paper, add the sugar, increase the heat to medium, cook for 15 minutes, stirring often until light golden.
Stir in the combined spices, and season well. Add the rice then pine nuts, stir until warmed through. Scatter over the parsley if using and serve.