Serves 4 as a side dish or 2 to 3 as a main course
This vegetarian rice dish is delicious and full of flavour. It makes a great meal on its own but it also works well as part of a varied Indian meal. The method of cooking the rice ensures the grains are separate and “dry” and you’ll get lots of “oohs” and “aahs” from your guests when they try it!
The recipe looks far more complicated than it actually is. In fact it’s simple and quick to make and can be prepared ahead of time, stored in the fridge until needed, and reheated in a microwave.
For the spice mix…
1 ½ tsp ground cumin
1 ½ tsp ground coriander
A pinch of cayenne
1 tsp ground black pepper
15 to 20 green cardamom pods, crushed
1 tsp garam masala
Mix all of the ingredients together. (I told you this recipe is simple.)
For the rice…
1 portion of spice mix (as above)
Long grain white rice measured to the 375ml level in a measuring jug
1 tsp salt
Heat the butter until foaming in a large thick-based oven-proof saucepan. Add the spice mix and stir-fry for 20 seconds. Add the rice and gently toast, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add the water and salt, stir to mix evenly and bring to a simmer. Cover and bake in a warm oven (150°c) for 20 minutes. After this time give the rice a stir and add a splash of water if it looks too dry. But don’t add too much liquid; the finished dish is meant to be fairly dry. Cover the pan and return the rice to the oven for another 10 minutes or so to finish cooking.
For the vegetables…
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
2 celery sticks, trimmed and finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
While the rice is in the oven, heat the oil in a frying pan and sauté the onions for a few minutes until starting to soften and colour. Add the carrot and celery, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until the vegetables are cooked, approx. 15 minutes. Give the mixture a stir from time to time while it is cooking.
For the finished dish…
100g cashew nuts, lightly toasted in a dry frying pan
Mix together the cooked rice and vegetables, taste and adjust the seasoning if needs be. At this stage the mixture can be cooled and stored in a fridge until needed. To reheat, loosely cover with cling film and heat in a microwave for 5 minutes.
Just before serving, stir in the cashew nuts.