Vegetable Biryani with Chapatis (v)

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I’ve been craving this for a while now, but have been reluctant to make it as I never end up with perfect rice. Determined to succeed this time, I dug deep into google and came up with two recipes that looked promising. I liked the idea of soaking the rice from this Instant Pot recipe but not the soggy veggies you usually get from pressure cooking. I also liked the idea of roasting the vegetables and cashews first to char them a little in this BBC recipe. So I combined the two and the end result was very pleasing. Woohoo.

For 4-6 portions you need

Biryani

  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into small dice
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into small dice
  • 3-4 broccoli florets, cut into small pieces
  • 8 sprouts, peeled and cut in half
  • Handful cashews (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2″ piece of ginger, grated
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp each:
    • garam masala
    • ground cardamom
    • ground allspice
    • ground cumin
    • ground coriander
    • ground turmeric
    • chilli flakes
  • 1 cup basmati rice, rinsed until the water runs clear then soaked in 2 cups of water for 20 mins
  • 1.5 cups water

Chapatis

Makes 4 small chapatis

  • 70g wholemeal flour
  • 70g plain flour
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 90ml (or thereabouts) of warm water
  1. Begin by placing the vegetables, cashews, seasoning and oil into a large oven proof pan and roasting on 180 degrees for about 20 mins. Stir a few times but you want to let the cashews, broccoli and sprouts begin to char a little.
  2. Meanwhile, prep the rice and leave to one side.
  3. Heat the remaining oil in a pan and add the dry spices. Cook for 15-20 secs then add the onions. Sautee for 5 mins until softened. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for a further 2-3 mins.
  4. Add everything to the ovenproof pan and mix well. Cover with foil or a close fitting lid and cook for a further 20-30 mins. Once the rice is done, remove from the oven and allow to steam gently whilst you cook the chapatis.
  5. Combine all the chapati ingredients and knead into a smooth dough (about 7 mins). Be careful not to add too much water!
  6. Divide into 4 balls and roll each out on a floured surface
  7. Heat a pan until smoking hot, add a little oil and fry each chapati until cooked. You can tell when your pan is hot enough as the chapati will puff up like this when it hits the pan. Make sure you have your windows open as it will smoke a lot! We served ours with some dhal from the freezer. Delicious.

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Biriyani? Kichari? Kedgeree? Rice, Lentils and Vegetables! (v)

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I’m not sure what to call this. Is it a biriyani? A kedgeree? It’s rice and lentils and vegetables cooked in a spicy Indian base at any rate. And it’s utterly delicious, both hot straight from the pan and cold the next day for an easy work lunch. Add a hardboiled egg if you want to boost the protein and you aren’t vegan. Or leave it as is. You can choose what spices and veggies to use, the golden rule to follow is the rice + lentils to water ratio to ensure it all cooks properly without sticking or going gloopy. I served ours with minted almond yogurt and some lip puckeringly sour lime pickle 😀

For 3-4 portions you need

  • 225g rice – I use easy cook white as we still have 6kgs left from an over zealous Costco trip…
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 50g red lentils
  • 2 red chillies, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 6-8 cardamom pods
  • 5 peppercorns
  • 4 cloves
  • 1/2 stick cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2″ piece of fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 cauliflower broken into florets
  • 1/2 pack fresh spinach
  • 650ml stock
  • handful cashew nuts, toasted in 1 tbsp oil
  • fresh coriander to garnish
  • 1 tsp mint sauce
  • 4 tbsp almond yogurt (or any yogurt)
  • lime pickle
  1. Begin by crushing the dry spices, apart from the turmeric and cinnamon, in a pestle and mortar until roughly ground.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan and toast the spices until they sizzle and start to release their aromas. Add the turmeric.
  3. Add the onions, garlic, ginger, carrots and chillies. Saute, covered, for 3-4 mins until softened.
  4. Add the rice and lentils to the pan and cook for 1-2 mins over a moderate heat until they are toasted.
  5. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Stir well and cover, reducing the heat to low. Cook for 10 mins.
  6. Add the cauliflower to the pan, mixing well. You might need to add a little more water at this stage if things are looking dry. Cook for a further 5 mins until the rice and lentils are pretty much done.
  7. Once the rice, lentils and vegetables are nearly done, turn off the heat and stir through the fresh spinach leaves. Cover and leave to sit for 3-4 mins until the rice is fluffy, the spinach is wilted and everything else is cooked to perfection.
  8. Mix the mint sauce into the yogurt, toast the cashews until golden brown and serve.

 

Vegetable Paella with Spicy Tomato Sauce (v)

I’m not sure this is authentically paella because it uses easy cook short grain rice. But it’s easy and quick to make and is the first recipe/rice combo I have found that actually works without producing a claggy sticky mess or under cooked rice. It’s also vegan and a brilliant way to boost your veg intake. It’s based on a Rose Elliott recipe for Red Beans with Brown Rice and Vegetables in her fabulous New Complete Vegetarian Cookbook (p246).

For 4 portions you need
Paella
2 onions, chopped
4 tbsp olive oil
350g easy cook short grain rice
1 tsp tumeric
850ml veg stock
salt and pepper
A mix of vegetables e.g. we used 1 large carrot, diced, 2 sticks celery, sliced, and a pack of stir fry tenderstem broccoli, baby sweet corn, mange tout and pak choi.
1 can drained kidney beans

Spicy Tomato Sauce
1 can tomatoes
1 clove garlic
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
1 tsp dried chilli flakes

Start by sauteeing the onion, carrots and celery in the oil, covered. I like to use a large lidded non stick frying pan for this recipe.

After about 10 mins add the rice and garlic and stir well. Add the stock and beans and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid and leave to simmer for 10 mins. Stir then add the broccoli and corn and cover again for a further 5 mins. Check the rice is done and if it is, add the remaining veg and take off the heat and leave covered to steam for a final 5 mins.

For the sauce put everything in a pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 mins. Puree in the pan with a stick blender and leave to one side.

Serve the finished rice with the tomato sauce. Leftovers are delicious cold or used as a stuffing for peppers etc.

Singapore Rice

Rice cos we’d run out of noodles, d’oh but actually it worked really well. We had this hot for tea and then I took it to work the following day and had it cold. Both were equally yummy. A good dish to use up the veg lurking in the bottom of your fridge.

For 4-6 portions you need
1 cup rice
1 onion, chopped
4-6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 inch ginger, grated
Assorted veggies – we used diced carrots, shredded savoy cabbage, a head of broccoli
2 red chillies, sliced
2 tbsp light soya sauce
1 tsp each ground cumin, coriander, tumeric, curry powder
100ml veg stock
4 eggs
Soya sauce, chopped fresh coriander and fiery encona chilli sauce to serve

Begin by cooking the rice and then draining and rinsing with cold water.

Meanwhile, scramble the eggs in a wok until lightly done and scrape out onto a plate.

Re-heat the wok and fry the onion, ginger and garlic for a few mins. Add the chilli and whatever vegetables you are going to use. Fry for 1-2 mins then cover with the stock and a lid to allow them to steam to al dente. Add the spices and return the rice and eggs to the wok. Cook through thoroughly and serve garnished with the soya sauce, coriander and enough chilli sauce to make your eyes water.

Broccoli with Rice Noodles (v)

It’s the start of a new term and I am on a new regime again. To blog again, now the horror of being really ill is behind me, and to revive my go-to recipes again and cook more interesting things with vegetables. The River Cottage Veg Everyday book gave me inspiration for broccoli.

For 2-3 people you need
One large head broccoli
Handful rice noodles
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tsp soya sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp sesame oil
freshly ground pepper
3 spring onions, finely sliced
2 tbsp sesame seeds

Cook the broccoli and noodles in boiling water for about 5 mins. Drain and leave to steam for a few minutes to get rid of any excess water.

Gently toast the sesame seeds until lightly golden.

Place everything in a large bowl and toss to mix. Scoff.

Rice and Peas (v)

This is proper Indian kichiri, with none of the Anglo-Indian trimmings. Just rice and peas and spices. It’s a fab side dish to any curry and the pulses in boost the protein content making it a good whole meal in itself.

For 6 portions you need
1/2 cup moong dhal, rinsed clean and soaked in cold water for 4 hours
2 cups basmati rice, rinsed clean and soaked for an hour in cold water
3 tbsp butter or oil
2 indian bay leaves
2 cloves
1 tsp whole coriander
1 tsp whole cumin
3 cardamon pods, crushed to release the seeds
1″ piece of cinnamon bark
1 medium onion, finely sliced
1 tsp salt

Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the spices for 2-3 mins until the aromas are released. Add the onion and cook over a medium heat for about 5 minutes until browned and crispy. Add the drained rice and peas and stir fry to coat in the oil and spices.

Add 2 and 2/3 cups of water and bring to the boil. Cover with a tightly fitting lid and reduce the heat to very low. Cook for 20-25 mins until the rice is light and fluffy and the peas are cooked.

Thai Yellow Curry (v)

This was a very quick, throw it all together a la Jamie, creation earlier in the week where I *really* didn’t feel like cooking at all. It also made the most of the delicious Gourmet Garden, Fresh Made Easy herbs and spices I am trying out for a blogging competition. Double win.

For one hungry person you need
1 small can coconut cream and same quantity of water (fill the can to measure and rinse it out)
Handful sugar snap peas
2 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
3-4 mushrooms, thickly sliced
Handful spinach
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 tsp each of gourmet garden crushed ginger; crushed chilli; crushed Thai spices; crushed garlic and chopped coriander
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp vegetable oil
Rice to serve

Begin by heating the oil in a pan and sauteeing the onion for a few minutes. Add the Gourmet Garden ginger, garlic, chilli and Thai spices and the turmeric powder and fry for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add the carrots, coconut cream and water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 3-4 mins then add everything else and cook for a further 1-2 mins. Serve steaming hot over rice and enjoy the taste of paradise on an otherwise bleak, wet and cold British December evening.

Laab (v)

If you are veggie/vegan then substitute the fish sauce for mushroom soya sauce and some rice vinegar. Do not stint on the chillies. You need this to make your mouth dance and burn from the heat. Make sure you serve it with some plain jasmine rice to cool your mouth tho!

For 2-3 portions you need:
1 red onion, finely sliced
1 shallot, finely diced
1 cup fresh coriander, roughly chopped
3 tbsp fish sauce (yes really) or 2 tbsp mushroom soya sauce and 1 tbsp rice vinegar
juice of 2 limes
1/2 cup fresh mint, roughly chopped
2 tsp hot chilli powder
2 thai chillies, finely sliced
1 tbsp toasted rice (buy ground rice and toast till golden brown)
1/2 pack marinated tofu

Place everything apart from the tofu in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Heat the tofu through until hot and add to the bowl. Mix thoroughly. Serve with jasmine rice to temper the heat from the delicious sauce.

Rice and Lentils (v)

I admit this doesn’t sound or indeed look very appetising, but it is yummy. Honest. It’s also quick and easy to do and is nice hot or cold. You can serve it with a cold Indian style salad or lime pickle and mago chutney or maybe a creamy curry sauce. We had it with roasted sweet potatoes and carrots and curry sauce. The choice is yours…

For 4-6 portions you need:
1 cup basmati rice
1.5 cups red lentils
2 onions, finely diced
6 tbsp oil (don’t stint on this, you need it all!)
3 cups water
crispy fried onions, to serve

Fry the onions in the oil over a gentle heat for about 20 mins until golden and crisp. Wash the rice and lentils thoroughly. Add to the pan along with the water. Bring to the boil and then cover and simmer very gently until the rice and lentils are cooked, about 20 mins. Fluff up with a fork and serve topped with more crispy onions.