Think of this as an Indian version of Nasi Goreng and immediately you can see how much flexibility it gives you. Served tossed with prawns, chicken, pork, paneer or tofu it is a delicious meal all by itself. It also pairs well with milder sauces – pictured below it has been served with Prawns in a Spicy Tomato Sauce.
The list of ingredients looks daunting, but it takes minutes to prepare and can be on the table within 20 minutes.
RECIPE – feeds 2 generously
2 tbsp groundnut oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 cardamom pods, seeds only
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 whole star anise
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
a knob of ginger, trimmed but not peeled, finely chopped
2 tsp garam masala
140g basmati rice
1 bay leaf
small bunch of coriander, finely chopped
2 red chillies, finely chopped
1 tbsp mango chutney
1 tbsp lemon juice
Prepare your ingredients: bash the cardamom pods in a mortar and pestle to release the seeds, discard the husk. Use as much ginger as you like, but at least a thumb-sized knob; there is much flavour in the skin so trim off any rough, woody and grey bits but don’t peel it. If you like chilli heat then leave the seeds in the chillies, if not then scrape them out before chopping.
In a large saucepan that has a lid, fry the onion, garlic, cardamom seeds, cinnamon stick, fennel seeds, star anise, fenugreek seeds, cloves and ginger in the oil with 1 tsp of garam masala. Cook over a medium heat until the onion is a deep golden brown, stirring regularly. This will take approximately 5 minutes.
Add the basmati rice and stir well until the rice is thoroughly coated. Add 250ml water, the bay leaf and the other teaspoon of garam masala. Add a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Now put the lid on the pan, turn down to the lowest heat and leave for approximately 15 minutes until the rice is cooked and the liquid has all been taken up.
Remove the cinnamon stick, star anise, cloves and bay leaf.
Add the chopped coriander, chillies, mango chutney and lemon juice. Stir thoroughly, check the seasoning and serve.
If serving tossed with any of prawns, chicken, pork, paneer or tofu, cook those separately and toss through the rice just before serving and serve with your salad of choice.