20 April 2009

Roasted Curried Chickpeas with Pilau and Sautéed Vegetables

I think I'm going to be full for days after this dinner, and I didn't even eat all of it. (There's a lot of food in that bowl. There's a lot more in the fridge. I'm usually pretty good about not cooking more than one day worth of leftovers, but forgot to cut down the pilau recipe.) When I was planning what to cook for the week, I had some vague idea about making ginger pork, stir-fried vegetables and some rice noodles I've got in the cupboard, but I kept wibbling about it and going back and forth between that idea and the idea of making Kickpleat's Brown Rice Bowl with Vegetables and Roasted Chickpeas, which she'd posted a while back at Everybody Likes Sandwiches. Then the brand of chickpeas I like - Eden Organics - went on sale at my work, so decision made.

I started out more or less following her recipes, the chickpeas are pretty much exactly the same, as are the sautéed vegetables, though I used what was in my fridge - carrots, zucchini, mushroom, onion and snap peas. Then I suddenly found myself making pilau rather than the plain rice I'd meant to make. (I've got bags of rice languishing in my cupboards because I always seem to fall back on my very favourite: basmati. White basmati, brown basmati, doesn't matter. I love it so much more than any of my brown rice blends or wild rice blends or plain white or plain brown rice.)

The pilau is a version of the pilau recipe you can find at videojug. I vary my method depending what I want to eat it with and depending what I've got, but this is one of my favourite ways to eat it. (I should have skipped the turmeric though. I think I've had that turmeric since I lived in BC - moved away in 2002 - and it doesn't make for very yellow food any more.) Here's what I did today:

1 cup basmati rice, rinsed
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 handful cashews
1 cinnamon stick
4 cloves
2 cardamom pods
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 small onion, diced
1 tsp turmeric
2 cups water
1 handful green peas

First, heat the oil in a pan. Add the cashews and all the spices except the turmeric. Cook until the cashews start to brown and the spices become fragrant, just a couple minutes. Add the onion and continue cooking, stirring to coat with the spices. After 2-3 minutes, stir in the turmeric and some salt. Now add the rice, stirring to coat, then pour in the water. Bring to the boil, cover, reduce the heat and let cook for about 15 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked. Stir in the peas at the end. (Or you could probably add them with the rice, if they're frozen, but I wonder if they'd get mushy.)

I could eat nothing but this rice, never mind the rest of the food, for days. Every bite is delicious and satisfying and good. I don't very often make this with cashews because what they do is make me want to stuff myself full of cashew-laden rice and never eat another food again.

Despite my deep and abiding love of rice with cashews, I really enjoyed the rest of the meal as well. The vegetables were perfect, even though they didn't quite belong with the other two thirds of the meal. (I mean, it was a 2/3 Indian-inspired meal. The vegetables sort of broke rank, but that's okay.) In the summer I like to make mushrooms and zucchini with herbs like this to eat with barbecued anything, but I think I liked them even better with ginger and garlic.

I could take or leave the chickpeas - I think I was wishing for something more soft and saucy by the time I sat down to eat - but they are delicious, especially mixed with a bit of rice. What I didn't finish of my dinner was mostly chickpeas though because the rice and the vegetables were both so good I couldn't leave room in my stomach for anything else.

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