Vegetable Pilau Rice

This is a great dish on it’s own or with a curry.  Students often come to me saying they don’t know how to cook rice. When using Basmati rice it couldn’t be simpler – 1 part rice to 2 parts water. Bring it to the boil, reduce the heat and put the lid on and it will be cooked when all the water is absorbed.  It works every time.  For more details and different options for rice check out my post dedicated to The Mystery of Rice!

You can also use brown rice with this dish.  I would recommend cooking the brown rice separately and in the recipe skip steps 8 to 10.  Make sure the vegetables are cooked and then simply stir through the cooked brown rice and serve.

Feel free to use any vegetables you like with this recipe. My favourite combination is peas, sweetcorn and green beans but the options are endless and its great to be able to switch things up to keep it interesting.  Leafy vegetables also work but here is a great tip. Add them on top, towards the end of the cooking, so they steam through but don’t go soggy and get overcooked.  When you overcook vegetables they lose their nutritional value and we want to keep these dishes as mineral and vitamin rich as possible.

As always with fresh chillies it depends who much heat you can handle!  My family likes things spicy, so for 4 people I would use 3 to 4 Thai green chillies but it is totally up to you.  I have a blog post on chillies but generally I prefer to use green chillies as they have more health benefits. Green chillies are richer in beta carotenes, antioxidants and endorphins while research into red chillies has linked them as a cause of peptic ulcers.

This is a really flavourful dish ideal for vegans (use coconut oil) and vegetarians – gluten and dairy free too! Enjoy x

Ingredients (serves 4)

1 cup Basmati Rice, washed

1.5 cups water 

1 vegetable stock cube

1 Onion, roughly chopped

1 inch piece of ginger

3/4 garlic cloves

1 Tomato chopped

1 -2 teaspoons Grass Fed Ghee (or coconut oil for vegans)

1 Teaspoon Cumin seeds

Fresh Green Chilli to taste, chopped finely

½ Cup Frozen peas

½ Cup Frozen sweetcorn

½ Green beans, finely chopped

Handful of fresh spinach (you can use any vegetables you like)

1 Teaspoon turmeric

1 tablespoon Cumin/Coriander powder

Handful fresh coriander

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Wash the rice and let soak for at least 30 mins to an hour if you can – this isn’t an essential step but will help the rice be extra fluffy
  2. Blend together the tomatoes, onion, ginger and garlic
  3. Gently heat the ghee and add the cumin seeds
  4. Once the cumin seeds change colour, add chillies if using and cook for a few mins but do not burn
  5. Add the blended tomato mixture and stir
  6. Add all the vegetables, spices and cook for a minute or so
  7. Season to taste
  8. Add the rice and stir through
  9. Add the water, one vegetable stock cube and bring to the boil
  10. Once bubbling, turn the heat to low, put the lid on and cook until all the water has been absorbed
  11. About 5 minutes before the rice is cooked add the spinach and let it wilt on top
  12. Garnish with coriander and serve

Creating Balance with food: Cooling Raita

Where there is heat there should always be something cooling.  The Chinese believe in Yin and Yang and in Ayurveda we believe in the same principle.  So we always try to serve cooling dishes to accompany flavourful dishes that use different spices.  Some of the spices we use also have anti-inflammatory properties and you can find information on that in my post the benefits of spices.

This raita is incredibly simple.  Using Yogurt and Cucumber, it combines two incredibly cooling ingredients.  I like to use mini-cucumbers which you can get in out supermarkets as they are sweeter and less watery.  Try not to substitute for the fresh coriander for dried – the taste won’t be the same.

This recipe is vegetarian and gluten free.

Ingredients

200g Plain or Greek-Style yogurt

1/2 Teaspoon Cumin Powder

Pinch of salt to taste

Handful of Fresh Coriander

 

Method

Mix all the ingredients together and stir well.  Garnish with a few pieces of fresh coriander to serve.

You can use this as a dip with crudités or to accompany any of the Healthy Indian recipes on my blog.