RICE AND COUSCOUS

(V) = vegetarian; (VV)=vegan.

 

 

See also CHICKEN WITH RICE AND LEEKS on the chicken page and MULLIGATAWNY on the meals-in-themselves soup page.

 

 

CHICKEN LIVER PULAO  (for 2)

200gr chicken livers

1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped

1-2 green chillis, deseeded and finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

1 in/2.5cm knob of ginger root, peeled and grated

2 cloves

2 cardamom pods

1 small stick cinnamon

3 fluid oz/100gr basmati rice, soaked for 15-20 minutes and drained

6 fluid oz/200 ml chicken stock

sunflower or peanut oil, lemon juice, salt, green coriander

Brown the onion gently in some oil. Add the chilli, garlic, ginger and spices and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the rice and stir well. Add the chicken stock and some salt and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook very gently until the rice is almost cooked (about 10 minutes). In the meantime, cut each chicken liver into 4-5 pieces, removing grisly and green bits. Brown on all sides in some oil in a small frying-pan, until all sign of pink has gone (chicken livers are a notorious harbour for salmonella). Stir the chicken livers with their oil into the rice and clamp the lid of the saucepan back on. Cook for a further 5 minutes at the gentlest possible heat (or put in an oven pre-heated to about 190° C/gas mark 5 for the same amount of time). Remove from the heat and leave for a further 5 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and some chopped green coriander and serve. 

 

CHICKEN BIRIYANI    (for 4)

This recipe was in an excellent cookery book for Indian brides I purchased in India in the early 1980s. The cookery book got thrown away by mistake during some building operations and the recipe below survives only because I had given a copy of it to my sister.

8 fluid oz/250ml basmati rice

2 onions, peeled and chopped

½ teaspoon turmeric

2 in/5 cm cinnamon stick

4 cloves

6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

2 in/5cm ginger root, peeled and grated

200-250ml yoghurt

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 tablespoons chopped green coriander

4 chicken legs (or 4 thighs and 4 drumsticks), skin removed

light cooking oil, salt

Soften the onion in some oil. Liquidise the garlic and half the ginger with a little water and add to the onion. Cook, stirring, until the water has evaporated (about 5 minutes). Add the cumin, cinnamon, cloves and turmeric, and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the chicken, and colour on all sides. Add some salt and a few tablespoons water, and simmer, covered, until the chicken is done (20-30 minutes).

Soak the rice for about 15 minutes and then cook gently in double its volume of water. Put half the rice in an oven-proof dish and spread the chicken mixture over it. Then sprinkle on top the chopped coriander and chilli, the rest of grated ginger, and the yoghurt.  Cover with the remaining rice and cook, covered, in a slow oven for 20 minutes. (Lost Indian cookery book.)

 

 

POULET À LA SHAHI  (for 6)

This dish is based on one that was developed by an Indian restaurant in Paris in the 1960s to introduce the French to Indian cuisine, so it has a very low chilli factor. Chilli powder can be added at the same time as the spices to heat it up.

6 chicken joints

400-500ml yoghurt

2 onions, peeled and sliced

2-3 in/5-7cm ginger root, peeled and grated

6-8 mint leaves, peeled and chopped

6 cloves

1 dessertspoon coriander seeds

1 dessertspoon cumin seeds

grated zest of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 good pinch cinnamon

1 green chilli, whole

4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

12 fluid oz/400ml basmati rice

light cooking oil, salt

Skin the chicken pieces and marinade them for at least an hour with the yoghurt and some salt. Soften the onion in some oil very gently, without letting it colour. Add the chicken, yoghurt, ¼ pint/150ml water and all the other ingredients except the rice. Cook very gently for about 30 minutes, covered, until the chicken is almost done. Meanwhile soak the rice in cold water for about 15 minutes and drain. Add to the chicken with about 10 fluid oz/380ml water and some more salt. Simmer until the rice is cooked and the water more or less absorbed (about 15-20 minutes).  (Old recipe from an Indian restaurant in Paris c. 1960.)

 

 

(VV) NAVRATAN PULAO  (for 4)

This is a version of a popular Indian vegetarian recipe. Navratan means “nine jewels” and traditionally this dish is made with nine different sorts of vegetable (nuts count as a vegetable for this purpose). The recipe below is less ambitious, but other vegetables such as carrots or green beans can be used in addition to those suggested. Many versions include unsalted cashew nuts, roughly chopped and added with the vegetables (but in that case omit the flaked almonds).

8 fluid oz/250ml basmati rice

300-400gr panir or ricotta

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

2 onions, peeled and sliced

2 green chillis, deseeded and finelt chopped

4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

2-3 cm fresh ginger root, peeled and grated

5 cardamom pods

1 small stick cinnamon

3 cloves

10 peppercorns

½ a cauliflower, broken into florets and boiled for 5 minutes

150gr shelled peas or frozen petits pois

100gr flaked almonds, toasted

salt, sunflower or peanut oil

Soak rice in cold water for about 15 minutes. Cook the onions in some oil until beginning to brown. Add the chillis, garlic, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, pepper-corns and turmeric. Cook stirring for a couple of minutes and add the drained rice. Stir in the cauliflower and peas, together with 16 fluid oz/500 ml water and some salt. Cook very gently, covered, until the rice is done. Meanwhile, cut the paneer or ricotta into cubes and fry in a little oil until browning. Drain on some kitchen paper. When the rice is ready, carefully mix in the cheese and serve sprinkled with the toasted almonds.

 

 

KEDGEREE  (for 2)

“Khichdi” is a very basic Indian dish of rice and lentils. Denizons of the Raj appear to have transformed it into a rice and fish dish. 

½ lb/200gr smoked haddock

2 tablespoons butter

4 fluid oz/150gr basmati rice

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

3 cloves

3 cardamom pods

½ teaspoon caraway seeds

1 small cinnamon stick

2 bay-leaves

1 pinch chilli powder or 1 deseeded and finely chopped fresh red chilli (optional).

Soak basmati rice in cold water for 15-20 minutes. Poach smoked haddock in barely simmering water (flavoured with a couple of bay-leaves) for 10 minutes. Drain the haddock (reserving the water), and flake, removing any bones and skin. Melt half the butter in a small saucepan and add the spices and the chilli (if using). Cook gently for 1 minute and stir in the drained rice. Cook for another minute and then add 8 fluid oz/400 ml of the haddock water. Cook very gently with the lid on until the rice has absorbed all the water and is cooked (about 10 minutes). Remove the bigger spices (which should have worked their way to the top). Mix in the flaked fish and the remaining butter (cut into pieces), adding salt to taste if necessary. Warm through until the butter has melted. 

 

SPANISH RICE WITH PRAWNS  (for 2)

 

4 fluid oz/120ml Spanish calasparra rice (or risotto rice)

1 onion, peeled and sliced

¾ lb/350gr shell-on frozen North Sea prawns, shelled

1-2 picante cooking chorizos, sliced into rounds

½ lb/250gr shelled peas (frozen will do)

2 tablespoons dry sherry (or dry vermouth)

2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

½ teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika

salt, pepper, olive oil, parsley or mint

 

Soften the onions with the chorizo in some olive oil until the onions are soft but not coloured. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so. Add the rice and stir it so that it is covered in oil. Add the sherry, paprika, some salt and enough water to cover the rice fairly generously. Cover the saucepan and cook gently until the rice is done (about 20-30 minutes), stirring occasionally and adding more water as necessary. Add the peas about half way through. At the end, stir in the prawns, some chopped parsley or mint and give it a good grind of pepper. Do not let the prawns cook or they will become hard; they should just be warmed through.

 

 

(VV) INDONESIAN RICE WITH TOFU   (for 2)

3-4 fluid oz/100gr long grain rice

1 egg

100-150gr tofu

1 red pepper

2-3 tablespoons unsalted cashews, toasted

2-4 spring onions, sliced

½ teaspoon curry powder

1 green chilli, deseeded and chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

soy sauce, sunflower or peanut oil, chopped green coriander

Grill the pepper until the skin is blackened, then peel off the skin and dice the flesh. Beat the egg and cook as an omelette in a little oil, then cut into small pieces. Cook the rice and drain. Cut tofu into 1 cm cubes and fry gently in some oil until golden, then put to drain on some kitchen paper.  Add the cashews, curry powder, spring onions, chilli, red pepper and garlic to the oil in which the tofu was cooked, and fry stirring for a minute or two. Mix in the rice, egg, tofu, 1-2 tbsp soy sauce and the chopped coriander; warm through and serve. Toasted peanuts an optional extra. 

 

 

(VV) VEGETARIAN COUSCOUS  (for 6-8)

2 onions, peeled and sliced

2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

1 teaspoon each ground ginger, ground cumin and ground coriander

big pinch each ground turmeric and ground cinnamon

2-3 small turnips, peeled and cut into chunks

1-2 aubergines, cut into chunks

3 carrots, peeled and roughly sliced

1-2 courgettes, sliced

half a cauliflower, cut into florets

200-250gr tin peeled Italian plum tomatoes

100gr cooked chick-peas (tinned are fine for this recipe)

500gr couscous

1 chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

harissa sauce

olive oil, salt, pepper, pinch/sprig of thyme, bay-leaf

Melt the onions and garlic in 2-3 tbsp olive oil. Add the aubergine, spices and herbs. Cook gently for a few minutes and then add the root vegetables and chick-peas. Cover with water and simmer covered for 20 minutes. Add the tomato, courgettes and cauliflower, salt and pepper, and simmer for another 15-20 minutes or until tender. Meanwhile, prepare the couscous according to the instructions on the packet. Serve with the vegetables, and harissa sauce on the side.  

 

 

 

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