3 Dec 2013

spiced rice

I went to the Night Noodle Market with a friend some time last week. We arrived early and decided to leave just as waves of hungry people were coming in. To us, the event was mediocre at best as we imagined it to be more similar to the night markets we've been to in Asia. I had a look at the menu before going and was only interested in trying either the Nepalese biriyani or Chin Chin's massaman curry. I chose the biriyani in the end and was glad it wasn't spicy, although it might have benefited from a bit of heat.

I kept thinking about the biriyani at home and finally decided to make it, learning so much in the process. For one, my stove cooked rice did not turn out like a gloppy mess (oh the nightmares when it turned out like goop during high school) and that the rice has to be stirred through a curry-like sauce. Last but not least, it's spelt as biriyani/briyani and not briyani as I previously had thought. Pappadams on the other hand...

The dish was pretty simple to make and like all matters of curry, you can be sure the leftovers are going to taste even better.

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Vegan biriyani     serves 2
adapted from BBC Good Food

100g basmati rice
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
50g red lentils, washed and drained
300ml cold water
handful or two of string/snap beans, trimmed and halved
handful of frozen peas
sea salt, white pepper, to season
chopped coriander, mango chutney, garlic pappadams, to serve

For the paste
2 small onions, peeled and roughly chopped
thumb of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
5 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
3 tsp curry powder
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
glug of cooking oil

Cook the rice according to packet instructions, adding turmeric into the water.

To make the paste, blitz all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Add the paste in a heated saucepan and stir frequently until fragrant. Add the red lentils and water, bring to boil then reduce heat to medium. Cook until lentils are tender, approximately 10-15 minutes. Add the beans and peas in the final two minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Stir in a small handful of finely chopped coriander.

Mix the rice through the sauce and serve with coriander, mango chutney and pappadams.