Not Quite Fried Rice Salad

Are you like me and always cook too much rice? Here is your solution. An easy salad to put together using last night’s left over rice. How simple is that? It is a bit like fried rice – without the frying! Delicious.

This is a Bittman Salad – we are making all of his 101 Salads, all of the vegetarian ones at least. We are on the home-run now, with less than 7 more to make.

Are you after other Rice dishes? Try our Carrot Rice, Zucchini Rice, and all of our Risottos.

All of our Rice dishes are here and all of the Bittman Salads we have made are here. Or browse all of our Early Winter recipes.

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Clove, Cardamom and Cinnamon Rice

Everyone loves fragrant rice – basmati and jasmine rice are two of the best known. There are others too, you might see them occasionally or search some out. Currently I am working with the short grain fragrant rice called Ambe Mohar.

This recipe adds warming (not hot) flavours to the rice with cloves and cardamom. It is a simple recipe, and many slight variations of it abound. It is also in Ottolenghi’s book Nopi, so I will claim it for inclusion in our Ottolenghi Cook from the Books project. I have adjusted his recipe a little. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar dishes include Black Cumin and Pepper Rice, Persian Saffron Rice, and Broad Bean and Dill Rice.

Browse all of our Rice dishes, and the dishes from Nopi. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. Or explore our Mid Winter recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

Continue reading “Clove, Cardamom and Cinnamon Rice”

Boondi Salad with Chickpeas and Coconut Dressing

For a change we bring you a salad that features either boondi or puffed rice. You can buy these easily at your Indian grocer. If purchasing puffed rice from the supermarket, make sure that you are not buying sweetened cereal. You need an unsweetened one for this dish.

Boondi are a deep fried, pearl sized, crispy Indian snack food prepared from gram flour (chickpea flour) and few spices. Make sure you have the unsweetened variety of these also. They are available from Indian groceries. Boondi often comes with its own prepared spice mix included in the packet. You can add it to the salad.

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Rice, Wild Rice and Quinoa Salad With Nuts and Barberries

This is one of those recipes that gives Ottolenghi’s recipes a bad wrap – lots of ingredients, but even worse, SIX different cooking processes each with its own pots and pans and utensils to be washed, bench to be cleaned. It better be worth it, I thought. It is not a dish for weeknights. And I recommend washing up the pans as you go, even if you have a dishwasher.

First you cook the wild rice, then the basmati, then the quinoa. While they have to be cooked separately, it can be done simultaneously. Then the nuts are toasted and next the onions are sauteed. Finally, all ingredients come together and are dressed. Tarragon is far too expensive here to buy for one salad, so that is omitted.

This is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area. I made a couple of changes to the recipe. Ottolenghi uses Sour Cherries, but they are difficult to find locally. I use Barberries, which are easily found in Middle Eastern and Afghani groceries. I also use lime or lemon, whichever is on the kitchen bench. Also, I will swap the herbs out for what is available at the time. I like to keep parsley, but sometimes the heat of Summer gets to the basil, so I might use Thai Basil or lemon balm, or other soft, leafy herb. And rocket will get subbed for baby spinach if that is what I have  – I may add a tart element to replace the bite of rocket (e.g. a little raw onion, spring onion, capers, or sour grapes).

Ottolenghi salad recipes are always huge, enough to serve an army. Making a third or half of the recipe is usually enough for four of us. Scale for your own numbers, size of serve, and appetite.  This salad is particularly large, even a half recipe will be great for a BBQ lunch for half an army.

So is this salad worth the work? I rarely say this about Ottolenghi’s dishes, but, no. It’s a good salad, even a great salad. But I prefer to make it when I want to use up left over rice, onions and/or quinoa. I sub the wild rice for chickpeas, as wild rice is a reasonably expensive ingredient. Having said that, it does work as is as a dish for a friend’s lunch or BBQ when you only want 1 large, visually pleasing  salad to accompany the main course.

It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar recipes include Not Quite Fried Rice Salad, Sweet Pepper and Rice Salad, and Green Mango and Coconut Rice.

Browse all of our Rice Salads, and all of our Quinoa dishes. Our Ottolenghi recipes are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

Continue reading “Rice, Wild Rice and Quinoa Salad With Nuts and Barberries”

Braised Broad Beans, Peas and Lettuce with Parmesan Rice

A couple of years ago we made a lovely French dish with our home grown broad beans – they are briefly simmered in stock and wine with peas and lettuce. It is such a gorgeously gentle, green and fresh dish.

Ottolenghi, in his book Plenty More, has a similar recipe, sans the wine, and where the ingredients are cooked for substantially longer than our dish. He serves it with gorgeous, buttery, parmesan rice, a delicious accompaniment.

I feel that the cooking times in Ottolenghi’s recipe are far too long, and have reduced them accordingly. I have also added a little verjuice to the dish, as I miss the tang of the wine in the French recipe. But the play of the vegetables against the buttery parmesan rice is quite amazing. Usually I recommend reducing the quantities of Ottolenghi’s recipes, they are always ample, but this one makes enough for 4 people – however, if you think you might want seconds (and you will), make a larger quantity.

It is Ottolenghi Cook the Books day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar dishes include Pea Croquettes with Mint Sauce, French Braised Lettuce, Broad Beans and Peas, Leeks and Carrots a la Grecque, and Green Beans Braised in Tomatoes and Olive Oil.

Browse all of our Broad Bean recipes and all of our Pea dishes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

Continue reading “Braised Broad Beans, Peas and Lettuce with Parmesan Rice”

Slow Cooked Stuffed Zucchini

Old fashioned as they might be, there is a joy in stuffed vegetables, oozing with tomatoey rice or chickpea fillings, perhaps covered with cheese, melted and dripping down the sides. Nothing quite says cold weather more than stuffed vegetables. We love them. But then we were never one for fashion, especially in food.

This recipe is Turkish in origin, although many versions appear around the Middle East and gulf regions, from Israel to Afghanistan. We are stuffing our zucchini from the garden, the late ones that have grown slightly larger. We stuff them flat, that is, laying on their length, slit in half, and cooked with the stuffing in hollows left by the removal of their seeds and soft core. You can, of course, stuff them vertical – cutting into lengths without splitting down the middle, and using a manakra from your Middle Eastern store, to hollow out the middles – sort of like coring an apple.

We are using Ottolenghi’s recipe in Plenty More, but many similar recipes abound, using a range of grains to give substance to the filling. We are using Ottolenghi’s recipe because we have a little project at the moment, to cook through Plenty More, so it is a convenient way to add another dish to our project’s Cooked list.

The thing about many Zucchini dishes is that they are just as delightful served at room temperature as well as warm – this dish, for example, is divine. Today’s recipe is in the same class – serve it warmish, or at room temperature, with goat’s feta (Middle Eastern feta, beautifully creamy) and a salad of sliced onion, radish and tomato. Excellent. Make it a first course or a main dish.

Ottolenghi has changed the recipe for this dish over time, reducing the time taken to cook the stuffed zucchini from 2 hours to 40 mins. That raised a warning signal for us. We find that it all depends on your heat levels. I cooked mine with a heat diffuser to keep the heat low and it takes all of 2 hours to ensure the rice is cooked well. Higher heat levels will mean that cooking time is shorter.

Our suspicion is that the longer time might be more traditional, but less photogenic or visually pleasing. It is often the case with dishes from countries like Greece and Turkey, and neighbouring countries, that dishes are cooked longer than might be fashionable these days. Flavour goes through the roof but the visual appeal is lost. It’s a pity that we put so much store on visual presentation.

HOWEVER, we found that using Ottolenghi’s recipe, the zucchini was overcooked and the rice just a tad undercooked, even after 2 hours. After all, it is being steamed rather than boiled as is usual. Our recommendation is that the rice should be par-cooked before using in the stuffing, and that the cooking time is then reduced to 40 – 60 mins so that the rice is really soft. As it is, the recipe does not work. (See this Guardian article which also recommends precooking rice for stuffed courgettes in general.)

I am leaving the recipe as it appears in the book, in case I missed something or you have other insights and views. If so, let me know. It is unusual to have an Ottolenghi recipe that does not work.

It is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar dishes include Stuffed Tomatoes with Cheese, Peppers Stuffed with Cherry Tomatoes, and Okra Stuffed with Chilli Paste.

Browse all of our Stuffed recipes and all of our Zucchini dishes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

Continue reading “Slow Cooked Stuffed Zucchini”

Vegetable Pulao from the Beaches of Goa

Ah, the beaches of Goa. How they stretch on and on for miles and miles. Once pristine in the days when I began to visit Goa, now the popular beaches are littered with refuse at high tide. It is not a pretty sight, but thankfully the government is working to return them to their former glories.

Yet, Goa remains beautiful and worth visiting for a slow and relaxing holiday. On one of my visits, staying with some friends who run a small B&B and lovely restaurant, Mario made this pulao for a Sunday Lunch. It remains a favourite and always, always, brings those beaches back to me. I remember being woken every morning, not by the sounds of the waves, but by the sounds of the kitchen hands beginning their preparations for the day. The happy sounds of their chopping and laughter would filter through to our bedroom and we would always wake to amazing aromas and great food.

This recipe begins cooking the rice on the stove top and finishes it in the oven, similar to the Obla Chaval method.

Are you after other recipes from Goa? Try Goan Rechad Masala, Ladyfingers Recheio, and Sweet Surnoli Dosa.

Are you after other Pulao dishes? Try  a Sago Pilaf, Green Pea Pulao and Cauliflower Pilaf.

Try some mixed Rice dishes too. Try Masala Lemon or Lime Rice, Tamarind Rice (Puliyodharai Saadham), and Urad Dal Garlic Rice.

You can browse all of our dishes from Goa, and all of our Pilaf/Pulao recipes. You might also like all of our Rice recipes too.  Or browse all of our Indian recipes. Alternatively, take some time to explore our easy Late Autumn dishes.

This is one of our Retro Recipes, vegetarian recipes from our first blog from 1995 – 2006.. Feel free to browse other recipes from our Retro Recipes series.

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Black Pepper and Cumin Rice

There are infinite varieties of rice dishes in Indian households, from the very complex to the simple and quick recipes. Today’s rice dish is in the latter category (and you know by now how much I love simple in our complex culinary world.)

This can be made with freshly cooked rice, or with left over rice. If using left over rice, it can be fried with the spices. For fresh rice, it is best to saute the spices and stir through the rice.

This rice really is simply flavoured and can be made in a jiffy. It will also go with any Indian meal or with any other dish that you want to serve with rice. If you would like a recipe for pepper and cumin rice that has more spices and a tadka, check out our Pepper and Cumin Rice here.

Similar dishes include Clove, Cardamom and Cinnamon Rice, Turmeric and Curd Rice, Carrot Rice, and Lemon Rice.

Browse all of our Mixed Rice dishes, and all of our Rice recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.
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Red Rice and Quinoa with Orange and Pistachios

Quinoa seems to be out of fashion now, but it still has a place in our pantry. This is such a healthy salad, in fact it balances the best of the healthy world with the tasty world of food. Quinoa tastes great, has a satisfying, bouncy texture and is one of the healthiest foodstuffs going. It is said to have more protein than any other grain and the perfect set of amino acids.

This salad combines the quinoa with rice. I have made this salad with both the skinny variety of red rice and also with black rice. Both are amazing, with a wonderful nutty flavour. I have also seen recipes for this dish made with Indian red rice (see comments below), and will experiment with that combination in the future. It is certainly more cost effective.

This is another amazing Ottolenghi dish, from his first book, Ottolenghi. in fact, today it is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – currently we are cooking mostly from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Hence this salad from Ottolenghi. Note that I often slightly massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry.

Interestingly this same recipe is included in Chris Manfiled’s Tasting India, as a recipe from the Himalayan regions of India where red rice (patn1) and red quinoa are grown. The recipe differs in the rices used – she uses patna and Ottolenghi uses French rice – and Ottolenghi adds pistachios. Chris also uses red rather then white quinoa. While (to my mind) it sits uncomfortably in Chris’ book, the book is a collection of recipes given to her by people across India, so it is conceivable that the recipe provided (without provenance) was Ottolenghi’s. To be fair, we are not given the origins of the recipe in Ottolenghi’s book either, and the combination is probably common to areas of the Middle East and Mediterranean. For example, see Cypriot Grain Salad.

Today, instead of using rocket which will never grow well in our garden, we used a combination of three greens to give that sour and peppery taste that rocket has – purslane, watercress and nasturtium leaves.

Similar recipes include Rice, Wild Rice and Quinoa Salad, Quinoa Porridge with Tomatoes and Herb Oil, Cypriot Grain SaladQuinoa, Parsley and Lemon Salad, Fennel and Quinoa Salad with Broad Beans, and Sweet Pepper and Rice Salad.

You can browse all of our Quinoa dishes and all of our Rice recipes. The Ottlenghi dishes that we have made are here. Or explore all of our Early Winter dishes.

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Persian Barberry Saffron Rice with Almonds and Pistachios

We are so in love with our long stranded saffron from Saffron Only. With our delivery we also received several recipe cards including the recipe for this rice dish which has also been mentioned by an Irani work colleague. As beautiful soft barberries are available at the local Afghan shop, the recipe was added to our must-cook list.

The recipe simmers long grained rice until al dente, then steams it on a bed of potatoes or pita bread (optional) until the bottom is crispy and the rice is perfectly cooked. It is then served with saffron water, the toasted barberries, almonds and pistachios.

Berberis, commonly known as barberry, is a large shrub that has yellow flowers and red or blue-black berries. The berries, rich in vitamin C, have a distinct sharp acid flavour. The country in which they are used the most is Iran where they are used in rice pilafs.. Due to their inherent sour flavor, they are often cooked with sugar before being added to rice. Iranian markets sell barberry dried. In Russia they are sometimes used in jams and extract from them is a common flavouring for soft drinks and candies/sweets. They are rarely used in Europe in modern times. (Thanks wikipedia.)

I notice that Ottolenghi has a similar recipe on his website. I mention it only as we have an Ottolenghi Project happening, cooking from his book Plenty More. You can check his recipe out, but I like this one better. 🙂

Barberries are also such a beautiful colour that they make a great garnish to any rice dish or salad.

Similar recipes include Saffron Mograbieh Pilaf, Saffron, Date and Almond Rice, and Golden Saffron Tea.

Browse all of our Saffron dishes and all of our Persian recipes. Our Middle Eastern dishes are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.
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So Easy Tomato Risotto

We know that we are slipping into Autumn when we begin to cook more rice dishes. Rice puddings and risotto begin to feature at the table, just as long sleeves and light jackets begin to feature in our wardrobe.

Risotto is so easy to make – about 10 mins max prep time, and 20 mins to cook. One pot, little action, just stirring stirring stirring. It is relaxing and meditative. Heaven. Autumn. The pace of life is slower this month.

Similar recipes include Radicchio Risotto, Risotto with Mushrooms, and Parsnip Risotto with Rosemary.

Browse all of our Risotto recipes and all of our Tomato dishes. Our Italian recipes are here. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Stuffed Vine Leaves | Dolmades

Dolmas, or Dolmades, are little parcels wrapped in grape vine leaves and simmered until the filling is cooked and the vine leaves are tender. Although there is always a rush to make them in Spring as the vine leaves appear, they can be cooked right through to Autumn. Indeed, if you are diligent enough to freeze or preserve vine leaves, they can also be made in Winter. Of course, if home preserving is not your thing, you can always purchase preserved vine leaves (I’ve seen large jars of them). The leaves can be stuffed with many things, but rice, burghul, or a mix of the two, are common.

These dolmas are stuffed with burghul (bulgar, or cracked wheat) and rice in a typically Middle Eastern version with currants and pine nuts. They are delicious. Serve with lemon wedges.

Similar recipe include Burghul Wrapped in Vine Leaves, Grape Leaf Encrusted Rice Pie, and Grilled Pecorino Wrapped in Vine Leaves.

Browse all of our Grape Vine Leaf Recipes, and all of our Dolmas. All of our Middle Eastern dishes are here. Or explore our Early Autumn recipes.

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Cold Pandan Rice Pudding with Lime Syrup and Fruits

There is nothing like a rice pudding when the weather cools after the long Summer days of intense heat and nights spent under the air conditioning to keep cool enough to sleep.

I judge my acceptance of Autumn (it takes a while) by the first rice pudding that is cooked. And today it is a cold rice pudding that is based loosely on a recipe by Ottolenghi. His desserts almost always include eggs, and we don’t cook with eggs. Therefore I made my favourite Greek Rice Pudding and added his lime syrup. It is a really delightful addition – the syrup contrasts beautifully with the sweet rice pudding . For fruit today, I used persimmon and passion fruit. If you have no such restrictions, you can always check out his original recipe in his book or Guardian column, but I love the simplicity of this version.

Similar recipes include Greek Rice Pudding, Old Fashioned Baked Rice Pudding, and Rice Kheer.

Browse all of our Desserts (not many, we don’t have a sweet tooth), and our Rice dishes, sweet and savoury. This recipe was inspired by one of Ottolenghi’s dishes from Plenty More but is quite different. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

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Broad Bean and Dill Rice

Sometimes we just need to throw something together quickly. This is your recipe for a rice side dish, or a snack if you will – ideal for Spring time when young broad beans are around, or at other times using frozen, peeled broad beans from your Middle Eastern of Afghani Grocer. Grab your dill from there too – they have simply the best, largest, freshest bunches of dill, far better than the limp branch or two we get from Supermarkets. (If you buy your frozen broad beans from the supermarket, it is likely that you will have to peel the individual beans once they are blanched. The ones from a Middle Eastern shop will save you quite a bit of time.)

Similar dishes include Black Pepper and Cumin Rice, Persian Barberry Saffron Rice, Saffron, Date and Almond Rice, Kosheri, and Zucchini Rice.

Browse all of our Rice dishes and all of our Middle Eastern recipes. Or explore our Late Summer dishes.

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Grape Leaf Encrusted Rice Pie | Layered Rice with Vine Leaves

We are fascinated with using vine leaves for cooking. While everyone is familiar with dolmades, there are quite a number of dishes that are complemented by the flavour and aroma of the grape vine leaves.

This recipe is sort of a lazy man’s dolmades – a rice mixture baked in layers with vine leaves, and encrusted with vine leaves. It comes out as a pie, and is cut into wedges to be served with lemon and pomegranate molasses. The rice is herby, nutty, and slightly sweet from the currants. Some Middle Eastern flavours there. The recipe comes together easily, tastes great, and can be eaten warm or cold. It is an excellent contribution to a table of mezze.

Similar dishes include Dolmades, Grape Vine Leaf Powder, Grilled Pecorino in Vine Leaves, and Mushrooms Baked in Vine Leaves.

Browse our Rice dishes and all of our Vine Leaf recipes. All of our Yoghurt dishes are here. Or explore our other Early Summer recipes.

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