Saffron, Date and Almond Rice

Goodness, what a beautiful rice dish. Ottolenghi again creates magic with this Iranian recipe that he credits Claudia Roden’s classic A Book Of Middle Eastern Food. He believes that Irani people cook the best rice, and I have to say he might be right.

This recipe takes a bit more effort than banging some rice into the rice cooker, but for special occasions, and for weekends, it is definitely worth it. The rice grains are beautifully separated and soft. The dish has a sweet overtone from the dates, and conjures up beautiful Middle Eastern feasts on low tables in tents with thick rugs covering your legs.

This dish is cooked like a biryani, in layers. It needs a very low heat – raise the pot above your heat source a little if you can (eg place a roasting rack or heat diffuser over the heat source). It could also be cooked in a very low oven, but you’ll miss the crunchy rice that forms at the bottom.

Recently I needed to replace my saffron, so I ordered some from Saffron Only. It is the most beautiful saffron! Far better that what I had been using. If you love saffron, check her out on Instagram. (I only recommend products when they are excellent, and am not recompensed for my recommendations.)

Similar dishes include Kosheri, Green Mango and Coconut Rice, and Rice with Orzo.

Also try Saffron and Rose Scented Aubergine, Golden Saffron Spiced Tea, and Dates and Saffron Soaked in Spiced Ghee.

Browse all of our Rice dishes and all of our Ottolenghi recipes. Or take some time and explore our Mid Spring collection of dishes.

Continue reading “Saffron, Date and Almond Rice”

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Sri Lankan Ghee Rice with Pandanus | Buttered Rice

Ghee rice is such a celebratory dish, rich in flavour and great to accompany light spicy dishes. This rice is flavoured with pandan leaves and curry leaves, adding sultanas to highlight the sweet floral notes of the pandan. It is exotic and luxurious, and a delight at the table.

I was never much bothered with washing and soaking rice, but basmati deserves this attention. I love the aged basmati rice with its long beautiful grains, and soaking definitely adds to the finished product. Please make the time to soak the rice while you chop the onion and get the other ingredients ready.

Similar recipes include Sri Lankan Coconut Curd Rice, Sri Lankan Yellow Rice, and Sakkarai Pongal. Also try Sri Lankan Pol Roti.

This rice dish adds to our collection of mixed rice dishes. You can explore them all here. It is a Sri Lankan dish, and you might like to browse our other Sri Lankan recipes here. Or perhaps have a look at our Indian recipes too. Our Late Spring recipes are here.

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Beetroot Risotto

Beetroot Risotto is something very special. Bright ruby red, luscious, creamy, just perfect with a glass of wine and a salad. Enjoy!

We have been making this risotto since 1999 – that’s such a long time. Risottos for us are a wonderful Friday night meal if we are eating and relaxing at home. The week is done, we can take our time, chat, listen to music, drink a little wine if we are in the mood.

I love to make this when I can find beetroot straight out of my garden. The first time I made it, all those years ago, was with fresh beetroot straight from an organic Clare Valley vegetable garden. The difference in taste to store-bought beetroot is amazing. Right now, we try to keep our own beetroot growing in our garden.

The risotto is such an beautiful colour. Serve on white or green plates for maximum effect.

If this is the first time that you are making risotto, read Risotto Basics 101 first. If this is the first time you are roasting beetroot, have a look here.

Similar recipes include Parsnip Risotto, Asparagus Risotto, Beetroot and Pinot Risotto, and Risotto with Mushrooms.

You might like our other Beetroot recipes or our other Risotto recipes. Check out our easy Late Spring recipes here.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006.  You can find other recipes from that blog in the Retro Recipes series.

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Kiribath | Sri Lankan Coconut Rice

A celebration dish from Sri Lanka

Tropical countries around the globe have their own versions of coconut rice. This one is from Sri Lanka, and is different to our other Coconut Rice dishes in that the rice is allowed to over-cook and become very soft and tender. It can be served hot, but if allowed to cool it solidifies and can be cut into diamond shapes.

Sri Lanka has a beautiful red rice which is often used to make this dish. It is nutty in taste, but is much softer than brown rice. This coconut rice is an auspicious dish in Sri Lanka, being made on every important day, festivals, celebrations and on the first day of each month to mark to symbolise luck and happiness.

Similar dishes include Sri Lankan Ghee Rice, Yellow Rice with Yoghurt, Green Mango and Coconut Rice, and South Indian Coconut Rice.

Have a look at our other Coconut Rice dishes, and explore our Sri Lankan dishes. All of our Rice Recipes are here. Or simply browse our Late Spring recipes.

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Three Cheese Risotto

Risotto is such a comfort dish, packed with flavour. For us it is a Wintery night time dish that we love to eat in relaxed style with the fire going and the talk about family and life.

This risotto is creamy and beautiful, with heaps of cheese including some Gorgonzola. You know how you love that Four Cheese Pizza? You will love this Three Cheese Risotto. It really is white on white on white on white  on white (onion, rice, milk, cheese, plate).

One thing that is a must read if you are cooking your first few risottos. How to Cook Risotto – it also explains which rices to use for the best results in making risotto.

Are you looking for other Risotto recipes? Try Beetroot RisottoRisotto with Mushrooms, Asparagus Risotto with Basil, and Caramelised Roasted Pumpkin Risotto.

Or are you after Cheesey dishes? Try Cheese and Eggplant Torte, Mascarpone and Gorgonzola Torte, and Melted Cheesey Toast on the BBQ.

You can browse all of our Risottos, or all of our Italian dishes. Or explore all of our Late Autumn dishes.

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Sri Lankan Yellow Rice With Yoghurt | Aromatic Sri Lankan Turmeric Curd Rice

Turmeric Rice, Sri Lankan style

Off to Sri Lanka today for a popular Sri Lankan rice dish, rich in flavour, aromatic and colourful on the table. There is a secret to this dish – chopped coriander and natural yoghurt is added to the rice just before serving.

Sri Lankan food is dominated by spices, and while many dishes are similar to those in neighbouring countries, especially South India, their use of spices, herbs, vegetables and fruit is distinctive and makes their cuisines unique.

I love rice and the endless varieties of Indian and associated rice dishes. Similar recipes include Sri Lankan Ghee Rice, Green Mango and Coconut Rice, Spicy Eggplant Rice, and  Turmeric Rice.

You can browse all of our Rice dishes and our Indian dishes. Our Indian Essentials are here. Or you might explore our Late Spring dishes.

Continue reading “Sri Lankan Yellow Rice With Yoghurt | Aromatic Sri Lankan Turmeric Curd Rice”

Parsnip Risotto with Rosemary

Parsnips – perhaps Winter’s best vegetable. So sweet, and they keep their flavours whether boiled, steamed or roasted. They take to many different pairings and treatments. Today, a risotto, and the recipe comes from the multi-continented Ilva, the great food photographer and the author of a beautiful blog that sadly no longer exists, Lucullian Delights.

I am very grateful that, before Ilva closed her blog, she allowed me to save my favourite recipes. I like to think that some of her recipes will live on now. This is one of her wonderful risotto dishes – subtle, divine. I have made a few minor adjustments to suit our tastes and availability of ingredients.

I love the use of white pepper in subtle dishes (Asian foods, cauliflower dishes, with parsnips, for example). In this recipe I have layered pepper flavours by using both white and black pepper.

If this is the first time that you are making risotto, read Risotto Basics 101.

Similar recipes include Three Cheese Risotto, Risotto with Mushrooms, Tomato Risotto, Asparagus Risotto with Basil, and Caramelised Pumpkin Risotto.

You might also like our Parsnip dishes, our Risotto recipes, and our Rice recipes. Our Italian dishes are here. Check out our easy Early Spring recipes too.

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Kosheri | Lentils, Rice and Vermicelli with Onions and Spices

Kosheri (also spelled Koshari) is a dish with its genesis in Egypt, although it now traverses many time zones. We have some similar recipes, but this one from Ottolenghi (in his book Ottolenghi) is another of his dishes that perfectly layers spices with other ingredients. It is a bit intense, this dish, with several cooking processes on the go at one time, but the effort is worth it. Cook the sauce, cook the lentils, cook the rice and vermicelli, cook the onions – then bring them all together.

Frankly, I love how North Africa, the Middle East and India are much more adventurous with their rice dishes than our English-based cultures. Who would have thought of cooking lentils, various pasta, burghul and/or vermicelli with rice? It seems to break all of our Western rules of food composition. Yet here they are, these mixed rice dishes, such a delicious alternative to plain white rice.

Cheap, easy and filling, kosheri is ubiquitous on Egypt’s streets and thought to be an adaptation of Indian kitchari, brought to Egypt in the late 19th century during the British occupation of both countries. Egypt’s Italian community is held responsible for kosheri’s pasta factor. Lebanon and Palestine have a simple version, a rice with pasta dish that works on the principle that less is more.

The dish can be made with or without the tomato sauce. Although it is a good accompaniment, the kosheri is also good with a Cucumber Raita, or any other Raita, Pachadi, or Yoghurt based salad, for that matter. Or just plain yoghurt.

In Egypt, this dish is sold by street vendors, but it is also very welcome at the dinner table. It can be a side dish, but I prefer it as a main, with the accompaniments tailored to eat on and with the rice. I particularly love it with the tomato sauce, some roasted cauliflower and toasted hazelnuts.

Similar recipes include Orzo and Rice, Cauliflower, Mung and Cracked Wheat Kitchari, and Cracked Wheat and Mung Kitchari.

Browse all of our Egyptian recipes and all of our Ottolenghi dishes. Our Rice recipes are here. Or explore our Late Winter collection of recipes.

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Tomato Risotto

Get your Italian Risotto Mojo on with some loud opera music and a good wine

Italian food is just wonderful! Today is another Great Risotto Dish. Risotto is always a meditation in cooking. A quiet kitchen, a wooden spoon, some rice and a large pot.

From years ago, when I was first making risotto, and still today, I amazed friends who pop in unexpectedly. I pick tomatoes, salad greens, chilli and rosemary from the garden, pull some stock and tomato paste from the freezer, and cook this risotto in approx. 30 minutes. I serve it with a garden salad and fresh fruit for dessert. They are always pretty impressed!

If you haven’t cooked risotto before, here are some basics.

Similar recipes include Parsnip Risotto with RosemaryRisotto with Mushrooms, Asparagus Risotto with Basil, and Caramelised Pumpkin Risotto.

You might also like to browse all of our Risotto recipes, and our Rice recipes. Our Italian dishes are here and all of our Tomato recipes here. Check out our easy Early Spring recipes too.

This is a vegetarian recipe from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. You can browse other recipes from this blog in our Retro Recipes series. Continue reading “Tomato Risotto”

Green Mango and Coconut Rice

Perfect for hot weather. Cooling and delicious.

It is easy to have a thing for green mangoes, whether they are the sour type, or just unripe sweet mangoes, or the sour-sweet type. Here, we love them a lot.  (If you love green mangoes, you probably also love ripe, sweet mangoes of any variety.)

When it is green mango season, the local large Asian supermarket stocks all sorts of green mangoes in large boxes, a dozen layers deep, by their front counter. It is difficult to leave the shop without any. But even when it is not prime season, they seem to have some, so we enjoy them pretty much all year round.

This recipe highlights the crispy tartness of the green mango, together with a punch of chilli and a hint of salt – the three flavours that go so well together. It is all combined with rice – slightly hot and salty with the sweetness of coconut, the slight bitter punch of the fenugreek, and toasted peanuts and crispy fried dal for a crunchy texture. What could be better?

This dish works well as a snack, side dish or rice salad. Rice made with green mangoes is popular in South India , with Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu all making it a little differently. This one is Tamil in style.

Similar recipes include Kiribath – Sri Lankan Coconut Rice, Carrot Rice, Mango Rice, and Zucchini Rice. Green Mango dishes include Mung Dal with Green Mango, and Spicy Green Mango in Coconut Milk.

Check our different Coconut Rice Recipes. Browse our Green Mango Recipes, and our Sweet Mango recipes also. Or if you are looking for Rice recipes, they are here. Try our Rice Salads. Our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials here. Or simply browse our easy Mid Spring recipes.

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Sweet Pepper and Rice Salad

I have had 2 revelations this week – firstly, how good rice salad is. It is a salad that my Mother made a lot in Summer but some how it has never ever made it onto my radar. Perhaps we ate too much of it as we grew up, perhaps hers never inspired me to make them myself (sorry Mum).

In this 42C (107F) heat, I made a rice salad on a whim, because all I had to do was turn on the rice cooker – no other hot steamy cooking steps required. And the salad was so good, we are now converted.

The other revelation is, how good idli rice is for both stir-fried rice, and for rice salads. Idli rice is the type of rice used in India for making idli, dosa and the like. It is rice with attitude – separate, independent grains, that retain some bite even after cooking (think al dente rice), and that have a bit of swag. Yeah. It is perfect for rice salad.

But any other medium to long grain rice will do – don’t use rice that is sticky when cooked. You are looking for separate grains.

Are you looking for more rice recipes? Try Rice and Cauliflower Pilaf, Eggplant Pilaf, and Mung Sprouts Rice.

Or are you after some Capsicum recipes? Try How to Dry Capsicums, Pasta Sauce with Aubergine, Red Peppers and Tomato, and Roasted Red Pepper Salad. Elizabeth David has a couple of Red Pepper Salads.

Perhaps you are looking for other Salad Recipes. Try Pasta or Couscous Salads, A Quick Burghul Salad with Olives, Pomegranate and Hazelnuts, and Thai Lettuce Wraps. Our Mid-Summer Salads are here.

Or browse all of our Capsicum Recipes, all of our Rice Recipes, and all of our many stunning Salad recipes. Or take a while to explore our easy Mid Summer recipes.

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Kanda Poha | Onion Poha | Flattened Rice with Onions

Such a delicious snack from Northern India

Poha, a steamed and flattened rice (“steamrolled” I call it) is a great base for Indian snacks. In this poha recipe, it is teamed with onions and peanuts. Kanda Poha goes great mid afternoon with a cup of milky sweet tea (chai). Or it can be a great quick supper dish when you arrive just a little too late home from work. Or, as often done in parts of India, it is a great breakfast dish.

There are several thicknesses of poha – Nylon (very thin and crisp), Paper, Thin, Medium, Thick and Dagdi (thick and chewy). This recipe uses medium or thick poha, which you can buy from your Indian grocery. Thick is preferred. Thin poha is not suitable for this dish.

Are you looking for other Poha dishes? Try Poha Chaat, Poha with Potatoes and Peanuts, Kolache Poha, and Poha with Banana, Honey and Coconut.

Browse all of our other Poha recipes and all of our Indian recipes. All of our Snacks are here. Or simply explore our easy Early Winter recipes.

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Carrot Rice | Carrot Pilau

Mixed rice dishes are easy to prepare and quickly become family favourites. They are great lunch or tiffin dishes, and served with a raita/pachadi and a simple salad to make a delicious light meal.

Carrots have an inherent sweetness and it is emphasised when you sauté them in ghee. This recipe compliments that sweetness with the bite of the green chilli, the warmth of sweet spices like cardamom, cloves and cinnamon, and the crunch of onions and nuts. You will really enjoy it.

If you are looking for similar Rice recipes, try Sri Lankan Ghee Rice, Spicy Eggplant Rice, Sri Lankan Yellow Rice with Yoghurt, Cumquats Rice, Rice and Cauliflower Pilaf, Lemon Rice, and Pepper Cumin Rice. Barley Pilaf is pretty good too.

Are you looking for Carrot recipes? You will like this Green Bean and Carrot Poriyal, Carrot Poriyal with Coconut Lentil Crumble, Carrot Thoran, and Carrot Sambal.

You can browse all of our Rice dishes here, and find all of our Carrot recipes here. Take some time and explore all of our Indian recipes. Or browse our Early Summer recipes.

Continue reading “Carrot Rice | Carrot Pilau”

Risotto with Mushrooms

This is a most beautiful risotto with the creaminess of mushrooms combined with the creaminess of a risotto. Mushroom Risotto is a perfect winter-time dish, a cold evening dish, a heater-on-high dish. It is a comfort dish, for when you need a little more love and support in your life. Really, it is divine. Who doesn’t like risotto?

While I specify button and oyster mushrooms, you can make this with any mix of mushrooms. Cut them to size accordingly.

Do be careful about the rice that you use for risotto. You will get the best results using a risotto rice. You can read more about that here. My favourite at the moment, and the one that I used for this dish, is Carnaroli.

If you are new to making risotto, read How to Make Risotto.

Try some other Risottos too –Beetroot Risotto, Three Cheese Risotto, Tomato Risotto, Beetroot Risotto with Pinot, Caramelised Pumpkin Risotto and Asparagus Risotto are some of our favourites.

Are you looking for Mushroom recipes? Try Henri Toulouse-Lautrec’s Slow Cooked Creamy Mushrooms, Mushrooms Baked in Vine Leaves, French Mushrooms and Tomatoes, Adzuki Beans with Shiitake Mushrooms, and Mushroom and Carrot Salad with Mung Sprouts.

Check out all of our Risotto recipes, and also  all of our Italian recipes. All of our Mushroom recipes are here. You might like to browse our easy Late Summer recipes here.

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Rice and Orzo

Orzo is petty good, don’t you agree? This little rice-shaped pasta has an elegance that eludes other pastas. I was delighted to find another way to cook this star in Jerusalem, the cookbook by Ottolenghi and Tamimi.

Rice is a staple of many of the communities of the Middle East and features in quite complex dishes as well as very simple ones. Quite often, other ingredients like chickpeas, vermicelli, potatoes, lentils and nuts are are cooked with the rice.

Spices are also used, for example the Bucharan Jews in Jerusalem use ginger, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon with mint, raisins and peas. How delicious!

In this recipe, the usual vermicelli is replaced by Ottolenghi and Tamimi by orzo. Don’t confuse this orzo with the Greek barley – it is the Italian pasta version. You can use vermicelli if you like, just don’t fry them as long as they will burn.

Are you looking for other Orzo recipes? Try Beautiful Buttered Orzo, and  Elegant Orzo Salad. You should also try Kosheri – Rice with Vermicelli and Lentils.

Perhaps you are looking for mixed rice dishes. Try Zucchini Rice, Mango Rice, and Pepper Rice.

We have several Middle Eastern Recipes to try. Beetroot with Yoghurt-Tahini, Saffron and Rosewater Scented Aubergine, and Beautiful Hummus.

Are you looking for more? Explore our Ottolenghi recipes, all of our Orzo dishes, our Rice recipes, and all of our Middle Eastern dishes. Or simply spend some time browsing our Mid Autumn collection of dishes.

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