Do you sometimes come home from work and stare at the fridge with a vacuous smile, praying that inspiration will strike and a showstopping dinner will be on the table in minutes? Sound like a pipe dream? It needn’t be.
Becoming a more creative cook, is about opening your eyes, remaining present and seeing the beauty in the ordinary. Don’t see a bendy carrot as a bendy carrot, visualise its flaws as its potential. Its soft anyway so rather than make a futile attempt to crisp it up, use this to your advantage in a soup, puree or dip. Everything has potential you just need to harness it.
Herbs & Spices are key to this creativity process, plain protein, vegetables, fruits and carbs can be transformed in a pinch.
And this is where this dish was born. Simple, yet the sum of its parts is far more. Its savoury yet sweet, with mellow spicing that wafts through those tender grains. The crunch of nuts completes the textural experience.
Substitute Apricots for Loquats if you can’t get hold of them and any good quality Mild Curry powder can substitute the Vadouvan. Herbs are key and fresh is best. So, give it a go, its simple yet delicious.
300g Basmati Rice, soaked for 30 minutes in cold water
400ml Vegetable Bouillon
2 Onions, finely chopped
1 Fennel Bulb, finely chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Cinnamon Stick
4 Bay Leaves
1-2 tbsp Vadouvan Curry Powder/ Mild Curry Powder
150g Green Beans
60g Sliced Toasted Almonds
4 Loquats, chopped
20g Coriander, leaves picked
2 Limes, Segments
Salt, if your bouillon is unsalted
Yogurt to serve
1. Drain the rice and rinse until the water runs clear. Set aside. Warm the stock in a small pan.
2. Add the butter to a larger pan and sweat the onion for 8-10 minutes over a medium low heat until translucent and sweet. Add the garlic, bay and cinnamon and cook 1 minute more.
3. Add the curry powder along with the rice, turn up the heat and cook, stirring for 2 minutes or until it smells toasty and is coated in all the spice.
4. Pour in the stock and add the green beans and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat to the lowest setting, cover with a lid and set a timer for 13 minutes.
5. Leave to cook, untouched. When the timer beeps, turn off the heat and quickly place a tea towel under the lid. Secure the lid once more and set the timer for a further 13 minutes. This will allow the rice to steam and fluff up.
6. Once cooked, separate the grains with a fork and stir through the herbs and loquats. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed before topping with the nuts.
7. Serve with lime wedges and some yogurt if liked