This reminds me a bit of a dish that I learned to make in my friend Usha's kitchen all those years ago. She called it Indian Rice with Potatoes and Vegetables, and she used frozen mixed vegetables and a diced potato, as well as the requisite onion. Mridula's take on it is a bit more sophisticated! She suggests frozen peas and fresh green beans, but I used what I had on hand.
1 cup basmati rice, rinsed and soaked for 30 minutes
1 tbsp vegan butter
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped1 slivered onion
15 g chopped mint
15 g chopped cilantro
4 black cardamom pods, crushed
1 small cinnamon stick
1 green chile, finely chopped
1/2 cup frozen edamame, shelled
10 spears asparagus, chopped
1 small piece of ginger, grated
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut soaked in 1/2 cup water
1 oz raw cashews
1/2 cup sour almond yogurt
1/4 cucumber, diced
pinch of cumin
salt to taste
I started out by browning the cashews in the butter & oil, then putting them aside for later. I combined the coconut & soaking water, garlic, mint, cilantro, green chile & ginger in the pestle & mortar and pounded it until fairly smooth. This is a sort of pesto that I put aside for a few minutes, while I got to work on the rice.
I added the onion to the pan with the remaining butter & oil and sauteed it until golden. Then I added the cloves, cardamom & cinnamon for a minute, then the drained rice. I let this cook for a couple of minutes, then added the pesto and salt to taste. A few minutes later I added the edamame and asparagus, then 2 cups of warm water. Once this came to a boil, I turned the heat down and let it simmer for 8 or 9 minutes. Then I stirred it, turned the heat off and let it sit with the lid on for another 10 minutes.
I quickly made a raita with the amazing, sour almond yogurt I buy at the market. I added chopped cucumber, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of cumin and stirred it all together. This is one of my favourite side dishes, especially for anything spicy. Finally, I uncovered the rice and sprinkled it with the toasted cashews.
This was an amazing dinner, with so many flavours but nothing overwhelming. Lots of green, lots of veg, I loved it! And lots of left overs too. :)