Rice can and is served daily in Palestine. its such a staple. but that isn’t to say that we are eating the same thing day after day. we use different rice varieties, herbs, spices, pasta, pulses, vegetables, nuts and sauces to make many different and delicious rice dishes. i think these are easy show stoppers and are great ways to treat vegetarian and vegans when they visit.
1 cup basmati rice
400g chickpeas, cooked (canned is fine here)
1/2 tsp allspice
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cups cold water
on top of the rice
1/3 cup blanched almonds
2 tbsp pine nuts
small handful of chopped coriander
1/4 pomegranate seeds
rinse the rice a few times in cold water and then soak it in cold water. for about 15 minutes and rinse again until the water runs clear.
in a good size saucepan heat the olive oil and add the chickpeas. add in the allspice, mixed spice, tumeric and salt to coat the chickpeas moving continually for about a minute.
add in the drained wet rice and then pour over 2 cups of cold water. do not stir at all or again during the cooking. make sure the saucepan is on a high heat and once the water starts to boil reduce the heat completely and partially cover with with the saucepan lid. leave the rice alone to cook on a low heat for about 14-20 minutes checking occasionally the water level. when you can no longer see the water poke the end of a wooden spoon into the rice at the side of the pan to the bottom to see if there is liquid these. once there is no more liquid and the rice is not too moist, turn the heat off and cover tightly until you serve.
while the rice is cooking, prepare the almonds and pine nuts by frying them in a small amount of oil in a small frying pan stirring continually until golden. transfer the cooked hot nuts to some kitchen paper that you have set out. after the almonds, do the same thing with the pine nuts. chop the coriander and remove the pomegranate from its skin.
when everything is ready, turn the rice into a serving dish and scatter over the almonds, pine nuts, pomegranate and coriander. serve immediately while hot.
In Palestine rice will always come with a side of yoghurt as well as the main dish.