rice & grain dishes

saffron celery rice

25th April 2020

This is a modified rice dish that Donna posted years ago and because I make it often I thought I would revisit and repost it. It is soothing on the digestive system and soft on the eyes with its pale yellow saffron hue. Serve it with roasted vegetables and an avocado-yoghurt sauce. It also goes nicely with a simple tovve and vegetable palya.

Saffron is considered sattvic, balancing all three doshas. One flower bears three stigmas, which are plucked and dried. It contains a carotenoid called crocin, which imparts a golden-yellow hue to dishes.

“Generosity is a noble quality. It opens the mind and heart to appreciate the universe and all that it encompasses.” ~ The Sacred Tradition of Yoga by Dr Shankaranaranaya Jois.

saffron celery rice

preparation 25 minutes

serves 3 – 4

ingredients 

1 cup white basmati rice

2 cups hot water/vegetable stock

two pinches saffron threads (15 threads)

2 Tbsp ghee

1 stalk celery, finely chopped

1 bay leaf

½ tsp fine rock salt

handful coriander, finely chopped

zest and juice of ½ lemon

to serve

roasted vegetables

spicy avocado-yoghurt puree

preparation 

1.  Rinse the rice until the water runs clear, pour into a sieve to drain.

2.  Place the saffron threads in the hot water to steep for 5 minutes.

3.  In a heavy-based pan, heat ghee, then fry the celery, bay leaf and salt; when soft, add rice and stir to coat grains in ghee.

4.  Pour in ¼ cup saffron water and stir. When almost evaporated, add remaining saffron water and bring to a boil, reduce heat to maintain a rapid simmer, uncovered for 8 – 10 minutes or until the water has evaporated.

5.  Turn off heat, and cover with a tea towel between the lid – set aside undisturbed for further 10 – 15 minutes.

6.  Add coriander, lemon zest, juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.

a buttery herbed pilaf

16th June 2018

Each year I plant broad beans because of their delightfully scented pure white, black and white flower. The seed always germinates, even in this unpredictable Sintra weather but when the beans arrive, I am sometimes at a loss at what to do with them.

This year, there was an abundance of both succulent beans and sweet peas. Just in time, I came across this rice dish which enabled me to make use of all the various green bits and pieces from the garden, that have emerged at this time of year.

The herbs soften the buttery rice and infuse it with flavour. The steaming method of cooking the rice forms a crusty bottom, creating crunchy shards of golden rice. It is a splendid outcome.

a  buttery herbed pilaf

Serves 3 – 4

Recipe adapted ‘Gather Cook Feast’ by Jessica Seaton.

ingredients

1 cup/200g white basmati rice

½ cup/65g fresh young broad beans

½ cup/70g fresh sweet peas

½ cup/70 g finely chopped green beans (optional)

1 large bunch/20g each fresh parsley, dill or fennel fronds

1 very large bunch/80g fresh coriander

½ cup/125ml melted ghee – divided (or 75g butter-melted)

salt and pepper to taste

zest from half lemon

juice from half lemon

soak the rice

1.  Wash the rice in cold water and drain. Repeat 3 more times to flush out all the excess starch (this helps the rice to be fluffy with nice separate grains when cooked). Then leave to soak in cold water for 1 hour while you prepare everything else.

prepare the greens 

2.  Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil. In it blanch the broad beans, peas and green beans for 3 – 4 minutes, then drain and refresh in ice-cold water immediately to cool them down (this keeps them green). When they are completely cold, drain the peas and beans, set aside.

3.  Finely chop the leaves and tender stems of all the herbs, and mix together. Keep any tough stems for soups or stews. Set aside.

prepare the rice 

4.  Drain the rice. Fill a medium saucepan (with a lid that fits) with very well salted water. Bring the water to a vigorous boil and cook the rice for exactly 5 minutes, starting the timer from the moment the rice enters the pot. Drain in a colander and let sit for 5 minutes or so to steam dry.

assemble and cook the pilaf 

5.  Return the empty pan to the stove, add half of the melted ghee.

6.  Split the pile of herbs in two – one to use now, setting the other half aside to use later.

7.  Add one-third of the rice to the pot, then half of the herbs for using now. Do not mix. Repeat with the next third of the rice and the other half of the herbs. Finish with the last third of rice. Drizzle the remaining melted ghee over the top.

8.  Cover the pot with a tea towel, then place the lid firmly on top, folding the corners of the tea towel over the top so that they don’t catch fire. Cook over medium heat for 8 minutes, then place the pot on the lowest heat you can manage and continue cooking for another 45 minutes.

9.  When the rice is ready, mix the reserved herbs from the bowl and the peas and beans into the rice and pile it all on to a good wide platter or bowl. Sprinkle over the lemon zest and squeeze over the lemon juice. Taste and season with salt and a few rounds of pepper. Scrape up the crisp rice at the bottom of the pot and tuck it into the pile of rice shards – it’s delicious.

variation

  • replace the peas and beans with 3 medium potatoes; boil until soft, cut into slices and assemble in a wide heavy-bottomed saucepan, starting with potatoes first (for a crusty potato bottom), then rice, herbs, potatoes, rice, herbs, rice then the remaining ghee.

beetroot fennel quinoa pilaf with a leafy lemon garden herb salad

8th May 2014

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Create an INTENTION to practise conscious eating, connecting to your food with all of your senses and with a grateful attitude.  Here are a few mindful intentions that help to guide me.

Invite a feeling of gratitude and thanks by blessing your food before and after eating.

Nourish yourself by practising silence when eating your food.

Take the intention to always sit down to eat.

Eat only when hungry and drink only when thirsty.

Nutrients are better absorbed when meals are kept simple, not mixing too many different foods together.

Thoroughly chew your food and eat slowly.

Increase awareness and avoid drinking large quantities of liquid, especially cold when eating.

Open your heart by using candles, special dishes, flowers to create beauty around meal-time.

Never eat in an agitated or angry state and always eat in a calm, relaxed, settled and quiet atmosphere.

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beetroot fennel quinoa pilaf

A favourite way of serving this is with a freshly made still warm hummus and a leafy, lemon, garden herb salad. When I am short of time, I put everything into the pot to cook with the quinoa – not as aesthetically looking, but still deliciously tasty. This could be made with rice, barley, millet or any grain of choice.

ingredients 

1 cup quinoa

1½ cups water

1 small fennel bulb

1 medium beetroot

1 medium carrot

for the voggarane

2 tsp ghee

½ heaped tsp cumin seeds

½ heaped tsp coriander seeds

½ tsp pink peppercorns

2 Tbsp small black currants

1 tsp fine rock salt

preparation 

1.  Wash the quinoa and let sit in water for 10 minutes, drain and place in a saucepan with 1½ cups water, bring to boil, turn down the heat and simmer, covered until water has evaporated. (Try to just under-cook the quinoa slightly – it gives a nice texture and nutty bite).  Let sit undisturbed for 15 minutes.

2.  Finely slice the fennel, cut the beetroot and carrot into small uniformed pieces. (Cutting them small allows them to become tender quicker without overcooking the fennel.)

prepare the voggarane

3.  In a mortar and pestle, roughly grind the cumin, coriander and peppercorns – set aside.

4.  Heat ghee in a small pan, add cumin, coriander and peppercorns, saute for 1 minute, then add the fennel, carrot and beetroot – cover and saute on a low heat until just tender, 12 -15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5.  Add currants and quinoa.  With a fork, fluff up the quinoa as you stir to combine, season with salt and garnish with finely chopped fennel fronds.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

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lemon leafy garden herb salad with a pine nut lemon dressing

for the salad 

a mixture of small garden leaves of parsley, fennel, mustard, spinach, lettuce and coriander

edible garden flowers

1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced

1 avocado, cut into small cubes

for the dressing 

¼ cup pine nuts

1 Tbsp sesame seeds

½ juice of a lemon

pinch of salt

freshly ground pepper

¼ cup cold press olive/flax oil

preparation

1.  In a skillet, dry-roast the pine nuts and sesame seeds until golden, remove from heat and transfer to a bowl to cool, then roughly chop 2 tablespoons and set aside.

2.  In a blender, place the remaining pine nuts with the rest of the ingredients and blend on high for 1 minute.  While blender is running add the oil, blend until thick and creamy and transfer to a jar and set aside.

3.  Gently wash the garden flowers separately, and place on a cloth to dry. Wash and spin the salad leaves and place in a bowl with the cucumber and avocado.

4.  Shake the dressing and drizzle over the salad and lightly toss.  Sprinkle over the lemon rind, pine nuts and edible garden flowers.

Find a quiet place, bless, and enjoy with gratitude.

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Goodness shared from Stacey

quinoa, lentils, brown rice & roasted mini capsicums

7th April 2010

Over the last few weeks, since the weather has become cooler, I have been attempting to get my vegetable garden back into some sort of order.  Our Summer was a very hot one, so any seedlings that were planted quickly wilted and did not thrive.  Finally, I have been able to see some progress.  My first plucking of anything other than rocket or herbs has been these cute mini capsicums in orange, yellow and red.  They are just beginning to ripen in bunches that are perfect roasted whole.

I decided to use them in my ‘one pot’ rice and lentil dish.  Another variation on the dish I posted earlier this year.  A perfect dish when a ‘no fuss’ healthy dinner is the plan and there are limited supplies in the fridge/pantry.  This time, I roasted cubed pumpkin with the whole mini capsicums.  Cherry tomatoes would also be perfect, but I did not have any on hand.

brown rice quinoa lentils  & roasted vegetables

Any mixture of grains or lentils you have on hand can be used.  I used 1 cup of grains to ½ cup lentils, then nearly double the water.  I would not use red lentils as they just go mushy – a lentil that stays whole when cooked works best.   Also, any nuts or combination of vegetables to roast would work nicely as well (cubed fresh beetroot, sweet potato, turnip, whole cherry tomatoes, cubed eggplant, zucchini).

ingredients 

½ cup brown rice

½ cup quinoa (white or red, or a mixture)

¼ cup brown lentils

¼ cup French green lentils

2¾ cup water

¼ pumpkin, peeled and cubed

handful whole mini capsicums or a large one, in chunks

1 tsp fennel seeds

juice of 1 lemon

1 Tbsp olive oil (or oil from labne)

3 – 4 heaped Tbsp labne (or drained Greek yoghurt/feta)

a generous handful of fresh continental parsley and basil leaves

2 Tbsp pine nuts, toasted and lightly smashed

salt and freshly ground black pepper

preparation 

1.  Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

2.  Rinse rice, quinoa and lentils and place in a heavy-bottomed saucepan with water.  Bring to a gentle boil, and return to simmer.  Cover and leave undisturbed until all water has evaporated, about 20 – 30 minutes.

3.  Meanwhile, toss pumpkin and capsicum in a sprinkling of olive oil and the fennel seeds and place in a single layer on a baking tray lined with baking paper.  Bake until edges begin to brown, about 15 – 20 minutes.

4.  When water has absorbed into the rice mixture, fluff with a fork, then add lemon juice and olive oil.  Mix in well and add roasted vegetables, labne, herbs, pine nuts.

5.  Season with salt and pepper and serve either warm or cold.

 Goodness shared from Donna

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