Loaded with an array of vegetables, flavored with cilantro and spiced with a few everyday Indian spices, this is something that you should definitely try for your weekday meal. It is lightly spiced and nutritious, is ready in no time and needs only a few basic pantry ingredients. Cilantro adds a great flavor and color to the rice. You can include whatever vegetables are available to you; I’ve used green peas, green beans and carrot. Try this simple yet delicious rice.
2 cups (370 g) uncooked basmati rice
1 cup (16 g) packed fresh cilantro
2 tsp (4 g) chopped green chiles
¼ cup (24 g) grated fresh coconut
1 tsp chopped fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp (30 ml) vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 whole cloves
2 green cardamom pods
1 (1” [2.5-cm]) piece cinnamon stick
2 whole bay leaves
1 cup (160 g) sliced onion
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp Kashmiri red chile powder
¼ cup (36 g) frozen green peas
¼ cup (28 g) chopped green beans
¼ cup (32 g) cubed carrot
Raita, for serving
Wash the rice well with water two or three times, or until the water runs clear. Soak the washed rice in 4 cups (960 ml) of water for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a blender, combine the cilantro, green chiles, coconut, ginger and garlic. Add ¼ cup (60 ml) of water and blend to a smooth paste. Set the paste aside.
In a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds, cloves, green cardamom pods, cinnamon stick and bay leaves, and let them crackle for 2 to 3 seconds. Add the onion and fry, stirring, until the onion is nicely browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Now, add the coriander and Kashmiri red chile powder and fry for 3 to 4 seconds. Add the green peas, green beans and carrot, and sauté for a minute.
Add the cilantro paste that you made earlier along with 3½ cups (840 ml) of water and salt to taste. Drain the water from the soaked rice and add the rice to the saucepan. Mix everything gently, using a spatula.
Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and cook until all the water is absorbed and the rice is tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Once the rice is cooked, remove the pan from the heat and let it rest for 5 minutes. Then, remove the lid and fluff the rice gently, using a large fork. Serve hot with any raita of your choice.