I spent quite a while trying to come up with a name for these rice recipes before concluding that perhaps I should just call it what I always refer to it as: jazzy rice. It’s rice, jazzed up! I made these rices for a family buffet recently, so I wanted to appeal to all tastes: those who like wholegrain, those who prefer white, those with a taste for spice and others who prefer a refreshing taste.
Of course, these can all be interchanged and the ingredients can be swapped depending on your likes and dislikes. The quantities that I’ve given will make the amounts pictured, but I can’t specify how many it serves as it depends what you eat with it (or how hungry you are!)
My basic ‘jazzy rice’ advice is as follows:
- Choose your favourite rice, or even bulgur wheat, quinoa or spelt.
- Add 3 – 4 spices, to take you in a certain flavour direction: Indian (turmeric, cumin and chilli powder); African (ras el hanout, ginger and cumin); Cajun (cayenne, paprika and oregano) or any others that you enjoy.
- Add a crunch: be it toasted almonds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, roasted chickpeas…
- Add a sweetness: sultanas, pomegranate seeds or dried apricots work well.
- Choose 1 – 2 vegetables for colour and goodness.
Recipe 1: Spicy wholegrain rice
- 1 cup wholegrain basmati rice
- 1/4 onion
- 1/4 red pepper
- 1/4 cup frozen/fresh peas
- 1/4 cup sultanas
- 1/3 cup chickpeas (soaked if using dried)
- 3 jalapeno rings (I use jarred)
- 1 heaped tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- chilli powder (to taste)
- 1 tsp olive oil (or any oil)
- Roll the chickpeas in some kitchen roll to ensure they’re dry and will go crunchy in the oven.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and toss the chickpeas in a teaspoon of olive oil. Place these in the oven for around 40 minutes, or until they’re golden and crunchy but not burned!
- Finely chop the pepper and onions into small cubes.
- If your peas are frozen, get them out of the freezer to be defrosting.
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the turmeric, cumin seeds, paprika and chilli powder.
- When the oil is sizzling, add the onion and peppers and fry them in the spices until soft.
- Add the rice and quickly coat it in the spices, before adding 2 cups of cold water (or whatever the packet specifies if it’s different).
- Try not to stir the rice as this can make it mushy, but do add more water and shake it a little if it starts to dry up before it’s looking cooked.
- Add the peas when the rice is almost cooked and there is still a little water to be absorbed.
- When the rice is cooked and there is no water left, turn off the heat and stir in the sultanas, jalapenos and chickpeas with a fork to fluff up the rice.
Recipe 2: Refreshing white rice
- 1 cup white basmati rice
- 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
- Around an inch of cucumber, diced
- Juice of 1/4 lime
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
- Cook the rice according to the instructions.
- Allow the rice to properly cool, before stirring in the pomegranate seeds, diced cucumber and fennel seeds.
- Lightly toast the pumpkin seeds in a frying pan, and add them to the rice once cooled.
- Squeeze over the lime juice and mix with a fork.