Vegetable Rice

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Recipe by Route 79


I'm really fussy about rice. For all my life it's been such a staple part of my diet that I cannot bear to eat rice unless it's done perfectly the way I like it. I guess you could call me a "rice-snob" - because I turn my nose up (and will refuse to eat) rice served in any office canteen or bistro or restaurant (except Indian or Chinese) because I know that it will be simply awful. I have also noticed that some Indian restaurants in UK are really bad with the quality oftheir rice preparation - I guess it's because they think they can get away with it without anyone noticing.

rice cooked Indian-style is often the main bit of carbohydrate accompaniment to a "saucy" vegetable or meat dish. You could treat the following instructions as a kind of Delia Smith-style teach-in on how to cook the perfect bowl of rice - but I've had a couple of requests for a treatment on "vegetable rice" so this is what we will do here. (If you want plain rice - then the recipe is exactly the same - but without the masala and mixed veg.)

Vegetable rice is sometimes known as "pilau" rice - although here in UK - "pilau" rice is synonymous with the multicoloured rice. Calling it "vegetable pilau" is more accurate. Normally when cooking rice as an accompaniment to a "saucy" Indian dish - you do plain rice - but if you have a "dry" dish (e.g. tandoori Chicken or shish-kebab) then instead of doing plain rice - do vegetable rice to accompany the "dry" (not saucy) meat.

Now - I don't have any purpose-taken pictures of the cooking method for vegetable rice - so I am using pictures from my archive that as much as possible - assembling them in such a way that accurately reflects the different steps in the method. Amazingly - there is only one step that I don't have a picture of - so I will use words instead of picture there.


And yes - I said i was a rice-snob: ONLY basmati rice WILL DO. Do not use any other form of rice - e.g. American Long grain, hippy wild-rice or that yukky brown rice or Uncle Ben's, Uncle Tom's and other old cobbly. Use only basmati rice from India or Pakistan or China. Tilda is a popular brand that you can find in the "world food" aisle at your local supermarket.

The froxen mixed veg should be the type that you find already prepared for you in bags in the supermarket freezer compartments. The one I reccomend is the one with small baby carrots, Peas, Sweetcorn, green-beans and maybe chunks of green and red pepper. You might not find bags with all of the above in them - so it doesn't matter if (say) the bag doesn't contain pepper or green beans. Just make sure you DON'T get the mixed veg where the Sweetcorn are the "baby Sweetcorn cobs" and DON'T get ones with "broad beans" or "chopped carrot". If it has Sweetcorn in it - make sure it's the juicy Sweetcorn kernels, if it has beans in it - make sure it's green beans (long, thin dark-green stalky things) and if it's got carrot in it - make sure it's whole baby carrots. Also - the Peas should be Peas - not "mange-tout".


Make sure the rice is washed of all "starch" throughly. We do this by pouring the rice into a sieve and placing the sieve into a bowl and placing the bowl in the sink with the cold water tap pouring into it. We let the water run (be careful not to have powerful jet - as this is wasteful of water) for a few mins - and then let the rice drain by balancing the sieve on top of the small cup that you used to measure the rice in the first place:

Rice being washed inside sieve inside bowl inside sink
Rice being drained over the measuring cup

Chop the onions coarsely
Heat oil and fry the jeera seeds untill popping

Fry the onion untill they are translucentish

Add the water then cover and simmer

Prepare low-flame burner
Make sure it's on a really LOW flame!

Recipe by Route 79

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