Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3.5 cm (12 inch) piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin, plus extra to garnish
1 teaspoon ground coriander
200 g (7 oz) easy-cook brown long-grain rice
400 g (13 oz) can chickpeas, drained
75 g (3 oz) ready-chopped pitted dates
1 litre (14 pints) vegetable stock
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
150 ml (1/4 pint) Greek yogurt
chopped coriander

Instructions

1.Preheat the slow cooker if necessary. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the onion and fry, stirring, for 5 minutes or until softened and just beginning to turn golden.
2.Stir in the garlic, ginger and ground spices and cook for 1 minute. Add the rice, chickpeas, dates, stock and a little salt and pepper and bring to the boil, stirring.
3. Pour into the slow cooker pot, cover with the lid and cook on low for 3-4 hours or until the rice is tender and almost all the stock has been absorbed.
4.When almost ready to serve, make the onion garnish. Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the sliced onion and fry over a medium heat, stirring, until crisp and golden.
5.Stir the pilaf, spoon into bowls and top with a spoonful of the yogurt, a little extra cumin, the onions and a little chopped coriander.
6.FOR CHICKEN & ALMOND PILAF, add 500 g (1 lb) diced boneless, skinless chicken thighs to the frying pan with the onion. Continue as above, omitting the dates.
7. To serve, replace the onion garnish with 40 g (12 oz) flaked almonds, fried in the oil until golden, and a little chopped mint, if liked.

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