Brown rice, spices and dried fruit, dotted with pomegranate and pistachios. Served warm or cold, this is a truly flavoursome lunch or dinner, with a fantastic contrast of textures and colours.
Brown rice is one of my favourite wholegrains. I like to use it in soups, stews, bowls and salads as well as an accompaniment to curries. However, this is one of my favourite ways to eat rice and it is a crowd pleaser too. It is excellent for feeding lots of people, either on its own or as a side dish and it is also lovely cold for picnics, BBQs and packed lunches.
As the bran and germ of brown rice are still intact the vitamins, minerals and fibre all remain – unlike white rice which has little nutritional benefit. As well as being an excellent source of fibre, brown rice also fuels our bodies with manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium and thiamin. It is also a good source of protein. The carbohydrates in brown rice are complex, so will be released slowly into the body, helping to stabilise blood sugar levels and it also keeps us fuller for longer. Who says we shouldn’t eat carbs?
In this dish, the rice is flavoured with warming spices and has a sweet kick from dried cranberries, apricots and raisins. It is then topped with juicy pomegranate seeds and crunchy pistachios.
The dried fruit is first soaked in hot water to plump it up.
The onion and garlic are sautéed until softened. The spices are added and then the rice is stirred in to coat it in the spice mixture.
Vegetable stock is poured over the spiced rice and it is left to simmer until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender.
The dried fruit is then combined with the fragrant spiced rice. It is served with a scattering of toasted pistachios and some pretty pink pomegranate seeds.