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.
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|Prep Time||10 minutes|
|Cook Time||30-40 minutes|
- 250 g Wholegrain Brown Rice Rinsed
- 1 medium Onion Chopped finely
- 1 clove garlic Crushed
- 1 stick Cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp Ground Turmeric
- 1 tsp Coriander Seeds
- 10 Cardamom Pods Seeds Removed
- 600 ml Vegetable Stock
- 50 g Dried Cranberries
- 60 g Raisins
- 75 g Dried Apricots Chopped into small pieces
- 75 g Pistachios Shelled
- 1/2 Pomegranate Seeds Removed
- Black Pepper
- Put the dried fruit into a heatproof jug and cover with boiling water to soak.
- Crush the cardamom pods slightly and remove the seeds. Add them to a dry pan with the coriander seeds and fry over a medium heat until they become fragrant. Remove from the pan to a pestle and mortar and crush to a course powder.
- Rinse the rice in several changes of water.
- Add the chopped onion to a large pan on the hob. Saute on a medium heat for around 10 minutes until softened. Add the garlic after 5 minutes. Add a splash of water if the vegetables start to stick.
- Stir in the crushed spices along with the turmeric and cinnamon. Add the rice and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring to coat the rice with the spices. Add 1/2 tsp salt.
- Pour in the stock, bring to the boil then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 30-35 minutes until the rice becomes tender and the liquid is all absorbed.
- Drain the dried fruit and stir it into the cooked rice with a fork. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile, toast the chopped pistachio nuts in a dry pan over a medium heat until slightly golden. Remove the seeds from 1/2 a pomegranate.*
- Serve the rice sprinkled with the pomegranate seeds and toasted pistachios.
*I remove the seeds from a pomegranate by cutting the pomegranate in half, holding one half cut side down in my palm over a bowl.and whacking the skin of the fruit with a wooden spoon. The seeds fall out through my fingers into the bowl.