Vegetable and Nut Pulao Rice

Basmati rice, flavoured with exotic spices and cooked with fresh assorted vegetables, is often called pulao or pilaf.  We pack lots of veggies and nuts into this dinner to make it delicious and nutritious. 

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 10 minutes (plus 30 minutes soaking time for the rice)
Cooking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients
2 cups brown basmati rice, rinsed, soaked for 30 minutes, and drained
4 cups water
2 tsp vegetable bouillon powder
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 large carrot, finely chopped
100g / 3½oz / 1½ cups broccoli, cut into small florets
67g / 2½oz / ½ cup frozen peas
2 fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp garam masala
2 tsp mustard seeds
28g / 1oz / ¼ cup unsalted cashew nuts
28g / 1oz / ¼ cup walnuts, finely chopped
28g / 1oz / ¼ cup toasted sliced almonds
4 tsp linseed, hempseed or walnut oil (optional, but gives an omega-3 boost)
salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Method

    1. Place the rice, water, vegetable bouillon powder, bay leaf and cinnamon stick in a large pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 25-30 minutes.
    2. Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables.  Heat the oil in a large frying pan (griddle) and sauté the onion for 3 minutes.  Add the garlic, vegetables, spices and cashew nuts, and sauté for a further 5 minutes. 
    3. Tip the vegetables into the rice pan, cover with the lid and cook on until the rice has softened and most of the liquid has been absorbed.  Stir occasionally to prevent the rice from sticking.   
    4. Remove from the heat and set aside, covered, for 5 minutes to allow the liquid to be fully absorbed.  Remove and discard the bay leaf and cinnamon stick.  Season, to taste.
    5. Spoon the rice into bowls.  Allow to cool slightly, then mix in the chopped walnuts and seed oil.  Serve with a garnish of toasted sliced almonds, and a side dish of chapattis.

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