Basmati and Wild Rice with Chickpeas, Cranberries and Herbs

I hardly ever cook directly from cookbooks, but lately that hasn’t been the case. My newest acquisition is

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I’ve been cooking from this book for a few weeks now. It’s a book that I’ve been wanting to get for a long time. My partner, B, has Yotam’s vegetarian cookbook Plenty which came out in May 2010. I had considered buying that but it didn’t “grab” me the same way that this one did.

Spicy carrot salad with filfel chuma

Fried heirloom tomatoes with filfel chuma, garlic and parsley

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Caulilfower with tahini, pomegranate molasses and mint

While I’m not a vegetarian, I do like that many of the recipes in “Jerusalem” are vegan. Some great examples are spicy carrot salad (a nice twist on a Moroccan carrot salad) and fried tomatoes with garlic, both of which are pictured above.

As a side note, dinners have been relatively uninspired this week. I don’t have many fresh vegetables in the pantry, a side effect of having gone out of town for a while. I’m also missing B terribly. I can hardly find it within myself to cook the way I usually do. Although he’s not physically with me right now, he has a presence in the apartment even though at this very moment, he’s on the other side of the country.

I’m counting down the days until we see each other again. I guess that’s what happens when you’re in love, right?

Wild and basmati rice, with spiced chickpeas, crispy fried onion and herbs

Wild and basmati rice, with spiced chickpeas, crispy fried onion and herbs

Basmati and Wild Rice with Chickpeas, Cranberries and Herbs, partly adapted from Jerusalem, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi.

There are five major components to this dish: the rices, the chickpeas, the onion, the herbs and the dried fruit. I subbed dried cranberries for the currants because it’s what I had on hand (but I reduced the amount because dried cranberries are sweeter and larger than currants to begin with). I also substituted fennel fronds and fennel stems for the dill, and panch phoron for the curry powder.

1/3 cup wild rice
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup basmati rice
1 1/2 cups boiling water
2 teaspoons black cumin seeds
1 teaspoon panch phoron
1 1/2 cups cooked and drained chickpeas (canned are fine)
3/4 cup sunflower oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1/3 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped fennel fronds
sea salt, to taste
freshly milled black pepper, to taste

Start by putting the wild rice in a small saucepan. Cover with plenty of water and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 40 minutes until the rice is cooked but still quite firm. Drain and set aside.

To cook the basmati rice, pour 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium saucepan with a tightly fitting lid and place over high heat. Add the rice and a pinch of sea salt. Stir as you warm up the rice. Carefully add the boiling water, decrease heat to very low and cover the pan with the lid. Cook for 15 minutes.

Remove pan from heat, cover with a clean tea towel and then the lid, and leave off the heat for 10 minutes.

While the rice is cooking, prepare the chickpeas. Heat the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in a small saucepan over high heat. Add the black cumin seeds and panch phoron, wait for a couple of seconds, and then add the chickpeas and a pinch of sea salt. Make sure you do this quickly or the spices may burn in the oil. Stir over the heat for a minute or two, just enough to heat the chickpeas, then transfer to a large bowl.

Chickpeas

Wipe the saucepan clean, pour in the sunflower oil, and place over high heat. Make sure the oil is hot by throwing in a small piece of onion; it should sizzle vigorously. Use your hands to mix the onion with the flour to coat it slightly. Take some of the onion and carefully place it in the oil. As you do this, try to ensure that the pan isn’t crowded. Fry for 2-3 minutes, until golden brown, then transfer the onion to paper towels to drain. Lightly sprinkle the onion with sea salt. Repeat in batches until all of the onions are fried.

Add both the basmati rice and the wild rice to the chickpeas. Add the dried cranberries, herbs, fennel fronds and fried onion. Stir and taste for salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Time: About 1 1/2 hours, including prep.

This recipe is sized for six servings.

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