- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 cinnamon stick or Â½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 cloves
- 2 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
- 1 bay leaf or 3 curry leaves
- 2â€“3 teacups cooked long grain rice, preferably basmati
- finely chopped fresh coriander, to serve
Nothing could be simpler than adding some sweetly browned onion and gentle spices â€“ in fact, there is some evidence that adding turmeric to reheated rice not only tinges it with its marvellous colour and flavour but inhibits bacteriological activity as well. You could use leftover boiled potatoes instead of rice in this dish.
- Heat the olive oil in a pan, add the onion, then cover and cook gently until soft. Remove the lid, add the garlic, spices and bay leaf or curry leaves and cook gently until the onion just begins to turn brown â€“ it will add a caramel depth to the rice when they are mixed together.
- To refresh the cooked rice, tip it into rapidly boiling water, bring the water back to the boil for 30 seconds, then drain very thoroughly. Fork the onion mixture into the rice with all its oil. Scatter chopped fresh coriander on top, then serve warm with pitta bread and plain yogurt .
- You could also:
- LentilsÂ Kichri,Â as this dish is known in India, is an ancient staple food (and the origin of Anglo-Indian kedgeree). Substitute cooked lentils or split peas (either leftover or from a can, warmed through first) for half the rice.
- Toasted nuts or dried fruit: Scatter a good handful of toasted pistachios or flaked almonds over the spiced rice right at the end or, alternatively, a handful of raisins.
- Spicing things upÂ Add Â½ deseeded and chopped red chilli to the onion as it cooks.
- â€˜Tempered oilâ€™:Â Instead of adding browned onion to the rice, flavour it simply with oil and spices. Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a small pan until shimmering but not smoking. Add your favourite flavour: some lemon zest, chopped ginger, garlic or fresh chilli, or a couple of cardamom pods, a star anise, some cumin seeds or a cinnamon stick. Keep the heat on moderate and stir the flavours around, removing them with a slotted spoon before they colour or burn. Fork this flavoured oil through the refreshed rice and then scatter chopped coriander on top.
- Kedgeree:Flake almost any leftover cooked fish into the gently spiced rice, just enough to warm it through. Smoked haddock is traditional, but ends of smoked salmon are also good. You could even use a small can of tuna. I like to add a knob of butter and a dollop of single cream to make the dish richer and moister. Scatter a few chopped spring onions or parsley over the top before serving.