There are some days when a single sentence spoken between two people is the basis of a whole story….or you put together a whole look based on what bag you want to carry…… this meal too came about like that! I had a jar of brown rice sitting in my pantry for more than 8 months. My last 2 attempts at making it were disastrous cos I didnt seem to be cooking it enough. The rice always ended up being so nutty it may as well have remained uncooked and I could forget about K even considering it was edible! A twitter interaction led to a few links and I realised the whole world was recommending cooking brown rice in the electric rice cooker (i wonder why i didnt think of that myself!) Since I am looking at ways to use stuff I have been hoarding, I put the rice into the cooker, put the required amount of water and said a small prayer it wouldn’t be a criminal waste of resources! the rice cooked beautifully and I was very happy I’d finally figured how to do this. Then came about the task of building a meal around this rice. I didnt want to use it in a salad and I was sure I wanted something like a stew which would lend flavour to the rice and help sop it up.
After a couple of internet searches, I decided to make my version of a vegetarian Moroccanish Stew Minus the chickpeas which i didnt have handy as this was a spur of the moment thing. I liked that it was a tomato gravy and that i could add any vegetables of choice…. the whole meal looked so elegant, that when i clicked a picture and sent it to my friend B, she said it looked tempting enough to drive over and share our dinner. It was an evening well spent. ingredients well used, and overall one of the most satisfying meals i have put together, not to mention simple too.
Moroccan – ish Vegetable Stew with Brown Rice (serves 2)
For the Stew:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
4-6 cloves garlic, crushed
3 large tomatoes, choped roughly and whizzed in the blender for 2 seconds till pulpy)
3 cups of assorted vegetables ( i used sliced zucchini, broccoli florets, 3 peeled baby potatoes, red and yellow peppers, 10 button mushrooms halved)
1 cup or more hot water
parboil the potatoes for 5-6 minutes till tender but not fully cooked
50 gms of cottage cheese
8-10 green olives, sliced
Mix together 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon powder, 1 teaspoon of cumin powder, 1 teaspoon of red chilli powder (adjust according to your taste), 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
salt to taste
freshly ground pepper to taste
In a flat bottomed pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. cut the cottage cheese into strips and fry till just turning golden brown on both sides. Take out onto a plate and reserve and try your best not to snack on them till the stew is made.
add the remainder of the oil into the same pan, add the onions and garlic and fry till they are aromatic and the onions are turning soft. Add the spice mix and cook till the raw smell of the spices disappears. Now add the tomatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes till it is simmering. Add the vegetables and stir gently, add salt to taste, cover and cook for about 5-6 minutes, till the vegetables are tender but not overcooked. Add the olives and the strips of browned cottage cheese and gently spoon over some liquid. bring to a boil and turn off the heat. Keep covered for 4-5 minutes. Add a little of the hot water if you need to thin out the gravy. top with freshly ground pepper. Serve hot with brown rice, broken wheat or couscous.
Brown Rice (serves 2)
Equipment needed: Electric rice cooker
proportion of rice and water is 1:4
Wash 1 cup brown rice in water a couple of times. put it into the cooking vessel of the rice cooker. Add 4 measures of water with the same cup that you measured the rice with. Place the cooker on rice cooking function and wait for about 30-40 minutes depending on the function and make of your cooker. As soon as the rice is fully cooked and tender, the cooker will get into the keep warm mode.
other methods of cooking brown rice include pressure cooking it and the stove top method. I haven’t found much success with these two methods.