Basmati and Wild Rice with Chickpeas, Currents and Herbs is naturally vegan and gluten free, and would be a great addition to any fall or holiday table.

I’ve been going crazy for Indian and Middle Eastern rice dishes lately.  This one, from my new cookbook Jerusalem, had me right from the title.  Each nutty grain of basmati rice is separate, but not dry, the chick peas are spiced and creamy, the wild rice, chewy, and the tiny little currents pack a sweet zing.  And the title doesn’t even make mention of those insane crispy fried onions on top.  Have mercy.

This certainly looks festive enough for celebrations or entertaining, but I see it as an everyday vegetarian main course.  Or, make it on Sunday and brown bag it for lunch all week.  Heck, I ate it for breakfast.

My appreciation for basmati rice is growing by leaps and bounds.  I love its firm texture, I love the nutty aroma.  It all started with my Indian Style Basmati Rice, and then there was my Persian Jeweled Rice, and finally this Saffron Rice.  This dish has a completely different vibe going on, though.  Fried onions, chick peas, currents and fresh herbs replace the saffron, pomegranates, dried fruits and nuts in the other recipes.

The funny thing is, I’ve never been much of a rice eater.  I grew up on Minute Rice.  I imagine that’s why I never order rice as a side dish and still to this day I think of it as flavorless, boring, ‘filler’ calories.  My foray into these Middle Eastern and Indian recipes has changed all that and I’m starting to appreciate that rice can be the exciting centerpiece for a meal.

I made a few minor adjustments to the recipe which I was happy with, so I noted those in red.  I used a little more wild rice (which isn’t really a rice at all, it’s a grass) and reduced the amount of basmati rice because I wanted a chunky, satisfying main dish with a high ratio of other ingredients  to white basmati rice.

Basmati and Wild Rice with Chickpeas, Currents and Herbs (vegan and gluten free)

Yield: serves 6

Basmati and Wild Rice with Chickpeas, Currents and Herbs (vegan and gluten free)

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup wild rice (I used 1/2 cup)
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 1/4 cups basmati rice (I made the full amount, but only used about half of the cooked rice)
  • scant 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp curry powder (I used garam masala spice mix, mainly because I was out of curry)
  • 1 1/2 cups drained chickpeas (I used one 14 oz can)
  • 3/4 cup sunflower oil
  • 1 medium onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 tsp all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour (I used a few tablespoons to make the dredging easier)
  • 2/3 cup dried currents
  • 2 Tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley (I doubled or tripled the amount of chopped herbs)
  • 1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp chopped dill
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Cover the wild rice with plenty of water and bring to a boil in a small saucepan. Simmer for about 40 minutes, then drain and set aside.
  2. To cook the basmati rice, pour a tablespoon of the olive oil into a medium saucepan with a tight fitting lid and heat on high. Add the rice and 1/4 tsp of salt and stir to combine the rice and oil. Carefully add in the boiling water, lower heat to very low, cover, and let cook for 15 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat, remove the cover, lay a clean towel over the pan, re-cover, and let sit for 10 minutes.
  4. Heat the remaining 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil in a saucepan over high heat. Add the cumin seeds and the curry, then the chickpeas and 1/4 tsp of salt. Stir fry the chickpeas for a couple of minutes, then transfer them to a large bowl.
  5. Wipe out the pan and pour in the safflower oil. Heat until very hot. Toss the onions with the flour, separating the onion rings as you do. Check to see if the oil is hot enough by dropping an onion in. It should sizzle vigorously. Dust any excess flour off the onions and fry them, in batches, until deep golden brown. This should only take a couple of minutes. Set the onions on paper towels to drain.
  6. Mix the two rices, the chickpeas, currents and herbs together in a bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste, and top with the fried onions. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes

~~~ from Jerusalem

http://theviewfromgreatisland.com/basmati-and-wild-rice-with-chickpeas-currents-and-herbs-vegan-and-gluten-free/

This is the second vegetarian/vegan and gluten free recipe I’ve posted this week—I don’t seek them out or formulate them on purpose to be vegan or gluten free, but I’m trying to notice when they happen that way.  I’m also trying to be more conscious about throwing gratuitous bits of animal protein, especially cheese, into recipes when it’s not really necessary.
Enjoy!

 

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22 Responses to Basmati and Wild Rice with Chickpeas, Currents and Herbs (vegan and gluten free)

  1. Ann says:

    This looks like a great dish. It is NOT gluten-free with the all-purpose flour, but you could definitely substitute a GF all-purpose flour. Maybe add a note as those who might consider making this dish for a gluten-free friend would end up making their friend very sick with this recipe.

  2. Sky Kerslake says:

    The amount of rice in the book I believe is an error, since 220g of rice is about 1 1/4 cups, not 2 1/4 cups. I made the dish exactly as in the book, except reduced the amount of basmati rice and I thought it was outstanding!

  3. What a wonderful combination of ingredients! The onions on top really does it for me. Beautiful!

  4. Julia says:

    I just stumbled upon your page and the photos are just breathtaking. You such a wonderful job…not to mention the recipe looks amazing as well. So happy to have found you.

  5. Wow, your photos actually made my mouth water, Sue. I don’t eat a lot of meat and I’m always looking for vegetarian dishes with lots of flavor. I would love the little bit of sweetness from the currants. This is a “must try.”

    • Sue says:

      I don’t eat a ton of meat, either, and I particularly love the rice on its own. I will say, tough, that the chicken cooking in the rice adds a lot of flavor, so I might use chicken stock when making the rice on its own.

  6. Yasmeen says:

    No surprise here, but I LOVE this dish (says the Middle Eastern food blogger, ha). Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi are two of my favorite people on earth for bringing MidEastern cuisine to public consciousness in such a beautiful, beautiful way.

    You’ve done such a great job with this dish – looks totally authentic. Love it!

  7. Amy says:

    Beautiful! My sister and I made the book’s Majedra — the lentil and rice dish with crispy fried onions on top. So good and comforting (and those fried onions! Why don’t we put them on everything?). This recipe looks similar, but I love the chickpeas, wild rice, and currants in it. Those are some awesome flavors. I’ll have to try this recipe sometime soon, next time I want a big comforting bowl of rice. :)

  8. Magnolia Verandah says:

    Your right a meal in itself – and hey there is nothing wrong with having this for breakfast! Basmati rice is just the best and we buy it “aged” which is even better, ask about that in your indian grocers a bit more expensive but you can taste the difference. We eat rice several times a week with one thing or another – my mother always baked it under pork or baked it with milk and sugar as a pudding – love it.

    • Sue says:

      I’ve recently discovered authentic basmati rice and it is so incredible. Actually they have so many varieties at our local Indian market that I just randomly choose one and each time it’s different but sooo good.

  9. Joy Bee says:

    This looks and sounds amazing. I always have plenty of basmati and chick peas. Thanks for sharing, this is a definite must try. Maybe I could add some veggies too(eggplant? spinach?)

  10. Mary Younkin says:

    Hey, I had this one marked to try too!! Those crispy fried onions on top pulled me in immediately. I love the sound of it all together.

  11. Not only does the recipe sound amazing, the food styling is just gorgeous, Sue! I want chickpeas for breakfast now! The food looks like it belongs on the pages of Jerusalem!

  12. A stunning dish indeed! I love everything about it and now I want to buy more Basmati rice. Thanks for this lovely trip to Jerusalem.

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