Saffron Basmati Rice, Curried Potatoes and Chickpeas


There is no rice cooker in my kitchen nor will you find a box of Minute Rice or Uncle Ben’s in my pantry. You will however find an oversized bag of aged Basmati, brown Basmati, Jasmine, Sushi, and wild rice. The brown basmati is for recipes other than Indian as no true Indian dish would include brown rice. The aged Basmati is all I use to accompany my Indian inspired dishes.

I once thought rice was difficult to cook. It isn’t at all! You just need a bit of butter, a healthy amount of salt, and a moments worth of extra time. The extra steps of rinsing and toasting your rice will be well worth it once you realize how much extra flavor and texture is imparted. You really will be tasting rice for the first time!

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Saffron Basmati Rice

1 cup Basmati Rice, thoroughly rinsed and gently toasted

1 3/4 cup water

1 to 2 tabs of butter

1/2 teaspoon Saffron Threads

Salt & Pepper to taste

Method:

Thoroughly rinse rice in a mesh colander until the water runs clear. Allow the rice to drain. In a medium sauté pan (I use cast iron) over medium high heat toast rice, stirring constantly  until the rice is dry, fragrant, and slightly golden. Immediately remove rice from pan and set aside. In a medium sauce pan with a tight fighting lid add the water and  bring up to a boil with a tab of butter, the saffron threads, salt, & pepper to taste. Once boiling stir in the toasted rice, bring water back to a boil, cover pan with lid and reduce the heat to a slow simmer. Simmer the rice on low 20 to 30 minutes. Once rice has cooked fluff with a fork and taste to adjust seasonings. Serve hot with your favorite Indian inspired dish such as the Curried Potatoes and Chickpeas below.

Curried Potatoes and Chickpeas

1 small bag of baby red potatoes, washed and evenly chopped

2 fresh bay leaves

1 tablespoon Bella Gusta Butter Infused Olive Oil (or butter)

1 can organic chickpeas, drained and rinsed (rinsing helps remove excess sodium; you can also used dried chickpeas just be sure to soak them overnight)

1 sweet onion, diced

1 cinnamon stick

4 black cardamom pods

1 tablespoon curry

1 teaspoon Penzeyes Balti Seasoning

1/2 cup chopped Savoy Cabbage, optional

red pepper flakes to taste, optional

salt & pepper

In 3 quart dutch oven add the chopped potatoes and enough water to reach about an inch above the potatoes. Add the bay leaves and bring the potatoes and water up to a boil. Reduce to med high heat and continue boiling the potatoes until they are fork tender. Reserve one cup of the potato water then drain the potatoes and discard the bay leaves. Set aside. In the same dutch oven, heat the Olive Oil and then add the onions, cinnamon stick, and the cardamom pods. Saute until the onions are golden. Add next the curry and Balti Seasoning and saute a minute longer. Fish out and discard the cinnamon stick and cardamom pods. Deglaze the pan with the 1 cup of potato water, add the red pepper flakes if using, the chickpeas, and the potatoes. Stir well and reduce the flame to simmer. Cover and allow to simmer at least 10 to 15 minutes until the sauce has reduced. Some of the potatoes will cook down entirely, which is what you need to help thicken the dish. Feel free to mash more of the potatoes if a thicker consistancy is desired. Add the salt and pepper and adjust seasonings to taste. Just before serving, stir in the cabbage if using. Serve over Saffron Basmati Rice.

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