Basmati & Curry Casserole

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have the faintest idea of what my day looked like yesterday.

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{This was at 10 am-ish at work.}

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{This is this morning in our yard.}

It snowed, and it snowed hard.

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But when it’s all said and done, I’d guess we got maybe 4 inches? But with the freezing temperatures, high winds, power outages, and ill-prepared Washingtonian’s (it rarely snows like this here and usually not this early in the season), the roads were a nightmare.

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(Source)

We live in a very hilly area so negotiating the iced over hills was pretty daunting. I ended up riding with my boss to his wife’s work then camping out there while one of the doctor’s walked to Schuck’s in the blistering cold to get chains for his and our vehicle. I finally managed to get home more than three hours later. And between a low phone battery and no power, I was extremely anxious about the husband making it home. But he did, safe and sound, 4 1/2 hours later.

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We ended up camping out in the living room. (I managed to get the gas fireplace started during one of the bouts of power so it stayed lit all night.) Wine, chips, sandwiches, and sausage constituted out dinner. I debated eating these leftovers, cold from our fridge but decided to hold out.

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Adapted from Eating Well’s Basmati Rice & Curry Casserole (Chana aur Sarson ka Saag Biryani)

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Anyone that takes a quick glance at my recipe page knows I am a lover of curry! I’m always looking for new and different ways to incorporate Indian spices into my life. So when I saw this casserole recipe, I wanted to try it. But then I saw the time, the ingredient list, and instructions, and was a bit hesitant. I’ll admit it. I’m a lazy cook. I like quick and easy. And many of the ingredients I didn’t have on hand and I’m not trying to go broke so I decided to still try it out but made a bunch of modifications along the way.

6 servings, about 1 cup each | Active Time: 1 hour | Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes

Ingredients
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 large red onion, 1/2 coarsely chopped and 1/2 thinly sliced
  • 1 4oz can of green chili’s, drained
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 cup craisins
  • 1/4 cup raw pistachios
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 2 3-inch cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 cup white basmati rice, preferably Indian or Pakistani
  • 1 bunch mustard greens, tough ribs removed, leaves finely chopped
  • 8 ounces cauliflower, cut into 1/2-inch florets
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
  • 2 cups water, divided
Preparation
  1. Puree tomatoes, chopped onion and chiles to taste in a food processor, scraping down the sides as needed, to make a smooth sauce.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add cumin seeds, cardamom pods, and cinnamon sticks to the pan and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the sliced onion and cook, stirring, until light brown, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Carefully pour in the pureed tomato mixture (it may spatter) and reduce heat to medium. Stir in garam masala, salt and turmeric. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid evaporates, about 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, place rice in a medium bowl. Cover with water. Gently rub the rice through your fingers to wash the grains. (The water will become cloudy.) Drain. Repeat three or four times, until the water remains relatively clear. Then cover the rice with cold water and let it sit for 20 minutes. Drain.
  5. Remove cinnamon sticks from tomato mixture. Stir mustard greens, cauliflower, chickpeas and 1 cup water into the tomato sauce. Cover and remove from the heat.
  6. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  7. Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the drained rice and remaining 1 cup water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, uncovered, until the water has evaporated from the surface and craters are starting to appear in the rice, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  8. Spread half the chickpea curry evenly in the prepared baking dish. Spread the rice mixture on top of the curry. Spoon the remaining chickpea mixture over the rice. Scatter the craisins and pistachios over the top. Cover with foil. Bake until the rice is tender, 45 to 55 minutes.

Puree tomatoes, chopped onion and chiles to taste in a food processor, scraping down the sides as needed, to make a smooth sauce.

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Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add cumin seeds, cardamom pods, and cinnamon sticks to the pan and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute.

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Add the sliced onion and cook, stirring, until light brown, 2 to 3 minutes.

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Carefully pour in the pureed tomato mixture (it may spatter) and reduce heat to medium.

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Stir in garam masala, salt and turmeric.

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Simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid evaporates, about 15 minutes.

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Meanwhile, place rice in a medium bowl. Cover with water. Gently rub the rice through your fingers to wash the grains. (The water will become cloudy.) Drain. Repeat three or four times, until the water remains relatively clear. Then cover the rice with cold water and let it sit for 20 minutes. Drain.

{Jodus did this step using a strainer and a bowl of water.}

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Remove cinnamon sticks from tomato mixture.

{The cardamom pods will be forever lost in our intestinal systems!}

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Stir mustard greens, cauliflower, chickpeas and 1 cup water into the tomato sauce.

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Cover and remove from the heat.

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Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the drained rice and remaining 1 cup water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, uncovered, until the water has evaporated from the surface and craters are starting to appear in the rice, 5 to 8 minutes.

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Remove from the heat.

Spread half the chickpea curry evenly in the prepared baking dish.

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Spread the rice mixture on top of the curry.

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Spoon the remaining chickpea mixture over the rice.

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Scatter the craisins and pistachios over the top.

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Cover with foil.

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Bake until the rice is tender, 45 to 55 minutes.

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So the flavors in this were really good and pretty typical of curry. The craisens were especially nice.

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But honestly, the baking part of this dish was a huge waste of time and just created extra dishes. I don’t think it really added anything to the meal. If I were to make this again, I would omit the baking part and just throw the rice in with the veggies and tomato mixture, heat through, and top our plates with craisens and pistachios. 174

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2 Responses

  1. I agree with you about the addition of baking it! When we want to eat, we’s want to eat now! It’s amazing how different the snow situation is in our states…we have nearly 2 feet of snow and sub-zero tempertures and life goes on as normal! To us in the northern tundra you just got a light dusting….

  2. I wish I lived somewhere that rarely got snow. Last winter it snowed at some point every day from Dec-Feb. I almost went insane. lol

    That curry looks good. A lot of work.

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