Thursday, May 12, 2005

Basmati Rice and Curry Casserole

Basmati Rice and Curry Casserole (Adapted from Eating Well)

2 large tomatoes
1 large red onion
4 serrano chiles, stemmed
3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup raw cashews
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
4 cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
2 3" cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 cup white basmati rice
8 ounces mustard greens, tough ribs removed, leaves finely chopped
8 ounces cauliflower, cut into 1/2" florets
15 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
2 cups water, divided
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads

Coarsely chop tomatoes. Split the red onion in half - coarsely chop one half and slice the other into thin half moons.

In a food processor, add tomatoes, the coarsely chopped onions and stemmed chiles - process until smooth.

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil medium-high. Stir in raisins and cashews - cook, stirring, until the raisins are plump and the nuts are lightly brown, about 1 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, scoop the mixture to a plate, leave as much oil as possible behind.

Stir cumin seeds, cardamom pods, bay leaves and cinnamon sticks into the oil - cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the sliced onion - cook until light brown, about 3 minutes.

Carefully pour the smooth tomato mixture into the skillet and reduce heat to medium. Stir in garam masala, 3/4 teaspoon salt and turmeric. Simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid evaporates, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, place rice in a medium bowl and cover with water. Rub the rice through your fingers to wash the grains. Drain and repeat until the water remains relatively clear, about 3 to 4 times total. Cover the rice once more with cold water and let sit for 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Stir mustard greens, cauliflower, chickpeas and 1 cup water into the skillet. Cover and remove from the heat.

Preheat oven to 350

In a medium saucepan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Stir in the drained rice and saffron. Add the remaining 1 cup water and 1/4 teaspoon salt - 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, about 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Spread half the chickpea curry evenly over the bottom of a 9" x 13" baking dish coated with nonstick spray. Spread the rice mixture on top of the curry. Spoon the remaining chickpea mixture over the rice. Scatter the reserved raisins and cashews over the top. Cover with foil and place in the oven - bake until the rice is tender, about 45 to 50 minutes. Before serving, try and pick out the bay leaves, cardamom pods and cinnamon sticks.

Makes about 6 servings.

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