I believe we've already shared with one another our appreciation of Anna Jones. Well, I have now made several dishes from a modern way to cook, all terrific, but there is one in particular that I feel is worthy of my inaugural post! It is called Sesame, Pistachio, and Preserved Lemon Crispy Rice. Snappy title, no, it is not. Perhaps it was thought such a descriptive name would preclude the need for a photo? I'm sure you'll agree that it doesn't, and I wish there had been a picture in the cookbook, but that's a minor complaint (and I'm not really complaining at all because I love this recipe, and also because you told me I should be positive in my posts). The crispy rice is accompanied by an herbed yogurt, which I have veganized to great success, using Sojami's 'crème fraîche'. Can you get Sojami in London? There's only one store in Brussels where I've found it (Bio Shanti), so I go out of my way to stock up. In any case, I highly recommend you make this dish for yourself, for loved ones, and especially for vegan skeptics. I have copied the instructions below - I hope not illegally - straight from the book.
**Confession** I was initially intimidated by this recipe as it calls for both saffron and cardamom pods, neither of which I had cooked with before. But Eleanor Roosevelt once famously advised, “Do every day one thing that scares you”, and in this case I’m glad I faced my fears*.
*Fears I am not glad to have faced include snowboarding, segways, bananas, and spiders.
Sesame, Pistachio, and Preserved Lemon Crispy Rice by Anna Jones
Serves 4 (Or 3 servings, in my case...)
150 g brown basmati rice (I used white basmati)
A knob of coconut oil
A good pinch of saffron
6 cardamom pods
4 tablespoons sesame seeds
4 preserved lemons
A small bunch of parsley
A small bunch of dill
100 ml yoghurt (I used Sojami crème fraiche)
1 unwaxed lemon
A couple of handfuls of rocket or watercress
Get all your ingredients out and fill and boil a kettle.
Rinse your rice under cold running water for a minute or so then put the rice into a measuring jug and make a note of where it comes up to. Put a pan on a medium heat and add a knob of coconut oil. Once hot, add the rice and fry in the oil for a couple of minutes. Next, fill the measuring jug with the same volume of hot water from the kettle as the rice and add to the pan, then repeat so you have double the amount of water to rice in the pan. Add the saffron and bashed cardamom pods to the pan as well. Put a lid on and cook for 15 minutes, until the rice has absorbed all the water and is fluffy.
While the rice is cooking, toast the sesame seeds and pistachios in a dry frying pan until just browned and fragrant. Halve the preserved lemons and scoop out the middles and discard, then finely chop the rind. Remove the seeds from the pomegranate. I do this by cutting it in half and holding one half, cut-side down, in my hand over a bowl and tapping with a wooden spoon so that the seeds fall out. Chop the parsley and dill leaves. Mix the yoghurt with the juice and zest of the lemon and the herbs and season well.
Once the rice is ready, make three holes in it and add a little more coconut oil to each, put on a high heat for 8 minutes so that the rice crisps up at the bottom. Once crispy, take off the heat and spoon onto a platter. Mix with the nuts, seeds, preserved lemon and pomegranate seeds. Serve generous bowls of the rice topped with the herbed yoghurt and some of the rocket or watercress.