This nutty lemon rice recipe is so simple, yet delicious. Rice (especially basmati rice) is notoriously difficult to cook well. Sometimes it’s claggy, sometimes it’s underdone, and it never seems to take the same amount of time to cook, which can be frustrating when you have lots of other elements to get ready for the same time. Sticky, overdone rice is not pleasant, and it takes no time at all to get from perfect rice to ruined rice.
This method allows you to err on the side of underdone, and prepare ahead. by the time it comes to serving up, it only takes a couple of minutes to finish off.
One of the key ingredients is asafoetida – a savoury, pale yellow spice which you don’t come across very often. It has quite an aromatic flavour, and a very strong and quite strange smell, but bear with it and use a light hand until you’re used to it. Of course, you can use whatever spices you like.
The rice measurement I’ve given is quite approximate, as my best rice cooking trip is to use a little ramekin to measure the rice out as it means you can get the ratio of two parts water to one part rice spot on.
This is especially good served with kebabs or a dry curry, like our chicken satay, but would work great with something saucier too like our beef rendang. Play with the spices to make it taste right with what you’re serving up, and have fun. It’s always going to be better than plain rice, right? Oh, remember to warn people about the cardamom pods unless you want to pick them out before you plate up.
- 50g basmati rice per person
- Big pinch salt
- One chicken stock cube
- 4 cardamom pods
- 1 tbsp oil
- One onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3cm piece of fresh ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon asafoetida
- 1 tsp hot curry powder
- A handful of cashew nuts and peanuts
- A few slices of lemon
- Slice the onion and grate the garlic and ginger.
- Heat the oil gently in a large pan or wok and add in the onion, garlic and ginger when it's come up to temperature.
- Fry until softened. Add the spices and through.
- Add the nuts and fry through again, then switch off until you're ready for a final heat through before serving.
- Either before or after the above process, get the rice going. Tip one ramekin of basmati rice per person into a saucepan, add a good pinch of salt then add two ramekins of boiled water for every ramekin of rice.
- Chuck in the cardamon pods and stock cube (it'll dissolve itself so don't worry about stirring), as well as a couple of slices of fresh lemon if you want it especially lemony. Set the hob to a medium simmer. Leave to cook for ten minutes or so and test with a fork. You don't need to rinse it beforehand, and you should definitely not stir it when it's on the go. You want to be almost cooked through but still with bit of bite as it'll keep cooking even once you switch off the hob and it's going to get recooked in the pan.
- As soon as it's ready, pour it into a sieve and rinse it with plenty of fresh cold water until cool. Stick it back in the saucepan and leave it until you're ready to reheat it.
- When the rest of your meal is about two or three minutes away, switch on the heat under the pan and pour the rice into the pan, mixing it with all the other ingredients until piping hot all the way through.
- Serve with some more fresh lemon slices on the side and enjoy!