THE number of times rice dishes have been featured in Easy Eating may lead you to believe I am obsessed with rice and eat it all of the time.
The truth is, I actually don't eat that much rice and I rarely have it as a side dish.
But when I do eat rice, I like to make it pretty special.
Risottos, paella and pilafs are usually the rice dishes I cook but after eating some really delicious Indian food not long ago, I decided to give a biryani - a rice dish with herbs, spices, vegetables and meat if desired - a go.
Many years ago I bought a spice kit to make biryani.
I tried several times to make the rice dish but always found it was lacking a little.
A little more research showed me while I had the spice combinations spot-on, I was actually missing one key ingredient - this ingredient would take it from being a spiced rice dish, to something totally desirable.
By texture, I thought it was coconut milk, but it was, in fact, yoghurt.
I am a yoghurt lover. I could eat it all day. I also slather salads and other savoury dishes in it as a sauce and dressing.
But I don't use it that often in the cooking process. It definitely made all the difference though and I really enjoyed this dish.
I added black wild rice (different to the black rice used in last week's dessert dish) which is available from supermarkets. Use it sparingly though.
Like all rice dishes, the key is not to overcook the rice, so I tend to be a little conservative with liquids, you can always add more stick at the end if the grains have too much bite.
1 cup basmati rice
1/3 cup wild rice
½ cup chicken stock
2 tbs olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
red chilli, sliced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp ground coriander
4 curry leaves
150ml natural yogurt
1 tsp sugar
1/3 cup coriander leaves, chopped
Slivered almonds to garnish (optional)
Soak the wild rice for about half an hour. Cook the white rice and wild rice in boiling water for half the amount of time given on the packet of white rice. Set aside.
Fry onion in oil for three minutes, add garlic, half the chilli, cumin, ground coriander and ginger and fry until fragrant.
Add rice, cinnamon stick, curry leaves, sugar and half the stick to the pan.
Test the rice when stock is absorbed and add the rest if needed. Cover and cook for a few more minutes until rice is fluffy and cooked as desired.
Add yogurt and half of the coriander leaves and stir through over medium heat. Serve up and garnish with the rest of the coriander leaves, chilli and almonds.