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July 9, 2007 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]


I have, in my past columns, tried to keep what some might irritatingly call ‘exotic’ ingredients to a minimum. I tried to focus on things that you could reasonably expect to find in most students’ cupboards, so that people were not put off trying out the recipes. On the other hand, not all students are stereotypes who subsist on instant noodles and watery mince. What I am trying to say is that the following recipes contain a few herbs and spices which may require some shopping – deal with it! This week they are used in rice dishes which are great on their own or with dinner. So often rice is simply eaten plain and while there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, the following can offer a few ideas when you feel like there isn’t anything in your cupboards to eat.

Spiced Pilaf

1 t cumin seeds
1 t coriander seeds
Pinch ground cloves
1 cup long grain rice
1 t ground cinnamon
1 onion, finely chopped
Vegetable oil

It is probably worth pointing out that if you really resent being told to buy all these spices, the cumin seeds and the cinnamon are the most essential to the following recipe. For those of you who already have a well-endowed (spice) rack, read on.

Heat a couple of teaspoons of the oil in a pot and gently fry the onion with the spices until the mix becomes really fragrant. You don’t want to brown the onion so keep the heat low. Add the rice and stir well so everything is amalgamated. Then add two cups of water – chicken stock is good here too – and bring gently to the boil. As soon as it boils, turn the heat right down, clamp a lid on the pot, and leave for 10-15 minutes. That’s it. Really! This is amazingly delicious, and serves two generously.

Lemon Rice

Vegetable oil
1 cup long grain rice
1 t mustard powder
1⁄2 t turmeric
1⁄2 t dried mint
Juice and zest of 1 lemon

Heat a few teaspoons of oil in a pot – as above – and pour in the rice with the turmeric, mustard powder and mint, stirring well. Freshly chopped mint works well here too, or frankly you can leave it out. Squeeze in the lemon juice and pour in two cups of water. Bring slowly to the boil – this will also stop the rice sticking to the bottom of the pot – and then turn the heat down and put the lid on. Leave for 10-15 minutes and then stir in the lemon zest. Like the pilaf, this serves two.


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