Traveling through Israel in January inspired me to learn how to cook more food from that region. Their use of spices and the creative and delicious vegetarian and vegan dishes I ate were eye opening and exciting. Upon returning I immediately ordered Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s cookbook Jerusalem, and have been reading through it and happily flagging recipes I want to try. Last night, I made this recipe from the book. The recipe I’m posting below is taken directly from a Guardian Article Ottolenghi wrote in 2010.

I had some tuna and cod which needed to be cooked, so I pan fried them simply in olive oil, garlic and fresh lemon, as the rice dish would be flavourful enough to carry the meal. It was delicious, and a big hit with my family. The recipe says it serves 6, but it served just the three of us greedy eaters. If you need to stretch it to serve more, I would plan on adding side dishes, starters, or desserts. We had just the rice and fish and finished every last grain. I really loved this dish. It was a little time consuming to make, but it’s worth it, and can be made ahead, as it’s delicious served room temperature. I plan to make just the spiced chickpeas from time to time, as they are incredibly tasty and fragrant!

Basmati and wild rice with chickpeas, currants and herbs
Serves 6
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  1. 50g wild rice
  2. 2 tbsp olive oil
  3. 220g basmati rice
  4. Salt and black pepper
  5. 330ml boiling water
  6. 2 tsp cumin seeds
  7. 1½ tsp curry powder
  8. 240g cooked chickpeas (tinned are fine), drained
  9. 180ml sunflower oil
  10. 1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  11. ½ tbsp plain flour
  12. 100g currants
  13. 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  14. 1 tbsp chopped coriander
  15. 1 tbsp chopped dill
  1. Put the wild rice in a small saucepan, cover with plenty of water, bring to a boil and simmer for 40 minutes, until cooked but still quite firm. Drain and set aside.
  2. To cook the basmati rice, pour a teaspoon of olive oil into a medium saucepan and place on high heat. Add the rice and a quarter-teaspoon of salt, and stir as it warms up. Add the boiling water, reduce the heat to minimum, cover with a tight lid and leave for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, lift off the lid, cover the pot with a tea towel, then put the lid on top and leave to rest for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the chickpeas. Heat the remaining olive oil in a small saucepan. Add the cumin and curry powder, and after a couple of seconds add the chickpeas and a quarter-teaspoon of salt; act fast, or the spices may burn. Stir for a minute or two, just to heat the chickpeas, then transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  4. Wipe the pan clean, add the sunflower oil and place on a high heat. Once the oil is hot, mix the onion and flour with your hands. Take some of the mix and carefully place in the oil. Fry for two or three minutes, until golden-brown, transfer to kitchen paper and sprinkle with salt. Repeat in batches until all the onion is fried.
  5. Finally, add both types of rice to the chickpea bowl, along with the currants, herbs and fried onion. Stir and season to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.
  1. Serve with fish seasoned simply with olive oil, garlic and fresh lemon.
The Pescetonian
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