Rice, as a staple food, never ceases to amaze me – it is so versatile and can be boiled, steamed, layered, and stir fried and almost any vegetable, lentil or bean can be added to make it a meal in one. Add a handful of dried fruit and nuts and it is transformed into a dish fit for a king or queen of course! Iranians do some extraordinary dishes with rice and use almost any dried fruit and nut available. Barberry is a small gorgeous deep red berry, slightly tart, and is used frequently to add a hint of sour. You can buy these in Iranian or Middle Eastern shops and also online at Sous Chef and are a useful addition to the larder.
This recipe is for stir fried rice, leeks & peas and I have thrown in a small handful of barberries. If you don’t have barberries, you can substitute these with cranberries instead which are easily available – the link is for Neal’s Yard cranberries available at Holland & Barrett . The stir fried method of combining rice with vegetables etc is the simplest way of cooking rice with vegetables as you don’t need to worry about the amount of water you add to the rice as in pilau rice, where rice and vegetables are cooked in the same pot with a measured amount of water.
300 grams) Basmati rice (soak for 1 hour)
500 grams leeks, (sliced thinly)
1 cup frozen peas
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons barberries OR cranberries (soak in cold water for 10 minutes)
1 teaspoon salt
- In a large wok, fry the leeks in the olive oil until edges turn golden and leeks are soft
- Add peas and barberries or cranberries and fry gently for a further 3-4 minutes
- Rinse the rice a few times and boil in lots of salted water. Lower heat to medium once boiling and cook for about 3-4 minutes until rice is cooked (depends on the quality of the rice so keep an eye and check – eye balling is the best approach to cooking rice)
- Strain in colander and add to the leeks mixture in the wok and fry with a spatula, turning over gently for a couple of minutes to mix thoroughly