Persian Rice Pulao
1/2 cup basmati rice (rinsed and soaked overnight)
1/2 aubergine, 1/2 courgette (cut into about 4mm slices lengthways, then tossed with 1 tsp salt, left for 30 minutes, rinsed and patted dry)
1/2 soya protein/tvp (soaked for an hour, drained reserving the liquid, then minced)
5 tbs olive oil
1 stick celery
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf
2 tbs pine-nuts
1/4 cup raisins
3 tbs minced fresh parsley
1 medium tomato (cut into slices)
2 tbs tomato paste
1 cup water
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt, pepper
- Drain and rinse the soaked rice and place in a pan with 3/4 cup water. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes longer over a low heat until almost done. Cover and keep warm.
- Meanwhile heat 2 tablespoons oil in a heavy pan and when the oil is very hot add the vegetable slices in batches, frying for 4-5 minutes on each side and adding 1 tbs more oil with each batch.
- Heat another tablespoon oil in a small saute pan and saute the celery. When it softens add the drained soya protein and stir for another minute. Now add all the spices and the raisins. Stir for another minute. Add a half cup of the reserved soya soaking liquid and cover in a simmer for five more minutes, adding more of the liquid if it starts to dry out.
- In the meantime toast the pine-nuts in a small pan over medium low until they just start to colour. Add these to the soya mixture with the chopped parsley and season with salt and pepper.
- Then whisk together the tomato paste with the rest of the ingredients and set aside.
- Now you’re ready to assemble the pillao; add another tablespoon oil to the bottom of a large saucepan brush to grease thoroughly. Now add the chopped tomatoes to cover the bottom. Season with salt and pepper and now add the rice, patting down to spread evenly. Then over-top of this add the soya mixture and then the griddled-vegetables. Pour the tomato liquid over the whole thing and set on a low heat for about 20 minutes, then slip a tea-towel underneath the lid to absorb any excess water and leave covered for another 10 minutes.
Allow to cool completely, then invert on a plate. Garnish with more chopped parsley and serve at room temperature of try it chilled.