Sunday, July 07, 2013

Rice and vegetables with harissa

There are certain dishes that one enjoys while acknowledging that they are not haute cuisine, and may not be as well liked by others. Such are the rice concoctions I give myself when I arrive home late, and want to eat something that will be ready in about 20 minutes.

Olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
1tsp cumin seeds
1 red onion, sliced
1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into pieces
75g basmati rice
1 tin black beans, drained and rinsed
1tsp (or more, according to taste) harissa
Salt, pepper

Warm about 2tbsp of oil in a heavy pan over a gentle heat, and fry the garlic and cumin for a minute. Throw in the onion and pepper, stir, and cover the pan. Check the vegetables regularly, stirring each time. The liquid they throw off should prevent their catching – but add more oil if necessary. (Covering the pan should enable the onions and pepper to soften more rapidly.)

Bring a saucepan of water – about three times the volume of rice - to the boil. Put the rice in a sieve, and give it a quick rinse. Tip it into the boiling water, bring back to the boil, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, tip the drained beans into the pan with the vegetables. Stir in the harissa, with salt and pepper – if the beans have been sitting in brine, go easy with the salt. Cover the pan. Again, check it and stir the contents regularly.

Drain the rice, and stir it into the spiced vegetables.

I sometimes add small cubes of cheese to this mixture.