Spiced Indian Rice with Peas

This past weekend we celebrated Tom’s birthday.

Well sort of. 

Since we will be leaving for our Mexico vacation in FOUR DAYS… last week was really tough to fit a birthday party.  We started with all the intention in the world, but by Thursday I was having a little bit of nervous breakdown.  I was putting 12-hour workday, and coming home with no brainpower to even think about a menu for 25 guests – let alone shop for ingredients, prepping and cooking the food.

And if you need to know something about me, I love to entertain, and I put like a huge amount of effort in it, and when I cannot do that, I simply panic and get all crappy and moody.

Tom was in no disposition to put up with that attitude put his foot down and told me to just cancel the thing and that once we got back from sunny Mexico we could just re-hatch the party plans.

I have never loved that man more.

So instead of a big blow out, we had the family over and 2 of his best friends with their respective spouses.  8 people = doable.

We cooked up our famous ribs and since we had a vegetarian in the mix I ended up cooking a quick rice dish as a side and her entrée.

This dish is fragrant with Indian spices, which perfume this dish of rice and green peas.  The basmati rice contributes its own exotic note, but I’m totally sure that if you have issues finding it, you can totally work with long-grain rice.  While we did the vegetarian version, I can see working chicken in there, even lamb and making it a meat dish.

serves 4 for main course, about 6 to 8 for side-dish  

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ cups chopped onions
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon mince or grated fresh ginger
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • ¾ cup thinly sliced carrots (2-3 carrots)
  • 2/4 cup green beans, cut in ½-inch lengths
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or more to taste
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • 1 cup sliced almonds 
  1. In a large, covered skilled or dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil.  Sauté the onion over medium heat, stirring frequently, until softens and browns lightly – about 8 minutes.  Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute.  Add the rice and garam masala and cook, stirring, until the rice is coated with oil and the spices are fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the broth, carrots, beans and cinnamon stick, and salt.  Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low and cook covered for 15 minutes.
  3. Add the peas, stir in gently with a fork, and cook until the rice is tender, about 5 minutes longer. Taste and season with additional salt, if necessary.
  4. Meanwhile, toast the almonds in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until they turn pale gold, 3 to 5 minutes should do it.
  5. Serve the rice and sprinkle with the almonds.

Now wait for the ohhs and ahhs…