This is a deliciously comforting meal to keep you warm in the winter months, my definition of comfort food. It is inspired by my Iranian culture and travels to Sri Lanka & India. It’s also 100% whole food plant based made with nothing but pure goodness. I’ve recently started an online course in plant based nutrition with the Center for Nutrtion Studies founded by Dr. T Colin Campbell and it is such a joy to enhance my knowledge of this lifestyle. It has also influenced my food choices, I’m eating more greens than usual and using a lot less fat. The studies in this field are absolutely incredible and it’s so interesting to see how much research has been done in the field of plant based nutrition, especially in relation to chronic diseases. I would suggest reading Whole by Dr. Campbell or watching one of his many talks online if you’re curious to know just how much our diet affects our health.
Anyhow moving on to the recipe!
The rice and tahdig, crispy Persian rice literally meaning bottom of the pot, are made in a rice cooker. I’ve found that this is the most foolproof, and fuss-free way of making it without burning the rice. However if you don’t have a rice cooker you can also use a non stick pot, preferably a non toxic one like the ones Green Pan make. Follow the instructions to cook the rice as stated below, then when it comes to making the tahdig, make sure you cook the rice on low heat so that it doesn’t burn. I admit this is quite an art and gets better with experience and much easier if you use a rice cooker!
The greens can easily be replaced with whatever is in season in your part of the world.
*Use organic ingredients where possible
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 inch fresh turmeric, diced or 1/2 tablespoon turmeric powder
1 inch fresh ginger, diced or1/2 tablespoon ginger powder
2 teaspoons curry powder
6 plum tomatoes or 3 vine tomatoes, diced
1 kohlrabi, skinned & diced or 1 medium potato
4 teaspoons coconut butter
2 cups cooked chickpeas, I used brown chickpeas
4 mustard leaves, de-stemmed and chopped
6 spinach leaves, chopped
Coconut Rice & Tahdig
4 cups brown basmati rice
2 cups dried shredded coconut (unsweetened, organic)
8 cups water
Pinch of sea salt
1 1/2 tablespoons melted coconut oil (or another high smoke point oil)
Coriander vegan “yoghurt”
1 cup fresh coriander, leaves and stalks
2 handfuls cashew nuts
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon Apple cidre vinegar
1 tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes (optional)
Pinch of sea salt & black pepper
1/2 cup water
1. Rinse the rice a couple times, strain and place in a rice cooker, add the 8 cups water, dried coconut and salt and leave to cook, approximately 30 mins.
*If you don’t have a rice cooker please read the notes above.
2. While the rice cooks, add the tablespoon of coconut oil to a medium sized pot and on medium/high heat until the oil melts.
Add the diced onion and let cook for a couple of minutes, then add the garlic, turmeric and curry powder, stir to combine let cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.
Then add the diced tomatoes, reduce heat to medium/low and allowing the tomatoes to reduce for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Finally add the kohlrabi/potato, coconut butter, chickpeas, and enough water to cover the ingredients by half an inch or so. Turn up the heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered.
3. Once the rice has cooked through, gently scoop the rice from the edges of the pot towards the middle to form a pyramid shape. Make 5-6 holes in the rice pyramid by gently poking the back of a spatula through to the bottom of the pot. Pour a small about of the melted coconut oil into each hole, and leave to cook for another 15-20 mins, this is how you get the crispy rice.
4. Add the chopped spinach and mustard leaves to the curry, cover the pot and let cook for 5 minutes, until wilted. Stir to combine, remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes or so to allow the flavours to settle.
5. In the meantime place all the “yoghurt” ingredients in a blender (I used my magic bullet), and blend until smooth.
6. Take most of the rice out the pot, except for the bottom layer touching the base of the pot, and using a wooden spatula gently cut and flip over the thin crispy bottom layer.
7. Serve up the dish and enjoy!
**This will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days and usually tastes better the next day as the flavours infuse further.