Okay, so maybe this casserole is Indian-lite. Yet I'll admit that there is something about the feel of whole toasted spices mixed into creamy rice that texturally echoes rice from my favorite Indian restaurants. This casserole is homey, comforting, soothing, and delightfully mild. Also, as trendy places like to say, IT'S A SNAP! Lately, work has been smiting me in a biblical way, but this recipe doesn't ask for much except for a somewhat annoying shopping list (where have all the dried currants gone?). So I actually managed to pop the casserole in the oven and still have energy to clean up afterwards.
The original recipe was written in a rather intimidating way and demanded both a 6-quart Dutch oven and expensive garnishes. My version is simpler and cheaper. Plus it goes really well with Pumpkin Bisque and crisp autumn apples.
If you happen to have cumin seeds, add them with the mustard seeds instead of later with the onions.
If you have celiac disease, use a mild gluten-free broth like those by Imagine.
Indian Rice Casserole
2 teaspoons vegetable or canola oil
2 Tablespoons mustard seeds
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 1/4 Cups vegetable broth (or 2 Cups broth plus 1/4 Cup water)
1 Cup basmati, jasmati, or Thai jasmine rice. Or any long grain white rice, I guess.
1 15 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/3 Cup dried currants
1 carrot, peeled and sliced into small thin matchsticks
optional: a squeeze of fresh lemon juice right before serving
- Preheat oven to 350º F.
- Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a tall soup pot over medium high heat. Add mustard seeds and immediately cover. After about 30 seconds the seeds will pop like popcorn! Turn off the heat and put the seeds in a small bowl for later.
- Add the other teaspoon of oil to the pot. Heat it up. Add the onions and ginger and sauté for 6 minutes.
- Add everything else. Stir and turn off the heat.
- Pour everything into a medium-sized casserole dish or donabe (see image above). Cover and bake for 45 minutes. Serve at once, or let sit in the 'fridge all night.