“This is a recipe that would celebrate Liberation Fairtrade nuts in a truly regal way! Use any chopped nuts that you fancy, peanuts and cashews would be lovely, for example. When I was little, I used to marvel as to how this was made. The trick is to always use powder colours, not liquid, which are available from Indian grocery stores and online, and make sure to steam very gently. With the addition of butter, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, pomegranate and mint leaves, you have what looks like a plate of fragrant multicoloured royal jewels and is perfect for a dinner party to impress!
My British Asian upbringing instilled in me the importance of being able to work to better yourself and the lives of your family, so I have been hugely passionate about Fairtrade for many years, and expressed my commitment to empowering small scale producers not just through my daily choices as a consumer but also by creating the book A Fair Feast, which was published in 2005 by Simon and Schuster and became part of the Make Poverty History Campaign. This book of delicious recipes bursting with Fairtrade ingredients was my little way of supporting the producers I so admire, and 100% of the proceeds went directly to the cause, half to the Fairtrade Foundation and half to Oxfam‘s Make Trade Fair, raising over £100,000.”
Serves: 2 – 4
- 275g / 1 1/2 cups basmati rice, soaked for 30 minutes and then rinsed thoroughly
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- 5g / 1 teaspoon butter
- 5 cloves
- 6 green cardamom pods, slightly split
- 1 stick cinnamon
- Green, red and yellow food colour powder
- A good handful each of soaked, skinned and chopped nuts of your choice
- A handful of pomegranate seeds
- A few mint leaves, finely chopped
Fill a large saucepan to three-quarters full with water and bring to the boil. Add the drained rice and a squeeze of lemon and simmer for 8 minutes. Drain the rice into a fine colander or large sieve.
Heat the butter in a wide, non-stick, lidded saute pan on a very low heat. Add the cloves, cardamom and cinnamon, stirring well. After a minute, add the rice carefully and then, very gently, using a spatula, push the rice from one side of the pan to the other until any remaining liquid has dried off but the rice is still moist. Be careful not to break any grains. Shake the pan gently so the surface is level.
Sprinkle dots of the three food colourings on to the rice, making sure the colours do not touch each other and there are sufficient white gaps in between.
Place three sheets of kitchen roll (or double sheets if you need a longer length if your pan is wise, so the paper doesn’t fall in) on top of each other over the pan, making sure it does not sink in or touch the rice, and place the lid on top.
Keeping the heat extremely low, barely on, leave to steam for 10-15 minutes, until the rice is cooked through. Loosen the grains with a fork, working your way through the pan, then put the lid back on (without the kitchen roll) and continue to steam through with the heat off for a further few minutes. Scatter with the nuts, pomegranate and mint before serving.
For more recipes from Vicky: