Chickpea and potato pilaf

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes


3 tbsp sunflower oil
2 onions, halved and sliced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
2 tsp cumin seeds, lightly crushed
4 garlic cloves
6 cardamom pods, bashed
½ cinnamon stick
1 tsp black onion seeds
2 tsp turmeric
350g (12oz) new potatoes, diced
250g (9oz) basmati rice, rinsed
900ml (1½pints) hot vegetable stock
400g (14oz) can chickpeas
75g (3oz) sultanas
100g (3½oz) fresh baby spinach
6 tbsp chopped fresh coriander


1 Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and a good pinch of salt and gently cook for 10 minutes until softened and lightly golden. Add the garlic, ginger, cumin, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and onion seeds and fry for 3 minutes until aromatic. Stir in the turmeric and cook for 1 minute.

2 Add the potatoes and combine well to coat in the spices. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally as you go to make sure the spices don’t catch. Stir in the rice and pour over 700ml (1¼pints) of the stock. Stir once, bring to the boil and cover. Gently cook for 10 minutes.

3 Add the chickpeas and raisins then pour in the remaining stock and simmer for a further 5 minutes until the rice and potatoes are tender. Stir in the spinach and coriander, cover and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Season to taste and serve with mango chutney, poppadoms and a wedge or two of lemon.


To add a wonderfully spicy topping, simply fry 2 very finely sliced onions with a good pinch of salt until nicely caramelised. Stir in 3 sliced garlic cloves and a good pinch of crushed chillies. Fry for a couple of minutes and then scatter over the cooked rice just before serving.


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