Recipe: Midweek Vegetable Pilau


I’ve called this recipe midweek vegetable pilau because it is a recipe you could easily put together after a hard day’s work. There’s a bit of chopping at the beginning but after that it takes care of itself.

I am making no apologies for using frozen vegetables in this dish. I think they’re ideal for single people or people on a tight budget. There’s no loss of nutrients in the freezing process and no noticeable lack of texture in a dish like this. And no waste. And it uses curry powder. So sue me. There are times when I want to grind my own curry spices, but a Thursday night after a day at work generally isn’t one of them. Of course, if you feel differently, please add your own spice mix.

This has a lot of taste that belies the effort involved. And it’s very comforting on a cold night.

Midweek PIlau photo DSCN1055_zps4e64479d.jpg

1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp curry powder
150g basmati rice
200g frozen mixed vegetables
30g cashew nuts
400g tin chopped tomatoes or passata
200ml veg stock
2 tbsp coriander, chopped

Heat a little oil in a saucepan and add the onion and garlic.
Sweat them for a while until the onion goes translucent.
Stir in the curry powder and let it cook for a minute.
Then add the rice, mixed vegetables, nuts, tomatoes and the veg stock.
Season with salt and pepper.
Bring to the simmer and put the lid on.
Simmer gently for 20 minutes.
Keep an eye on it and add more liquid if it’s starting to catch on the bottom of the pan.
Serve with the coriander sprinkled over the top.

Serves 2

12 responses »

  1. Love this kind of fast food. And a great way to make use of frozen mixed veg too, of which I forever seem to have around a third of a bag of kicking about in the bottom of the freezer! I will definitely make this tomorrow.

    • Excellent! I’m glad to hear it. I hate the snobbery you can see on some food sites about frozen veg. If you’re counting pennies it’s a lifesaver.

      • Food snobbery is a funny thing, like any form of snobbery I swear it’s based mainly on affirming the *appearance* of having ‘superior’ preferences, rather than having cultivated the refined palate needed to actually posses them. I would dare anyone to try to discern frozen whole leaf spinach from fresh in a curry or in homemade pasta verde for instance as it collapses so swiftly when cooked; the fresh stuff is only really worth buying if eating raw, or barely wilted. Broad beans, green beans and peas too, especially petits pois. I don’t bother with frozen root veg as it does goes weird and watery and loses that nice satisfying smooth starchiness roots are great for, plus root veg is cheap and stores well fresh anyhow. Frozen cauliflower I’m not too sure about, nor sprouts. But both are just fine if you don’t fancy the ritual of peeling and prepping and you’re planning to smother them in gravy anyway! We began growing our own last year, and while fresh organic veg is nice to have (especially if you grow less commonly available varieties) I’ve yet to discover that my exposure to fresh organics has unwittingly brought about a spontaneous abhorrence of their frozen cousins 😉

      • I gave up buying fresh spinach when I worked out I really preferred watercress for a salad and the frozen stuff was indistinguishable from the cooked fresh. I don’t know if you saw the Chef’s Fail to Keep to a Poor Person’s Food Budget Show on tv last year, but I nearly threw something at the tv set when they went on and on about fresh vegetables while ignoring the cheap and good frozen section!

  2. How counter intuitive is it to use chefs on a programme about *minimising* expenditure on food costs – didn’t one of them just give up and blow the entire budget on a fresh side of salmon? A complete waste of time, and horribly patronising to boot. Just wheel in some chefs to teach the ignorant profligate burger-stuffing poor how to shop. Chefs? They may be terribly good at cooking and I’m sure they know all about where to source the best quality truffle oil and quails eggs, but clearly these are a group of professionals – who by the very fact of the high-end nature of what they do – can realistically posses only a meagre comprehension of the day to day reality of shopping and cooking on a small budget. Embarrassing TV and an utter and shameful failure by whoever commissioned it, to take the issue of low incomes and food poverty at all seriously.

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