Well, it may not be the most beautiful dish in the world, but my whole family liked this cumin-filled rice, adapted from a recipe by Deborah Madison. It even had E. eating eggplant without even realizing it!
It’s based on the recipe “Cumin Rice with Eggplant and Peppers” in The Savory Way. Since it’s not a vegan book, Madison suggests adding cheese, but I opted to use peas instead. (Hey, at least it rhymes!) The seasonings are mostly the same, but I removed the oil and butter, omitted a red or yellow pepper that I did not have, and used an undrained can of diced tomatoes instead of fresh. The results were delicious. My only regret is that I did not wait until it came out of the oven to add the peas–after 50 minutes of baking, they’re not very green anymore. Oh well. They were still tender and tasty, but I’m instructing you to add them at the end. The heat from the rice will cook them enough and they’ll retain more of their spring-like taste and color.
Cumin Rice with Eggplant and Peas
Adapted from a recipe by Deborah Madison.
- 1 1/2 cups brown rice
- 1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 green, yellow, or red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes (fired roasted would be nice)
- 4 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne or red chilli pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 3 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed) green peas
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Put the rice in a bowl and cover it with water. Set it aside to soak while you cook the vegetables.
- Heat a large non-stick skillet. Add the eggplant and onion, salt them lightly, and cook, covered, over medium-high heat, stirring often and adding water by the tablespoon if needed to prevent sticking. When the eggplant is soft but not mushy (about 5 minutes) add the peppers, tomatoes, seasonings, parsley, and more salt to taste. Combine well. Drain the water from the rice and add the rice to the pan along with 3 cups water. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil.
- When it reaches a boil, transfer it into a large baking dish. (Madison suggests a large earthenware gratin dish, but I used a deep lasagna dish.) Place a piece of parchment paper over the rice and then cover tightly with foil. Bake until the rice is tender, about 50-55 minutes. Stir in the peas and allow the dish to set for 5 minutes before serving.
Preparation time: 15 minute(s) | Cooking time: 1 hour(s) 5 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 6
Makes 4-6 servings. 1/6th of the recipe provides: 254 Calories (kcal); 2g Total Fat; (7% calories from fat); 8g Protein; 53g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 59mg Sodium; 6g Fiber
Suggested accompaniment: Asparagus is back in season, so I served this with a whole lot of simple roasted asparagus. Preheat the oven to 400F. Place trimmed asparagus in a large, oiled baking dish and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Roast, stirring every 5 minutes, for 10-15 minutes, until asparagus are just starting to brown. Heaven!