Curry leaves have a unique aroma that bursts to life when they hit hot fat. Combined with flakes of dried coconut and the milky bite of cashew nuts, these strong, musty and, well, curried leaves add a stellar flavour to basmati or long-grain rice and an extra layer of interest to your meal. The natural fit for such a side is food inspired by the Indian subcontinent, whether that’s a microwave korma from the supermarket, a more adventurous homemade fish curry, dry-spiced lamb chops or a soothing dal.
- Yield: 4 Servings
- 60 g cashew nuts
- 20 g coconut flakes
- 250 g basmati rice
- 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
- 2 cardamom pods
- A small handful of fresh curry leaves
- 1 onion or 2 banana shallots, halved and thinly sliced
- Sea salt
- Toast the cashew nuts and coconut flakes separately in a dry, heavy-bottomed saucepan or frying pan over a low heat until light brown and fragrant. Tip into separate bowls and set aside.
- Put the rice in a sieve and rinse until the water runs clear, then tip it into a medium-large pan and three-quarters fill it with cold water. Bring to the boil, then simmer the rice for 3 minutes less than the packet tells you to. Drain, rinse with boiling water, return to the saucepan, put the lid on and leave it for 5 minutes so the rice steams to perfection.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a wide saucepan or frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the mustard seeds, cardamom and curry leaves and cook for 2–3 minutes, or until the seeds start popping and the curry leaves release their amazing aroma. Add the onion or shallots and cook for 2–3 minutes more, or until lightly browned. Remove from the heat.
- Fluff the cooked rice with a fork, then use a spatula to scrape in the oil and aromatics. Add a pinch or two of salt, two thirds of the cashews and coconut and mix well. Transfer to a serving bowl, if using, and sprinkle with the remaining cashews and coconut flakes.