Simply Spiced Red Bowl

How do you cook red cabbage and retain the colour?  Cook it with beets.  The flavours complement each other beautifully and the result is stunning.  Served over a combination of short-grained brown and forbidden black rices, it makes for a light, warming meal.

Yield: 4 servings as a main course

What you need for the rice:

  • 1 cup short-grained brown rice
  • 1/2 cup forbidden black rice
  • 3 cups water, freshly boiled + more for soaking

What you need for the cabbage and beets:

  • 2 large or 4 medium sized beets, peeled and diced 1/2″, 4 cups diced
  • 2 cups sliced red cabbage, sliced about 1/4″ thick
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower or olive oil
  • a generous pinch of hing (asafoetida)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3 fresh curry leaves (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoon water
  • freshly chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)

What you do for the rice:

  1. Soak the rices together 6-12 hours in lots of fresh water to cover.
  2. Drain the rice and put it in a pot along with the 3 cups of hot water.  Feel free to add 1/2 teaspoon of salt if desired, I usually forego the salt when cooking whole grains.
  3. Bring to a boil and let boil, uncovered, 2-3 minutes.  Cover, turn heat to very low and let simmer undisturbed for 45 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.
  4. Remove from the flame, leave covered for 10-15 minutes before serving.

What you do for the cabbage and beets:

  1. When the rice is almost done cooking or while it’s resting after cooking, heat a wide-bottomed saucepan or frypan on medium heat.
  2. When hot, add the oil and let it heat up a minute or so – don’t let it smoke.
  3. Add the hing, mustard seeds and cumin and stir, letting it all sizzle until the mustard seed begin to pop.  Add the curry leaves if using (careful, they splutter) and stir once or twice.  Add the vegetables and stir to mix.
  4. Add 1/4 cup of water to the pot, cover, lower heat a tad and let cook until the vegetables are tender, 10-15 minutes.  If necessary, add extra water throughout the cooking period, one tablespoonful at a time, to avoid the pan drying out.
  5. Serve alongside or on top of the rice, garnished with fresh cilantro if desire.

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