Curried Rice with Chickpeas
In 1846, curry’s place in the hearts and minds of the British people was forever fixed when William Makepeace Thackeray wrote "Poem to Curry," with its sweeping conclusion, "Tis, when done/A dish for Emperors to feed upon." So as it turns out, St. John’s vegetarian curry is British to the core, although some Brits do lament its kudzu-like way of overtaking fish and chips as the national dish. It starts with a quick sauté of onion, celery, and garlic in butter, along with a heaping spoonful of curry powder. Chickpeas are used here for a vegetarian source of protein, but any large legume will do, including fava beans or giant white butterbeans.
Reprinted with permission from Come In, We’re Closed © 2012 by Christine Carroll and Jody Eddy, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group.
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 small white onion, finely chopped
- 1 celery rib, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tablespoon curry powder
- 1 Cup basmati rice
- 1/2 Cup drained canned chickpeas
- 1/4 Cup golden raisins (optional)
- 1/4 Cup toasted, slivered almonds (optional)
- 1 3/4 Cup vegetable stock
- 2 Tablespoons coarsely chopped chervil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Lemon wedges, for serving
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. When the frothing subsides, sauté the onion, celery, and garlic until the onion is translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the curry powder, stirring to release its aroma, for about 1 minute. Add the rice, chickpeas, and stock as well as the optional raisins and almonds; bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook until the rice is tender and all the liquid is absorbed, 15-20 minutes.
Remove from the heat, stir in the chervil, season with salt and pepper, and set aside, covered, for 5 minutes.
Fluff with a fork, then heap onto platters bordered with lemon wedges. Encourage guests to add a squeeze or two to the whole affair.