Herby Pea Pilaf

It’s official this is one of my favourite recipes. This pilaf rice is fresh, fragrant and flavoursome. I’ve called this a pilaf because that’s the closet thing I could think of it resembling when I tasted the finished dish. In reality, however, it’s a mish-mash of middle eastern and asian flavours, culminating in one almighty winner of a dish.

The trick is in the herby pea sauce. My secret ingredient is the miso paste. Adding the white miso to the pea sauce gives it a wonderful umami flavour that’s subtle enough not to be overpowering. The mint, coriander and basil mix creates this delightful array of herby fragrant notes in the pea sauce. I’m so happy with how this turned out.

This pilaf rice works really well with leftover rice as well. That stale rice that’s in your fridge for a few days is a perfect fit for the herby sauce. Frying the rice in the toasted spice oil before stirring in the sauce gives it semi crunchy texture that’s great for leftover rice.

I’ve used basil, coriander and mint in the rice sauce but you can just as well use any combination of herbs you like. Get creative and in any combo of greens and herbs you like. I’ve found that kale and parsley are excellent candidates for variants on this sauce.

The topping of fried shallots is a decadent after touch which I thoroughly recommend. It gives a little crunchy salty topping to the smooth rice and beans. However, you can leave it out if you don’t want the extra calories or cooking time. My advice is if you’re cooking this for a dinner party or a significant other – add those suckers into the pilaf rice. It’ll reap dividends and you can worry about your waist later!

When to eat

I recommend eating this dish from June to October. Both the beans and peas will be highly available at this time of the year. You can even switch out the frozen peas for fresh peas if they are readily available to you. I would recommend getting them in the pod and shelling them by hand. This is well worth the time and effort. You’ll be rewarded with a sweeter and more flavourful pea. If you’re eating this dish out of season try switching the green beans out from some shredded kale. If you’re struggling to find fresh herbs out of season. You can switch some of the herbs out for leafy cabbages like cavolo nero or january king. This will give you a more bitter taste so be sure to cook the cabbages before blending, and add a teaspoon of sugar to the blender before blitzing.

Recipe

Serves 6
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

This meal is around 90% less polluting than the average UK meal.

  • Eating this recipe will save around 2.63 KG CO2e per person.
  • That’s equivalent to the emissions produced driving 21.75 KM in a modern car.

Ingredients

  • 400 g Long Grain Rice
  • 1 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Chilli Flakes
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon Sumac
  • 8 Tablespoons Sunflower Oil
  • 2 Banana Shallots
  • 250 g Green Beans

Herby Pea Sauce

  • 200 g Frozen Peas
  • 50 g Fresh Basil
  • 50 g Fresh Coriander
  • 25 g Fresh Mint
  • 2 Tablespoons White Miso Paste
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Instructions

  • First prepare your rice. Place the rice into a medium pan and cover with water. Then agitate with your hands until the water turns cloudy. Strain the water through a fine sieve or colander and repeat the process for 4 – 5 times until the water starts to turn less cloudy. Cover the rice with about 700 ml of salted water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes or until the rice is cooked and fluffy. Remove the pan from the heat and wash the rice in cold water. Reserve.
  • Whilst your rice is cooking make your pea sauce. Remove the stems from the mint and place the leaves into a food blender along with the rest of the sauce ingredients and 200ml of cold water. Blitz until the sauce is smooth.
  • Next fry the shallots. Chop the shallots into thin slices. Heat 6 tablespoons of the sunflower oil in a deep heavy pan over a medium high heat. Once the oil is hot enough, toss in the shallots and fry for about 2 – 3 minutes or until they have begun to brown. Remove the shallots with a slotted spoon and place onto a plate covered with a kitchen towel. Salt immediately.
  • Finely dice the onion and garlic. Then heat the remaining sunflower oil in a large, deep frying pan over a medium heat. Toss in the cumin and chilli flakes and toast for 1 minute before adding the onion and garlic. Fry for 4 – 5 minutes or until the onion is soft and see-through.
  • Tip the cooked rice into the pan and increase the heat. Fry for a further 3 – 4 minutes or until the bottom of the rice starts to brown and crisp. At this point pour in the pea sauce and stir into the rice. Heat through the sauce for another couple of minutes and season the rice to taste.
  • Top and tail your green beans. Bring 200ml of water to the boil and toss in the green beans. Boil vigorously for 2-3 minutes until the beans are soft with a little bite. Once cooked, arrange the beans over the rice and coat with the fried shallots. Sprinkle the sumac over the top of the dish to finish. Serve immediately.
5 from 3 votes
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