Meera Sodha’s vegan recipe for piccalilli spiced rice

Transform the Indian-style classic from a savour to a hearty meal with bright-yellow rice and crisp vegetables

Piccalilli is the most strange and wonderful of British seasonings. Its mere neon-yellow presence evokes a world of tea cakes, tennis whites and summers spent pickling allotment vegetables to the sound of the cricket on the radio. But it is also a reassuring reminder of the love affair between Britain and India( from where the recipe was inspired) that is still played out in our kitchens more than 400 years after it first started.

Piccalilli spiced rice

The veggies are best chopped small for this, so be prepared for a reasonable sum of chopping. The basic big red chillies, which are often mild, are perfect here, rather than the hot bird’s-eye chillies.

Prep 30 min
Cook 40 min
Serves 4

1 large cauliflower (8 00 g net weight)
Rapeseed petroleum
Salt
300 g basmati rice
11/2 tsp black mustard seeds
11/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 large red onion , peeled and diced
350 g carrots ( about 4 medium ones ), peeled and finely diced
3 garlic cloves , peeled and minced
2 big red chillies , finely sliced
200 g green beans , cut into 1-2cm pieces
4 tsp mustard powder, constructed into a paste
21/2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp turmeric

Heat the oven to 200 C/ 390 F/ gas 6. Line two trays with foil and break down or cut the cauliflower into bite-size florets no greater than 2cm across the widest proportion. Set in a single layer in the different regions of the trays, drizzle with petroleum and sprinkle with a little salt, then roast for 15 minutes, or until crisp, turning once halfway.

Meanwhile, cleaned the rice well under cold work water until the water operates clear, then leave to soak in a pan of hot water for five to 10 minutes. Drain, encompas with cold water, bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Drain, leave in the sieve over the pan, cover-up with a clean tea towel, and set aside.

Heat three tablespoons of oil in a large , nonstick frying pan and, when hot, add the mustard and cumin seeds. Let them sizzle and pop, then add the onion and carrots. Cook for 10 minutes until both are starting to caramelise, then add the garlic and chillies, and fryfor three minutes, until the raw smell of garlic disappears. Add the beans, cook for three to four minutes until tender( but still crunchy ), then add the mustard, lemon juice, turmeric and one and three-quarter teaspoons salt. Stir in the roasted cauliflower, then slowly fold in the rice until everything is well mixed and the rice is a uniform yellow.

Check the rice for mustard, lemon and salt, and adjust as you wish. Serve with a dollop of non-dairy yoghurt and some mango chutney on the side.

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