I couldn't decide on a title for this dish. It doesn't contain egg like most fried rice dishes (though now that I think about it, that probably would be a delicious addition). I don't want to call it biryani because it isn't layered nor baked. Rather this dish was a delicious experiment to use up the leftover basmati rice that I had sitting in my fridge and to satisfy my must eat fast hunger pains that erupted as soon as I walked through the apartment door at five pm. All in all it turned out delicious and came together remarkably quickly (since the rice was already cooked). It's a very forgiving dish for those nights where you want a healthy and flavorful dinner on the table asap.
As I mentioned before, I'm not much of a recipe follower and this dinner doesn't really warrant a recipe (though I provided one just in case). Rather it's a use up the tidbits in your fridge kind of recipe. As long as you've got leftover rice and some vegetables, you're basically set. The rest is up to you and the contents of your fridge. Use whatever spices and vegetables you have on hand. If you have some leftover cooked chicken or meat, throw that in! I'd love to hear what variations you come up with!
I served the one-pot dish with a dollop of lime pickle from the local Indian grocery store. I'm completely and utterly addicted to this stuff! If you ever see a jar of this, don't hesitate to buy it - you won't regret it! Really, you could serve this dish with any chutney or Indian pickle you have on hand (or if you don't have either, the dish is flavorful enough to stand up on its own). I also made a pseudo-raita on the side which basically consisted of greek yogurt mixed with finely chopped cilantro and salt. It provided the perfect cool and soothing contrast to the hot and spicy fried rice.
Onto the "recipe" if you want to call it that!
Pseudo-Indian Fried Rice
2 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
Mix of Indian spices*
1/2 onion, diced
2 cups mixed vegetables, diced
1/3 cup toasted cashews
1 cup garbanzo beans
1/3 cup frozen peas
2 cups leftover basmati rice
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
chutney or pickle, to serve
quick raita** (recipe follows)
Heat 1 tbsp of vegetable oil in a wok or large pan over medium heat. Add spices and fry for a minute or so. Add onion and let soften for a few minutes. Add diced vegetables and stir fry until almost cooked (about 5-10 minutes, depending on the vegetables). Add in cashews and garbanzo beans. Push vegetables to the side to expose some of the bottom surface of the pan. Add reserved tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add in cold leftover rice and peas and stir-fry, breaking up clumps. Stir fry for a few minutes to heat up the rice and eventually mix the whole masterpiece together. If your rice is more than a day or two old, you may want to add a tbsp or two of water and stir-fry the mixture, letting the rice steam and soak up some of this moisture. Serve with chutney or Indian pickle and the following "quick raita."
*I used 2 tsp garam masala, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, 1/4 teaspoon chili powder, 3 green cardamom pods crushed (if all you have is curry powder, I'd go ahead and use 2-3 tsp of it)
3/4 cup greek yogurt (or plain yogurt, or sour cream)
2 tbsp finely minced cilantro
1/4 tsp salt or to taste
Mix all ingredients together, to taste.