Monday, February 21, 2011

Oh, the places you will go!!

Spiced Vegetables with Basmati Rice
Photo: James Carrier, Sunset Magazine
March 2002

When my daughters were little, one part of our Saturday routine was a visit to the public library. Actually, it was more of an adventure. I told my girls that if they could read, they could travel anywhere in the world (or universe for that matter) by simply reading a book and using their imagination. And read they did. We would stop gathering books when the basket was too heavy to carry.

Cooking can also provide an adventurous trip. OK, so making a Moroccan stew is not the same as dining on a kefta tagine in Marrakech, but if you take the time to enjoy the fragrance of the spices and herbs and appreciate the new textures and flavor combinations....well, for a few moments you can be in Morrocco without packing your luggage. 

Spiced Vegetables with Basmati Rice


  • 1 1/2  cups  basmati rice
  • 4  ounces  green beans, rinsed, ends trimmed, and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2  teaspoons  vegetable oil
  • 1  onion (8 oz.), peeled and chopped
  • 1  clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1  tablespoon  minced fresh ginger
  • 1  teaspoon  ground cumin
  • 1  teaspoon  ground coriander
  • 1/2  teaspoon  cayenne
  • 2  cups  cauliflower florets
  • 1  can (15 1/2 oz.) crushed tomatoes
  • 1  can (15 1/2 oz.) garbanzos, drained and rinsed
  • Salt and pepper


1. In a 3- to 4-quart pan over high heat, bring 2 1/2 cups water and the rice to a boil; cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender to bite, 18 to 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over high heat, bring about 3 cups water to a boil. Add green beans and cook until tender-crisp to bite, about 2 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water until cool. Wipe pan dry.
3. Pour oil into pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add onion, garlic, and ginger; stir often until onion is limp, about 5 minutes. Stir in cumin, coriander, cayenne, cauliflower, and 1 cup water. Cover and bring to a simmer; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is tender when pierced, 8 to 10 minutes.
4. Add tomatoes and garbanzos, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, to blend flavors, about 10 minutes. Add green beans and stir occasionally until hot, about 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Spoon rice into four wide, shallow bowls and top equally with vegetables and sauce.

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