Basmati Rice with Aubergines and Currants

In the Himalayas, fields of basmati rice are said to perfume the air with their fragrance. It is wonderful that this king of rice is so widely available now, because its flavour and texture are hard to match. This recipe makes a delicious accompaniment to stews, casseroles or curries, or even a roast chicken for Sunday lunch.

Ingredients

  • 225 g/8 oz basmati rice
  • 50 g/2 oz currants
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 small to medium aubergines
  • 50 g/2 oz butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4-5 cardamom pods, roughly crushed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • just over 300 ml/½ pint water
  • black pepper

Method

Put the rice into a sieve and wash through well with running water. Then put it into a bowl with the currants and 600 ml/1 pint of salted water and leave to soak for 30 minutes-1 hour. Meanwhile, put the vinegar into a medium saucepan of salted water and bring to the boil. Top and tail the aubergines and cut them into 1.25cm/½in cubes. Add the aubergines to the boiling water and boil for 5-8 minutes, until soft. Drain, pat dry with absorbent paper and leave on one side.

Heat the butter and olive oil in a saucepan over a medium heat, add the aubergines and cardamom pods and stir for 4-5 minutes. Drain the rice and currants, add to the aubergine mixture and stir for another minute. Add the salt and a good sprinkling of black pepper to the water, pour it into the saucepan and stir around. Bring to bubbling, then reduce the heat, cover the pan and cook over the lowest possible heat for 10-12 minutes, until the rice is soft but still has a bite to it. Using a fork, turn out onto a warm serving plate.

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