I got into making this dish today with three things in mind. One, cook something that I have never made before. Two, send it to Nupur’s Blog Bites Series 8 – One Dish Meals. Three – to finish off the largely untouched big block of cheese that was languishing in my fridge for quite some time. One-pot-dishes, with the notable exceptions of Sambar rice and tomato rice don’t really fit into my cooking schedule since K is not at all fond of them. I made an exception to this unwritten rule and went ahead with this.
Google yielded a lot of vegetable casseroles, but, the easiest of them all was Sunita Bhuyan’s recipe of Three Rice and Vegetable Bake. I still had a few ingredients missing. I used water instead of vegetable stock (which I know would probably make a heavenly difference to the whole finished product), did not have oregano ready, etc.. I still ventured and I guess, it was a fairly successful attempt. I would agree with Sunita and say that this dish looks and feels more like a Khichdi with western flavours left inside the the oven for that final touch. Nevertheless, it was extremely filling and a wholesome meal. Now lets go to the recipe, basically Sunita's recipe, but halved, changed, added, deleted, all at once. :-)
Ingredients (serves 2 – 3)
Basmati Rice: 1 Cup
Vegetable stock: About 4 cups (I used water)
Crushed red chillies: ½ tbsp + ½ tsp
Dried oregano: 2T (I did not use this)
Onion (fairly small, finely chopped): 1 No
Garlic (minced fine): 2 cloves
Carrot (medium, finely chopped): 1 No
Potato (medium, finely chopped): 1 No
Broccoli florets: ½ cup
Beans (finely chopped): 5 – 6
Green Peas (fresh or frozen): 1/3 cup
Cauliflower florets: ½ cup
Grated cheddar cheese: 1 C
Sesame seeds: ½ T
Freshly ground pepper: to taste
Salt: to taste
Corriander leaves: 1 tbsp
In a large pot mix 3 cups of stock/water, rice, bay leaves, oregano, crushed red chillies, pounded pepper, onions, garlic, salt, and green peas.
Mix this and bring it to a boil on a high flame.
Now reduce the heat and cook for 8 – 10 minutes.
Raise the heat to medium and add potatoes, beans and carrots. Now reduce the heat again and cook on low heat for another 8 – 10 minutes. If you feel the mixture has thickened, add about ½ a cup of water.
Now add the cauliflower and broccoli florets. Cook on simmer for 5 – 6 minutes.
As you add the broccoli, preheat the oven to 400F or 200 C.
Now, this mixture on the stove would thicken again. So, add some water to keep it a little watery all the time.
After cooking the cauliflower for 5 – 6 minutes, add half of the cheese. Mix well for about 2 – 3 minutes and take the pot off heat.
Pour the mixture into a casserole dish (I did not have one, so, I lined my square cake tin with aluminium foil and poured the mixture into it). This mixture was a little gravy-ish at this stage. Sunita suggests to maintain it at this consistency and not let the mixture dry out since this would further cook in the oven for about 20 minutes.
Now mix the remaining cheese with ½ tbsp of sesame seeds and ½ tsp of crushed red chillies.
Sprinkle over the rice-gravy.
I added some chopped coriander also to this.
Place in the middle rack in the oven for about 15 – 20 minutes.
When the top layer bubbles and it attains a brown colour, it can be called complete.
I served it with some Pringles on the side for a satisfying and filling dinner.