When people ask me where “home” is, I really have no idea. Before living in Mumbai and London, I lived the first 14 years of my life in Lagos, Nigeria. Although I can’t imagine ever living there again, I probably spent some of the best years of my life there. The friends I made in Lagos are lifelong and along with that, the food in Nigeria was out-of-this-world delicious. Besides the select restaurants like Pearl Garden (Chinese) & Al Basha (Lebanese), I fondly remember the meals we ate at home.
Like Mumbai, the lifestyle in Nigeria is extremely comfortable and hiring house help is the norm. Although chances are he will NEVER read this blog (or anything else on the internet for that matter), I can’t help to give a shout out to our cook Ignatius. He cooked plenty of delicious foods in his day but the one meal which my family and I still drool over the thought is his rice-stuffed chicken. It is beyond me why none of us ever asked him for the exact recipe of the rice, especially as it’s too little, too late now! That being said, the Brown Rice Mushroom & Almond Pilaf my mom made on Sunday just about replicated the taste. And trust me, it takes a lot for me to say any dish measures up to one cooked by Ignatius, which is why I have to share the recipe:
Brown Rice Mushroom & Almond Pilaf (serves 3-4)
- 1 Cup Brown Rice
- 1/2 cup Almonds
- 2 tablespoons Parsley
- 1 tblpn Oregano
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2-3 Tspns curry powder
- Olive oil
- Salt to taste
1) Set the rice to cook according to package directions.
2) While the rice is cooking, slice the almonds and roast them in a pre-heated oven for about 6-7 minutes (tossing occasionally), or until golden brown.
3) In a heated skillet, add spray oil or 1 – 2 tspns of olive oil. Sauté the onions till translucent and then add the sliced mushrooms.
4) Cook the mushrooms for 3-4 minutes and then mix in the rice & almonds (save some for garnishing). Season with the curry powder, oregano, salt and parsley.
5) Reduce the fire and let the rice mix cook for a few minutes.
6) Garnish with remaining almonds & serve