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In the lockdown I got into ordering some of the food stuffs less easy to get hold of locally online, and that is where I found the red rice. I overcooked it the first time I used it, but now I’ve got it right. It’s all down to the soaking. This rice wants to be steeped in cold water for a couple of hours or so before it’s cooking.

For 4 portions

120 grams red rice

500 ml vegetable stock

50 grams raw cashew nuts

2-3 tablespoons olive or peanut oil

1/2 red onion – diced

3-4 cloves garlic – finely chopped

2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

1 red chilli – finely chopped

Seeds from 10 green cardamoms

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1/2 medium courgette – cut into small cubes

1/2 cauliflower – just the florets cut small

150 grams french green beans – cut into 1/2 cm lengths

salt and freshly ground black pepper

At least two hours before you are going to cook, put the rice to soak in enough cold water to cover it generously.

Toast the cashews in a thick based pan over a low heat until golden brown. Put to one side.

Drain the rice from its soaking liquid. Heat the stock in a saucepan and once it is boiling add the rice and a pinch of salt. Leave to cook on a slow simmer for about ten minutes.

Heat the oil or butter in a wok or deep frying pan over a low heat and add the onion. Fry until translucent then add the garlic and ginger. Continue frying until the contents are lightly browned.

Add the spices and fry for a few minutes.

Add the courgettes and cauliflower florets. Cover the pan and continue cooking.

After the rice has had its ten minutes of cooking, throw in the green beans and cook for a further 3-4 minutes by which time most of the cooking liquid will have been absorbed.

Add the rice and beans to the rest of the vegetables and stir well to mix. Cook for a further five minutes for the flavours to mix and to dry the Biryani if it is a bit too liquid.

Check the seasonings adding salt and pepper as needed.

Lastly stir in the cashew nuts and serve.