Coriander and Chicken Pilaf

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Coriander and Chicken Pilaf

Last night for supper, I wanted to use up some chicken left over from the Khao Man Ghai…and I also had a gorgeous cluster of heavenly coriander sitting staring at me from the kitchen window sill. My kids fancied a risotto…but I had run out of risotto rice – poor planning there.. But I did have my usual large kiln jar full of basmati rice. The sun was still in the sky so I went into pilaf mode! I love pilafs and they are SO easy to make – and so versatile – just like risotto – but less fiddly.

This is for 4 – though I recommend making more as it is it is moorish! Olive oil / 1 onion chopped finely or 4 small shallots/ 1 garlic clove chopped finely / 240 gm basmati rice – though long grain white is just dandy / 400 gm of good chopped tomatoes / pinch of sugar / 600 ml of chicken stock / left over chicken / bunch of coriander, chopped roughly / 2 tsp of pine kernels.

Heat oil in a sauté pan. Add a splash of oil. Pan fry onion and garlic for 5 minutes until softened. Add the rice – no need to rinse first – cook for about 2 or 3 minutes stirring all the time to coat the rice. Add the tomatoes, the sugar, stock , the chicken and coriander plus a little black pepper. Stir once. Bring to boil, then cover the pan with the lid, and simmer for about 15 minutes until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender – do not be tempted to stir! Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan and then add to the mix when the 15 minutes is up. Remove the lid – cover the pan with a clean tea towel – pop the lid back on and leave to one side for 10 minutes. Then lid off, tea towel off and stir lightly with a fork. I served it with lightly pan fried diced red chilli and chestnut mushrooms in butter.

This is a dish you can play about with – experiment with different fresh herbs, meats etc. You can use prawns or salmon too…it all depends on what tickles your fancy….or what’s parked in your fridge!

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Prawn pilaf

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I love the Greek name for this dish – Garides Pilafi – sounds more like a Greek centre forward !

Right, bring your chair closer.. this is  a great and terrifically easy dish – once you have mastered it – you can play about with all sorts of combinations.

For 4 people – I am assuming it is people you will be feeding..! 3 tbsp olive oil / 1 onion finely chopped  / 1 red pepper, cored, deseeded and sliced thinly / 1 garlic clove crushed /  225 gm long grain white rice /  700 ml fish, chicken or veg stock  / 1 bay leaf  / salt and pepper /  400 gm peeled cooked prawns. To garnish – a handful of whole cooked prawns, lemon wedges, Greek black olives – well any really… Serve with Pecorino cheese to grate over & cubes of Greek feta cheese – please don’t buy the imitations!

Heat the oil in a large lidded frying pan – I use a large stainless steel sauté pan. Add the onion, red pepper and garlic. Fry for 5 mins. until softened. Add the rice and cook for 2-3 mins., stirring all the time until the grains look transparent. Add the stock, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Bring to boil. Cover the pan with a tightly fitting lid ( I cover first with a layer of foil, then add the lid.) Simmer for 15 mins. until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed. Do not stir during cooking. When cooked very gently stir in the prawns. Remove lid. Cover pan with a clean tea towel. Replace lid and leave in a warm place for 20 minutes. I usually just pop it on the corner of the cooker. Stir then with a fork gently to separate the grains. Serve and garnish with the whole prawns, olives and lemon wedges. Pop the two cheeses on the table to serve with it.