Spicy Chickpeas and three rice risotto…

by Sunita on August 13, 2007

Risotto is a traditional dish made with a suitable variety of rice such as arborio, Carnaroli or Vialone Nano. It is one of the most common ways of cooking rice in Italy.When risotto is cooked, the rice is first cooked briefly in butter or olive oil until evenly coated and the rice starts to turn translucent, before broth is added, one ladle at a time. There are other similar dishes, but they should not be called “risotto” if the rice is not toasted.(wiki)

Risotto is a very simple and nutritious dish which, at the same time is easy to prepare. There are different types of risotto, but they all require four basic ingredients…sauteed vegetables (vegetables and onion sauteed in butter in the same pan that the rice will be cooked); broth(beef, chicken, vegetable, fish etc, which forms the basis of a good risotto); flavouring ingredients(anything from vegetables to saffron, meat, seafood, truffle or wine); and Italian rice(being rich in starch, they can absorb considerable amounts of cooking liquid without losing their firmness).Towards the end, butter and cheese(usually parmigiano) are added to complete the dish.

Risotto is one dish which we really love and relish…My love affair with risotto began relatively recently…around a couple of years back…since then, we’ve become absolutely hooked. I love the feel and the creamy texture of it.

A few posts earlier, I had mentioned about the great deal of soaked chickpeas at my disposal. After using it in a meal, I was still left with some to dispose. I also had this great pack of mixed rice( red, brown and black) …
…which I had picked up from the supermarket,like so many other things, just for their sheer beauty and to add to my already bursting- at- the- seams pantry! I was planning to make a risotto, but having no Italian rice at my disposal, decided to make it with the afore-mentioned rice mix. The result was quite good …the rice was firm to the bite and requires one to really slow down and relish it.
I was a bit apprehensive at first regarding the flavours in this dish…for one, the rice is different; secondly, I had never made a spicy risotto before and was not quite sure how everything would go…but to my pleasant surprise and obvious relief, the flavours integrated beautifully…creamy with the hint of spices and nice firm rice grains, which requires one to really slow down and relish every bite. Along with some fresh salad, it was a nice, complete one-pot meal. So here’s how I did it…
What’s needed-

3 -4 handfuls of chickpeas, soaked for 6-8 hours or overnight
1 glass of three rice mix (red, brown and black)
1 onion, sliced
2-3 pods of garlic, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
2 bay leaves
3 pods of cardamom
2” stick of cinnamon
2-3 cloves
1 whole red chilli
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp garam masala powder
1/2 tsp chilli powder(or more if desired)
2 tblsp olive oil
1/2 tblsp butter
75 gms of cheddar cheese(or parmigiano), grated
salt to taste

How to-

  1. Boil the chickpeas in 6-7 glasses of salty water along with 1 bay leaf and the cinnamon, cardamom and cloves till the chickpeas are done three- fourths of the way.
  2. Skim the foam that collects on the top as the chickpeas are being boiled.
  3. Strain the chickpeas and save the stock.
  4. Discard the bay leaf and other whole spices.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a pan.
  6. Add the other bay leaf, whole red chilli and the cumin seeds.
  7. When the seeds splutter, add the garlic and onion and fry till the onions soften.
  8. Add the chopped tomato along with the garam masala and chilli powder and fry for a minute.
  9. Add the chickpeas and rice and fry for 2-3 minutes till they are nicely coated in the spices.
  10. Pour half of the stock, cover, and cook over low heat till all of the liquid is dissolved.
  11. Gradually, add ladlefuls of the stock and cook till the rice is done, and is al dente(firm to th e bite).
  12. Add th ebutter and stir for a few seconds.
  13. Add the cheese, and stir for a minute.
  14. Check the seasoning…it should be enough as the stock is salty, but add more if desired.
  15. Remove from heat and keep covered for 2 minutes, so that all the flavours are infused.
  16. Serve hot on it’s own or with some fresh salad(as we did).

The dish retained the creaminess of a risotto, and with that subtle hint of spices, was really lovely…we enjoyed it enough to send it over to grace Sharmi’s blog who is hosting JFI(Rice), and event originated by Indira of Mahanandi.


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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Asha August 13, 2007 at 12:27 pm

Indian Bisibele Bhaat= Italian Risotto!!:D
I love the three rice display,looks great,healthy and yummy.I have to get Arborio, and try Risotto.


2 sunita August 13, 2007 at 12:38 pm

Asha, I have heard of bisibele bhaat, but have very little idea regarding it’s preparation…
…do try it with arborio, tastes lovely…I didn’t have any at that time, so made it with this rice mix…but it did taste great.


3 Sharmi August 13, 2007 at 1:59 pm

Hey Sunita, That recipe is a masterpiece. lovely looking and am sure it would have tasted delicious. I am bad at Italian food but learning a lot from you fellow bloggers.


4 sunita August 13, 2007 at 2:08 pm

Sharmi, thanks…we did enjoy it…and btw, aren’t we all learning something new all the time…after all, that’s what it’s all about:)


5 Sri August 13, 2007 at 3:48 pm

Hi Sunita……Seems like a healthy dish…..looks pleasing to the eyes too. Good one dear :-)


6 sunita August 13, 2007 at 5:03 pm

Sri, thanks…it was definitely pleasing and we really enjoyed it…glad to have you over…


7 sra August 13, 2007 at 5:16 pm

ah, so you’ve got a coloured rice too!


8 Saju August 13, 2007 at 5:37 pm

Nice one Sunita. I love risotto. In fact I posted a seafood and a mushroom risotto a while ago, but I am afraid I was a bit decadent… I added crisp white wine to the rice!
Do check it out if you have time.


9 sunita August 13, 2007 at 5:51 pm

Sra, the pack was too nice to resist…glad you dropped by…


10 sunita August 13, 2007 at 5:52 pm

Saju, thanks…will check out your version…nice to have you over.


11 Patricia Scarpin August 13, 2007 at 7:15 pm

Sunita, risotto is my favorite dish in the whole world!
I would love having some of this!


12 musical August 13, 2007 at 8:01 pm

Great, great dish, Sunita! I have the medley rice with brown, small grain and wild black rice, so will definitely try this. Even though this rice blend takes a lil’ while longer to cook, i love the taste :) .


13 Hima August 13, 2007 at 8:18 pm

That sure is a great entry.


14 Richa August 13, 2007 at 9:08 pm

hey, that’s a lovely combination you came up with! what’s not to like in chickpeas & rice :) good going! btw, the mirror cake profile pic is absolutely stunning!


15 Suganya August 13, 2007 at 9:10 pm

I am bowled over by yr creativity. Am gonna have to try this.. Have everything ready on hand….


16 Cynthia August 13, 2007 at 10:37 pm

This is definitely a treat!


17 Coffee August 14, 2007 at 4:45 am

This makes me want to try risotto with a different rice all the more! :)


18 Sig August 14, 2007 at 4:48 am

That is a beautful dish Sunita… I can’t resist good looking stuff in the grocery stores either, and that three color rice packet sure would have ended up in my shopping cart, if I ever came across that….


19 Nags August 14, 2007 at 4:49 am

niiice.. this is how i wanted my contribution to look but ended up sending the same old cliched veg pulao :)

will try this out sometime, probably when i have guests :)


20 Nags August 14, 2007 at 7:54 am

phew.. thank god! and thanks a ton for being a darling and taking the trouble to check and let me know :)


21 sunita August 14, 2007 at 7:57 am

Patricia,we too adore risotto…wish I could send some over to you :)


22 sunita August 14, 2007 at 8:02 am

musical, thanks…and yes, this rice mix takes slightly longer to cook, but I too adore the nutty texture.


23 sunita August 14, 2007 at 8:05 am

Suganya, awwww thanks! Do give it a try…hope you’re fit as a fiddle now…


24 sunita August 14, 2007 at 8:07 am

hima,thanks and glad you dropped by…


25 sunita August 14, 2007 at 8:12 am

Richa, thanks…you’re right…chickpeas and rice…bring it on…glad you liked the profile pic :)


26 sunita August 14, 2007 at 8:15 am

Cynthia, thanks…thanks for dropping by.


27 sunita August 14, 2007 at 8:19 am

coffee, do give it a try…I love playing around with ingredients :)


28 sunita August 14, 2007 at 8:26 am

Sig, thanks…so many things have made their way into my pantry on the basis of their looks :)


29 sunita August 14, 2007 at 8:30 am

Nags, thanks…glad you liked it…
btw, I’ve checked back on your blog…pics are visible now :)


30 Sia August 14, 2007 at 9:26 am

what not to like…i love risotto and u have given it a wonderful twist by using 3 diff rice. love it suni… very creative


31 sunita August 14, 2007 at 10:03 am

Sia!…thanks…glad you like the idea :)


32 Sandeepa August 14, 2007 at 5:22 pm

Chickpeas with Rice, what alovely combination


33 sunita August 14, 2007 at 7:13 pm

Sandeepa, thanks…glad you dropped by.


34 Jeena August 14, 2007 at 9:33 pm

Hi there, I like your blog! Nice recipe it looks yummy :) Feel free to visit my blog too :)

Click here for jeenas food recipe blog :-)


35 sunita August 15, 2007 at 10:41 am

jeena, thanks…glad you dropped by…


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