After 2 days of Indian style rice dishes, I have an African tomato rice for the final day of this week’s marathon. Tomato flavored rice is quite a popular side dish in west African menus. This recipe is from ‘Vegan Eats World‘ by Terry Hope Romero.
Recipe uses brown rice instead of white and is baked instead of cooking on the stove. I’ve never baked brown rice before and was skeptical to follow the recipe. But I wanted to try it because when brown rice is boiled with more wet ingredients like the tomato paste, it tends to become mushy and cook unevenly. So to prevent that this dish is baked for a firmer, evenly cooked grains.
Original recipe used thyme but I added some ground coriander and fresh cilantro to give the dish an Indian touch. Serve with some tofu or paneer curry or raita for a complete meal.
Preheat the oven to 400°F and keep a ceramic or metal baking pan ready.
Heat 1tbsp oil in a saute pan, add onion, garlic and green chilies. Saute till onions turn translucent, about 4~5 minutes.
Now add the add rice and cook till the grains appear lightly toasted. Remove from the heat and spread the fried rice in the baking pan.
In a measuring cup, combine 2cups boiling water, tomato paste, salt and ground coriander (or dried thyme). Whisk to dissolve the tomato paste. Pour the tomato water over the rice and then stir in the peas. Bake for 25 minutes.
Peel back the foil, stir twice, seal the foil again, and then turn the pan 180°; this will help redistribute the heat over more even baking.
Bake another 30minutes, then remove from oven and remove the foil.
The grains should have absorbed the liquid and the rice should be firm, chewy, but not hard in the center.
If the rice is still hard and looks very dry, add a few tablespoons of water over the rice and bake another 10 minutes or so; if the rice is very wet, loosely cover to allow a little steam to escape and continue to bake another 8~10 minutes.
When done, remove from the oven and let stand covered for 5 minutes. Granish with chopped cilantro and serve hot.