This is an extremely simple pilaf flavoured with leek and button mushrooms alone. Normally people add stock (like vegetable or chicken stock) but I like to keep it simple with clean flavours and free from any MSG! Leek is yet another vegetable that I have never cooked with before. I always find it next to celery in our grocery store and keep wondering how people use this thing. Then recently I read about the health benefits of leeks in a health magazine and I had to try it!
Leeks belong to the family of onion and garlic. In fact they resemble a lot to the green spring onions in appearance and flavour. So you can basically use leeks just like you would use the onions. I am not sure how good they taste raw but on cooking they impart this amazing flavour to the dish; just like celery. Leeks offer the following nutrients (source: WHFoods):
Like spring onions they tend to contain a lot of grit so they must be rinsed well. You can slice the leeks, put them in cold water for five minutes and then drain well. This will ensure that they are clean and also enhance their flavour. Use only the white to light green part of the leeks. The green leaves, unlike that of spring onions, are tough and thick and are normally not used in cooking. Slim cylindrical leeks have more flavour than the real thick ones as they are mature - especially if the bottom of the stem begins to develop round bulbs. So always go for the young, tender leeks. Leeks are known to have diuretic, anti-arthritic,laxative and antiseptic properties along with being a good source of dietary fiber. So next time don't shy away from these awesome veggies. Try and include them in your diet and reap all the benefits :)
Leek & Mushroom Pilaf: Recipe
- Leek - 1 large (about 200g), thinly sliced
- Button mushrooms - 250g, thinly sliced
- Garlic - 6 pods finely sliced
- Green chilli - 2 finely chopped
- Bay leaf - 1
- Basmati rice - 1 cup, washed, soaked for half an hour and drained well
- Olive oil - 2 to 3 tbsp
- Salt to taste
- Freshly ground pepper - to taste
- Dried herbs - 1 tsp
- Parsley finely chopped to garnish
- Water - 2 cups
- Warm olive oil in a deep pan. Fry the bay leaf for few seconds and then add the finely sliced garlic and green chillies. Saute well for couple of minutes.
- Add the finely sliced leek and saute well till they begin to brown.
- Add the mushrooms and keep frying till the water evaporates and they begin to brown.
- Season with salt and pepper. Add the dried herbs.
- Add the two cups of water and bring it to a boil. Do a taste test and adjust salt and pepper.
- Add the rice. Stir gently. Cover and cook on low flame till rice is soft and nicely done. Keep stirring gently once in a while.
- Garnish with chopped parsley and serve hot.