Chickpea and Saffron Plov
2 brown onions, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 1/2 cups of dried chickpeas
1 tablespoon of currants
2 cups of boiling water
2 big handfuls of fresh spinach
4 sprigs of dill (plus extra for serving)
4 sprigs of coriander (plus extra for serving)
1 1/2 cups of white or brown basmati rice
1 tablespoon of cumin seeds
Two pinches of saffron threads
Labneh (to serve)
Saffron drizzle (to serve - simply add a few saffron threads to boiling water)
1. The night or morning before you want to make the dish, rinse the dried chickpeas and soak in a bowl of water. Cover and set aside.
2. After a minimum of 8 hours soaking, drain the chickpeas from the water and add to a pan of boiling water. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove from the heat and set aside.
3. Add a generous splash of olive oil to a heavy based casserole dish and bring to a medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and cumin seeds and let them cook for about 10 minutes, until they are soft and golden.
4. Next add the chilli seeds and give everything a good stir so that the spices are evenly distributed and the mix is evenly covering the bottom of the casserole dish.
5. Scatter the chickpeas and currants over the top of the onions, creating an even layer. DON’T MIX! The ideas of the dish is that it cooks in layers.
6. Measure out a cup of water and add a pinch of salt to the water. Pour the salt and water mix over the chickpeas.
7. Then add the spinach, dill and coriander to the casserole dish, creating another layer on top of the chickpeas.
8. Next, add the rice, again scattering in an even layer over the top of the greens and resisting the urge to mix.
9. Sprinkle the saffron threads over the chickpeas and then add another cup of water with a pinch of salt. The water needs to be just covering the rice layer (you may need to a add a little more water).
10. Put a lid onto the casserole dish and cook for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the rice has cooked.
11. Once the rice has cooked, remove from the heat and serve in bowls with a dollop of labneh and a drizzle saffron oil.