01 November 2011

Chickpea & Cardamom Rice with Carrots and Za'atar Oil

Busy, busy.

I know we're all busy, and I usually shy away from using it as an excuse. After all, we make time for the things we care about. But really. There's *normal* busy, and then there's or busyy, or bizzy, or bizzay. I've been bizzay. Truefact.

One of the million things I've done recently is move into a new flat. It took me ages to settle in. Between other things keeping me occupied (wedding festivities, research, teaching, friends, dating), I haven't really had a moment to spare. I'm not complaining - I have a very full life, and I wouldn't trade any bit of it! But, I lived in my flat for three whole weeks before it felt like home. And until I settled in here, my kitchen mojo was nowhere to be found. I ate cheese and crackers for lunch the entire first week. It felt like I was cooking and eating in a stranger's house - except that all my stuff was here. Weird.

Finally, finally. A good meal. I'm back, baby!

This, incidentally, is a great meal if you're busy. It's got it all - carbs to keep you going, protein in those pulses, vitamins in the carrots, and some healthy fat in the yogurt. It's a one-dish, working lunch kind of thing. It's food that works just as hard as you do.

I found za'atar, after a long search, at a local foodie deli here in town. Za'atar features in Middle Eastern cooking, and it's a blend of sumac, thyme and sesame seeds. It's amazing. It tastes really earthy, with a sweet-salty combination that makes me very happy. I imagine it could take just about anything up a notch.

Chickpea & Cardamom Rice with Carrots and Za'atar Oil

250g white basmati rice
some olive oil to sauté
1/2 small onion, sliced
vegetable stock
2 medium carrots, grated
8 cardamom pods
200g cooked chickpeas
2 tea za'atar
2 tablespoons olive oil
full-fat greek yogurt, for serving

Place uncooked rice in a sieve and rinse until water runs clear; set aside to drain. Saute onion in a little olive oil, about 2 tablespoons, until beginning to soften. Add rice and continue to cook, stirring, until rice has begun to gain a little colour. Meanwhile, smash cardamom pods in a mortar and pestle, remove seeds and discard pods. Add vegetable stock to the pot along with grated carrots and cardamom seeds. Steam/cook until rice is done. Set aside to steam an additional 10 minutes before continuing.

While rice is steaming, prepare za'atar oil by mixing za'atar with 2 tablespoons olive oil.

Add cooked chickpeas to the rice and toss together. Serve with a dollop of greek yogurt, drizzle za'atar oil over top.

The end. Serves 4.


  1. Yum, the sound of za'atar with carrots and spiced and rice sounds so wonderfully comforting and rich without being heavy (if that makes any sense...). Love it.

  2. Hi Zo! What a great way to say it. I almost labelled it 'comfort food', but thought better of it! :)

  3. This looks crazy delicious. I've never heard of za'atar oil before but I'm going to have to look around for some. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  4. Thanks for commenting, Kristen. I like the way you spell your name! :)

  5. I just made this tonight and was blown away! What an amazing combination of flavors! Quite beautiful as well.. This is going on my go-to list of easy quick meals :)

  6. It seems rare that people spell their name the way we do. Thanks for stopping by and checking out my blog :)