PARSLEY, COURGETTE AND AVOCADO RICE BOWL
A gorgeous bowl for the transition from summer to autumn, this recipe combines Ayurvedic spices with a distinct Italian feeling thanks to the fresh parsley, extra virgin olive oil and courgette. All the ingredients are beautifully seasonal, the harvest of warmer days, and the mix of textures makes it the perfect bowl food. The sautéed courgettes have a bit of a bite, and a caramelised skin, while chunks of avocado lend a lovely creamy texture. This dish works well as a side dish with protein, but I love it on its own, especially to balance out an earlier feast.
1 small handful fresh parsley (I usually prefer flat-leaf, but here the more robust curly parsley also works)
4 small courgettes (I used 3 green and 1 yellow), sliced into rounds
1/2 cup (125ml) basmati rice (if using brown rice, soak for at least 8 hours or overnight)
1 medium-large avocado
Juice of 1/2 lemon or 1 lime
2 tbsp ghee (or coconut oil to make it vegan)
Olive oil, to serve
For the spice mix
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
Salt, to taste
Generous grind black pepper
Rinse the basmati rice three times and drain.
Place into a small saucepan with 1 ½ cups (375ml) of water. Cover and bring to the boil, then lower the heat to medium and cook, lid on, until soft and fluffy — about 10-15 minutes.
Measure out the spices into a cup.
Heat 1 tablespoon of ghee in a large frying pan and gently fry a third of the courgettes on medium heat.
After a minute or two, when the courgettes are just beginning to colour, add another third of the courgettes and repeat with the last third, adding a little more ghee if necessary.
When the courgettes are cooked but still firm add another tablespoon of ghee, along with the fresh parsley and spices.
Keep the spices moving in the pan and sauce with the courgettes until you can smell the aroma.
Turn off the heat and add in the cooked white rice and carefully fold together until well mixed. Fold through the avocado pieces carefully.
Squeeze over the fresh lemon or lime juice, adjust seasoning and serve immediately.
East by West tips:
If you want to serve later, reserve the avocado and add in just before serving.
For some protein, add sautéed tempeh or a handful of soaked or toasted nuts or seeds. You can even top with a fried egg or chopped hard-boiled egg.
This bowl is also delicious with a hit of chutney — try the green chutney or ginger and rhubarb chutney, the Sri Lankan pickle or the beetroot raita from East by West (pages 229-31, 235, 237 and 226 respectively) for a few variations.