These fabulous ideas turn our favourite staple into simple-yet-delicious dinners.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

These fabulous ideas turn our favourite staple into simple-yet-delicious dinners.

Try adding
some drained
canned chickpeas
to the salad.
Try adding some drained canned chickpeas to the salad.
Roast Chicken With Rice Salad.

Prep 15 mins + resting / Cook 1½ hours / Serves 4.

1.5 kg chicken, trimmed, wiped ½ lemon 2 tbsps olive oil 2 tsps ground coriander 1 tsp ground cumin 1 tsp ground paprika.


1½ cups short grain brown rice, rinsed 1½ cups baby kale leaves 1 red capsicum, seeded, finely chopped ½ x 400 g punnet heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved ½ bunch parsley, leaves chopped 1/3 cup cashews 1/3 cup currants ¼ cup sunflower seeds 2 green onion, finely sliced ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil ¼ cup lemon juice 2 garlic cloves, chopped.

1. Preheat oven to hot 200 C.

2. Place chicken in a baking dish. Insert lemon in cavity and rub with combined oil, coriander, cumin and paprika. Season.

3. Roast chicken 1½ hours, turning tray halfway through cooking. Transfer chicken to a plate, cover loosely with foil and rest for 10 mins.

4. RICE SALAD Meanwhile, cook rice in rice cooker. When rice is cooked, cool 10 mins. Transfer rice to a large bowl. Add kale, capsicum, tomatoes, parsley, cashews, currants, seeds and onion. Drizzle with combined remaining ingredients. Serve with carved chicken.

If preferred,
use a packet of
brown rice.
If preferred, use a packet of microwaveable brown rice.
Chorizo Burritos.

Prep 20 mins / Cook 25 mins / Serves 4 to 6.

½ cup long grain brown rice, rinsed 4 corn cobs, husks and silks removed 250 g chorizo, 2 cm slices 1 red onion, sliced thickly ¼ cup coriander leaves or chopped chives 2 small chilli, seeded, finely chopped Finely grated zest, juice of 1 lime ½ cup Greek yoghurt 1 baby cos lettuce, leaves separated 1 avocado, seeded, sliced 8 tortilla wraps Chilli sauce, to serve.

1. In a medium saucepan, cook rice following pack instructions. Set aside.

2. Preheat a chargrill or barbecue plate on high. Spray corn with oil. Chargrill 6 to 8 mins, turning until tender and grill marks appear. Cut kernels from corn. Transfer to a large bowl.

3. Meanwhile, chargrill chorizo and onion slices, 1 to 2 mins each side, until grill marks appear and onion is tender.

4. Add rice, coriander, chilli and juice to corn. Season and toss well. In a small bowl, combine yoghurt and lime zest. Season to taste.

5. Divide lettuce, rice mixture, chorizo and onion slices, and avocado evenly between each wrap. Drizzle with Greek yoghurt mixture and season. Roll up tightly then slice in half to serve. Accompany with chilli sauce.

My Reading Room
Rice Stuffed Eggplant & Capsicum.

Prep 20 mins / Cook 45 mins / Serves 4.

2 medium eggplant, halved lengthways 2 medium red capsicum, halved lengthways, seeds removed 2 tbsps olive oil, plus extra 1 onion, finely sliced 500 g lamb mince 1 tsp sumac (available from leading supermarkets) 1 tsp ground cinnamon 1 cup passata 1 cup cooked basmati rice 1 cup small mint leaves, plus extra to serve 1/3 cup raisins 150 g haloumi, grated Toasted pine nuts, rocket salad, to serve.

1. Preheat oven to moderate 180 C. Line the roasting dish with baking paper.

2. Using a teaspoon, remove flesh from the eggplant halves, leaving a 1 cm-thick shell. Finely chop the eggplant flesh and set aside.

3. Place eggplant and capsicum halves cut-side up in pan. Brush with half oil. Season. Bake 10 mins.

4. Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, heat 1 tbsp oil on medium. Saute onion 1 min. Add mince and brown 2 to 3 mins, breaking up lumps. Stir in spices and cook 1 min until fragrant. Mix in passata and chopped eggplant. Cook 2 to 3 mins until liquid reduces by one-third. Remove pan from heat. Stir rice, mint and raisins through. Season to taste.

5. Divide mince mixture between vegetable halves. Sprinkle haloumi over. Drizzle with extra olive oil.

6. Bake 20 to 25 mins until tops are golden and vegetables are tender. Set aside 5 mins.

7. Top with pine nuts and mint leaves and serve with rocket salad.

Slice and salt
large eggplants
to draw out any
Slice and salt large eggplants to draw out any bitterness.
Vegetable Briyani.

Prep 15 mins / Cook 35 mins / Serves 4 to 6.

30 g butter or ghee 2 onions, sliced ½ cup korma paste ¼ cauliflower head, small florets 1 eggplant, chopped (see tip) 1½ cups brown basmati rice or blend, rinsed 2 carrots, sliced 1 red capsicum, seeded, diced 400 ml can light coconut milk 1 cup vegetable stock 250 g punnet cherry tomatoes, halved ½ cup frozen peas 1/3 cup dried cranberries Natural yoghurt, coriander sprigs, toasted flaked almonds, naan, to serve.

1. In a large heavy-based saucepan, melt butter on medium. Saute onion 4 to 5 mins until tender and golden. Add paste and cook, stirring 1 min until fragrant.

2. Mix in cauliflower and eggplant. Cook, stirring, 1 min until well coated in paste.

3. Stir rice, carrot and capsicum through. Add coconut milk and stock. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, 15 mins until vegetables and rice are tender.

4. Fold tomatoes, peas and cranberries through. Cook 4 to 5 mins.

5. Set aside, covered, 10 mins. Fluff with a fork to separate grains. Drizzle with yoghurt, sprinkle with coriander and almonds, and serve with naan.

Instant Family Hit!
Wild Rice Nasi Goreng.

Prep 15 mins + chilling / Cook 20 mins / Serves 4.

2 x 250 g long grain and wild rice, cook in rice cooker ½ cup peanut oil 500 g chicken thigh fillets, trimmed, sliced 500 g prawns, peeled, deveined 150g green beans, 3-cm pieces 1 carrot, finely sliced 3 green onions, trimmed, 3-cm pieces 2 garlic cloves, sliced 1 large red chilli, seeded, sliced 1 cup finely shredded bak choy or Chinese cabbage 2 tbsps kecap manis 100 g bean sprouts 4 eggs, fried Fried shallots, coriander leaves, belacan to serve.

1. Cook rice in rice cooker. Fluff with a fork and place on an oven tray. Cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and chill 30 mins until cold.

2. In a wok, heat 2 tbsps oil on high, swirling to coat surface. Stirfry chicken 4 to 5 mins until cooked through. Add prawns and cook 1 to 2 mins until they change colour.

3. Add beans, carrot, onion, garlic and chilli. Stir-fry 1 to 2 mins. Mix in rice, bak choy and kecap manis. Stir-fry 2 to 3 mins until rice is heated through and wombok is wilted.

4. Toss bean sprouts through. Divide mixture between serving bowls. Top each with a fried egg, fried shallots and coriander. Serve with belacan if you like it spicy. W

Photos: Rob Shaw/