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Roz o Bazella (rice and peas)

Roz o bazella is as simple as making rice, with a few added steps.

We all have our go-to dishes; the ones we make on autopilot and make sure we always have the ingredients on hand for. For me, roz o bazella is one of those dishes. I love it, my husband loves it, and my kids love it… what's not to love? Did I mention it is ridiculously easy and delicious? You can even serve it at a dinner party alongside a roasted chicken. It really doesn't get any better than that.

Many variations of this dish are made in the Levant, and like many Levantine dishes, each country, city and even family has their own recipe. Today, I'm going to be sharing the way I like to make it.

Roz o bazella is as simple as making rice, with a few added steps. I usually fry my nuts in large batches and keep them on hand. The process is pretty self-explanatory, but one tip for frying almonds and pine nuts is never to fry them together, as the pine nuts will burn before the almonds are brown. Another tip is after you fry your almonds, throw in your pine nuts and then turn off the heat. The residual heat from the oil is enough to fry your pine nuts in seconds. Never look away from pine nuts because they burn in a blink of an eye!

This dish is a one-pot wonder, so not only is it super easy to make, you won't be slaving away at the sink after. I usually use minced beef but you can use lamb instead or even leave out the meat. You want to spice this liberally because you'll be adding rice, so you want to have enough for it to be flavourful.

I like to use medium grain rice for this dish, but you can use any rice you like, just cook it as you normally would. Once you've added the water to the rice and it has begun to boil, taste the water and adjust the seasoning and spices to your liking. You want the water to be slightly saltier than you like, because the rice will absorb it.

Once your rice is done, plate it into a serving platter and scatter the nuts over it. Serve with yogurt and cucumber salad or a green salad and enjoy!

Ingredients- serves 4

  • 50g pine nuts
  • 50g blanched almonds
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 400g minced beef or lamb
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • ¾ tbsp cinnamon
  • ½ tbsp cardamom
  • 1½ tbsp mixed spices
  • 300g frozen peas
  • 500g medium grain rice
  • Water

Instructions

  1. Fry your nuts in some sunflower or vegetable oil. You just need enough to cover the bottom of your pan. Place on some paper towels to drain excess oil.
  2. In a pot, add some sunflower or vegetable oil and the minced meat. Brown the meat and then add the onions. Once soft, add the garlic and spices.
  3. Add the peas and continue to stir. I like to use frozen peas because I feel like they have the best texture and keep their shape, but feel free to use fresh or canned peas.
  4. Next, add the rice and mix with all of the ingredients. Make sure the rice is completely incorporated. Add water according to the rice cooking instructions and bring to the boil. Taste the water and adjust the seasoning to your liking. You want the water to taste saltier than you like it because the rice will be absorbing it and you want the rice to be flavourful. Lower the heat to the lowest setting, cover and cook.
  5. Serve with a side of cucumber and yogurt salad or a green salad and enjoy!
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