My love of the high street food chain Nando’s inspired this spicy rice recipe. I don’t usually prefer rice, preferring other sides like their macho peas. However, this rice dish completes any peri-peri-inspired dinner.
What is Spicy Rice?
As its name suggests, spicy rice is a rice-based dish made with spices. When discussing spicy food, we tend to think of foods made from chillies, giving food a characteristic heat. However, anything made with spices, giving food a fragrant flavour, may be considered spicy. Fortunately, this homemade recipe can be altered to match everyone’s chilli tolerance level.
This recipe takes inspiration from Nando’s, which is probably my favourite high-street restaurant chain. It’s relatively cheap compared to most restaurants, super quick service, and deliciously simple food utilising familiar flavours. At home, I like to create a takeaway Nando’s as I often find myself overspending and overeating when presented with a Nando’s menu.
Rice for Spicy Rice
Any rice can be used to make this rice. However, basmati rice offers a delicious nutty flavour to the rice. Long-grain rice may also be used, but you may tweak the recipe’s stock measurement and cooking times accordingly.
It’s essential to wash the excess starch from the rice when using basmati rice to prevent it from becoming sticky. To do this, soak the rice in cold water and refresh it three times. This will result in light, fluffy rice with rice that doesn’t clump together.
How to Cook the Rice
This spicy rice would qualify as a rice pilaf dish, as it’s rice cooked with a flavoured stock. Here, it’s a mixture of spices for flavour and tomatoes for flavour. As with most pilafs, onion, garlic, and chilli are softened in oil before adding the spices. Then, the rice is coated in this cooked mixture to ensure an even spread. The tomatoes and stock are then slowly brought to a boil before leaving on a gentle simmer for 10-12 minutes.
Spicy Rice (Nando’s Style)
- 300 g Basmati Rice
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 White Onion Finely Diced
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 3 Garlic Cloves Finely Chopped
- 1 Red Pepper finely Diced.
- 1 Green Pepper Finely Diced.
- 1 Green Chilli Deseeded and Chopped
- 1 Can Chopped Tomatoes
- ½ Tsp Ground Turmeric
- ½ Tsp. Cayenne Pepper
- ½ Tsp. Smoked Paprika
- Salt to taste
- 600 ml Vegetable Stock
- Juice from 1 Lemon
- 5 g Fresh Coriander Leaves Chopped
- Soak the rice in cold water for 5 minutes, then drain. Repeat 3 times to wash off the excess starch.
- Heat a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the oil. When it’s hot, add the onions and a pinch of salt. Cook for 5-6 minutes until the onions begin to soften.
- Add the garlic, peppers, and chilli. Cook for 4-5 minutes until the peppers begin to soften.
- Stir in the spices and cook for 1 minute before adding the chopped tomatoes.
- Add the rice and stir until the rice has been well coated by the spice mixture. Cover with the water.
- Bring the rice to a boil, cover and reduce to a gentle simmer. Cook for 10-12 minutes until the rice has absorbed most of the stock. Once cooked, allow the rice to stand, covered, for 5 minutes.
- Fluff the rice with a fork, then stir through the lemon juice and coriander. Add more salt to taste.