Did I ever tell you how much I adore rice ? That is, both sweet and savoury dishes. Rice pudding’s texture is so creamy, divine, sublime and more-ish, and baked rice Maltese style is one of the most delicious traditional dishes in their cuisine in my opinion.
So, the influence of British rice pudding and Maltese baked rice (known as Ross-il-Forn) got engaged and were to be married under the hands of moi. The result – couldn’t be better suited, seriously addictive, and what’s more, healthy too ! You’ll love it.
Serve with your favourite green herb salad and a dressing with a little mustard.
Serves 4 good portions
1½ cups short grain brown rice
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cups zucchini (courgettes), chopped into small squares
2-3 cups mushrooms of your choice (white or cremona work best), chopped 2 cups fresh pumpkin, chopped into squares
2-3 Tbsp tomato puree
½ tsp garlic granules, or similar
½ cup sweetcorn (optional)
sea salt and pepper to taste
CHEESE SAUCE INGREDIENTS
2 cups grated vegan cheese
2 cups water
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
salt to taste
½ cup raw cashews, rinsed in water
METHOD FOR THE CHEESE SAUCE
Place the above cheese sauce ingredients in a liquidizer, and liquidize until smooth. Then set aside.
METHOD FOR THE RICE & SAUCE
Soak the rice for a few hours, rinse the water, and then boil for half an hour or until ready, and left very slightly al dente. Then drain, rinse in cold water, and set aside while you make the sauce.
Heat up the olive oil in a wok, – yes, you heard right, a wok – and sauté the courgettes, until they turn a little translucent and soft.
Then add the pumpkin, and stir for 5-10 minutes until it begins to soften.
Next, add the mushrooms, stir again, and allow the mushrooms to cook really well – they will release much of their juices, do not despair – and at this point stir in the tomato puree, and allow the juices to evaporate, but not dry up – this will take some minutes.
Now add the remaining ingredients, and once they are cooked, carefully spoon in the cooked rice, mixing it gently but thoroughly, in your wok.
Pre-heat your oven to 200°C/395°F, and prepare a greased ovenproof dish around 9-10 inches in diameter.
Pour the cheese sauce in with the rice, it will all appear very moist – and then spoon the rice mixture in to your oven dish (I used a ladle to do so), evenly flatten the top with the back of the ladle, and place in your preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until it’s totally golden on top. Allow a few minutes before serving.