Everyone in our family loves the flavours and spiciness of Nandos, especially their spicy rice. We only go there for special occasions, because it works out expensive for a family of 5. Especially when our 3 boys can eat so much!! So I decided to work on my own version of our favourite takeout, so we can have this tasty treat more often at home and for a fraction of the cost.
When I started researching ideas for this dish, I was very surprised at how many different styles of spicy rice there were online, all claiming to be ‘exactly’ the same as what you would get from Nandos. Quite a few of the recipes I came across, looked more like a risotto. However, Nandos rice has separate grains and is not saucy at all.
I’ve tried basmati rice, but I’ve found that medium grain rice works best in this recipe. I cook my rice on the stovetop and it is very important the rice sits in the refrigerator overnight, as this allows the rice to firm up and to dry out. If you try to use it straight away, you will have some issues, as the rice will be too soft and contain too much moisture. So when you try to mix it together with the rest of the ingredients in the wok, the rice will become a little mushy instead of separate grains.
There’s been quite a bit experimenting with this recipe, mainly trying to get the flavours right, as I didn’t want any one flavour to dominate too much. You can taste all the flavours in this rice dish, the garlic, turmeric, cumin and of course the chilli. We like our rice spicy, so I use ½ teaspoon of chilli powder, but if you like it milder then reduce this amount to suit your own personal taste. The vegetables not only give a gorgeous contrast on the yellow rice, but a nice little crunch too.
I hope you enjoy this side dish as much as my family does.
300g (10.6 ounces or 1½ cups) medium grain rice
2 tablespoons (30ml) light olive oil (I use this brand)
50g (1.8 ounces or ⅓ cup) red onion, finely chopped
70g (2.5 ounces or ½ cup) red capsicum, finely diced
70g (2.5 ounces or ½ cup) green capsicum, finely diced
65g (2.3 ounces or ½ cup) frozen baby peas, defrosted
1 tablespoon (15ml) finely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon (5ml) salt, or to taste
½ teaspoon (2.5ml) ground turmeric
½ teaspoon (2.5ml) ground cumin
¼-½ teaspoon (1.25ml-2.5ml) hot chilli powder, or to taste
¼ teaspoon (1.25ml) sweet paprika
Cook the rice as per the instructions on the packet, rinse and drain well. Transfer the cold rice to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Take the rice out of the refrigerator about an hour or so before you want to start cooking.
In a wok, or a large pan, heat the oil over a medium-high heat and then add the onion and red and green capsicums, cooking for couple of minutes and stirring frequently. Next, add the peas and finely chopped garlic, then cook for a further 40 seconds. Now add the salt and spices and cook until fragrant.
Turn the heat down to medium and then tip the rice into the wok, I find the easiest way to break up the rice and mix it thoroughly through the rest of the ingredients, is to use 2 wooden spoons. Keep mixing until the vegetables and spices are evenly distributed, and the rice is heated through.