Note: before starting anything else, soak the rice in cold water.
1 large clove garlic
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
6 raw cashews
1 Tbsp. unsweetened shredded coconut
3 cardamom pods
2 whole cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
1 dried red chili (remove some or all seeds depending on how much heat you want)
1/2 tsp. whole cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
Grind everything together in a mortar or food processor until it's a relatively smooth paste.
1 1/2 cups basmati rice (white or brown)
2-3 Tbsp. oil
1/2 medium onion
Enough water to cook rice
1 cup or more mixed vegetables, cut small (I used a basic frozen blend, but I do wish I had cauliflower in here)
1 cup cooked garbanzo beans or cubed firm tofu (to simulate paneer), optional
1/2 cup whole cashews, toasted
Saute the spice blend (all of it) in the oil for a few minutes; then add onion and continue sauteing until onion begins to soften. Add rice and water. Cook as you would regular rice until only a little water remains. Add the vegetables and garbanzo beans and finish cooking. At the end of cooking, stir in the cashews; garnish with cilantro, and serve with tamarind chutney (I'm not including the recipe for what I did because I didn't think it turned out that well).
Serves 2-3 as dinner or 4-5 as a side.