Who doesn’t love the aroma of basmati rice laced with cardamom, cumin, cloves, cinnamon, tomatoes and garlic? The heady scent of the spices and the cooking rice always take me back to childhood memories of waiting impatiently for my mother to serve bariis iskukaris.
Bariis iskukaris (sometimes called bariis isku dhexkaris) is the common name Somalis give to rice cooked with spices and the addition of meat or chicken. In this recipe I have used vegetables instead.
This recipe serves four people. I like to serve bariis isku karis with cadriyaad and a simple salad of sliced tomatoes, onion and chopped chilli. This dish also goes well with Zab roast lamb or roast goat.
NB: You can substitute the vegetables with one small chicken or half a kilogram of diced beef or lamb. Ensure you brown the meat first before adding the tomatoes.
Bariis Iskukaris (Somali Rice with Spices)
2 cups of basmati rice or any long grained rice
2 tomatoes diced (optional)
1 large chopped onion
I cinnamon stick
4 cardamom pods
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
3 cloves of garlic or 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
4 tablespoons of olive oil or subag (ghee)
1 cup of chopped mixed vegetables such as carrot, peas and corn
2 ½ cups of water
Salt to taste
1. Wash the rice and soak in water
2. Fry the onion until it caramelises
3. Grind the dry spices and add with garlic, cook for a minute allowing the heat of the oil to release the aroma of the spices
4. Add the diced tomatoes, cook until it thickens
5. Add the vegetables and cook until half done
6. Drain the rice and add the water. Cover with the pan with aluminium foil. Ensure the pan is well sealed.
7. Simmer for about 15 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed.