This harissa and coconut fried rice is created out of my love of vegetable pilaf and Middle Eastern food. If you are not familiar with harissa, it is a fiery chili paste commonly used in North Africa and Middle Eastern cuisine. It packs quite a punch so a little teaspoon of harissa goes a long way unless you are a chilli lover like I am!
I love to make this rice dish to go with the charcoal chicken I brought home from Choox. It is an easy one dish accompaniment that contains vegetables and carbohydrate and it is so quick to prepare as well as very flavoursome!
In my head, I have always called it as an express vegetable “pilaf”. However, as it does not cooked in season broth, pilaf purists may have an issue with me calling it a pilaf ha! The method of cooking is a bit ad hoc in the sense that I combine my Chinese fried rice skill with Middle Eastern ingredients like ground cumin powder and harissa.
I used brown rice for this recipe as I find the nuttiness of brown rice comes through perfectly with the earthiness of cumin and the spicy hint of harissa. Furthermore, brown rice is more textural as compared to white rice, so it creates more excitement to your palate while chewing with soft but firm vegetables.
I stressed that this is more than a simple vegetable fried rice.
What also adds depth to the flavour of this wonderful rice dish is the toasted desiccated coconut that is used to finish off the dish. Just imagine the flavour when you stir through with a handful of fresh coriander and a squeeze of lemon juice! What is supposed to be an accompaniment is satisfying enough to stand on its own as a main dish with a garlicky yoghurt or hummus.