A comforting, rib-sticking meal of steamed rice that’s then fried with a nutty curry paste, spinach and mushrooms

The recipe

Put 190g of sushi rice in a medium-sized saucepan and pour 300ml of warm water over it. Set aside for 30 minutes.

Fried nice spiced mushroom rice SAFIMEXFried nice: spiced mushroom rice. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin/The Observer

Place the pan on a moderate heat; add ½ tsp of salt, 2 bay leaves and 8 black peppercorns. Bring to the boil; lower the heat to a simmer and cover with a tight lid. Cook for 12 minutes; remove from the heat and leave covered for 10 minutes.

Using a food processor, make a paste of 75g of salted peanuts, 100g of young spinach leaves, 50g (2 tbsp) of Thai red curry paste and 100ml of groundnut oil.

Cut 4 king oyster mushrooms into thick slices. Warm a shallow layer of groundnut oil in a frying pan; add the mushrooms and cook till golden, then turn and cook the other side. Lift half the mushrooms from the pan and drain on kitchen paper.

When the rice is ready, add the paste to the mushrooms in the pan; stir for 2 or 3 minutes till the colour darkens slightly. Fold in the cooked rice. Chop a small handful of coriander leaves and stir them in, then serve the rice with the reserved mushrooms. Serves 2.

The trick

The rice does need soaking for half an hour before you cook it, but you can make the paste and fry the mushrooms while that is happening. Keep the heat under the rice at such a level that little wisps of steam come from its tight lid – what you could call a lazy boil. It is crucial that you don’t remove the lid until the rice has had its full 10 minutes’ rest.

The twist

You can use about 150g of chestnut mushrooms thickly sliced instead. You can, of course, use green curry paste. The essential rib-sticking quality of this comes from sticky sushi rice, but, for something lighter, use basmati. You won’t need to soak it, and you should cook and rest it for 10 minutes.

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