Go-to pantry staples (hello, pantry cooking!), rice and canned chickpeas find new life in this craveable dish made to be a vegetarian main, yet also at home as a side dish on any occasion. The fragrant basmati is combined with melted shallots, garam masala, and dates, while the chickpeas are transformed into crispy, turmeric-spiced orbs. Pistachios add a pop of nutty flavor while cilantro draws out the earthy undertones. Garam masala—a blend of cinnamon, cumin, coriander, and cardamom and other spices—adds subtle warmth to the rice, while the dates bring jammy sweetness, which contrast the savory shallots and crispy chickpeas. Pro tip: Rinsing the rice before cooking is the key to fluffy, separated grains of rice, as it removes excess starch before cooking, so don't skip this step. (And by the way, jasmati rice is a great swap, if needed.)

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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Place rice in a fine-mesh strainer; rinse until water runs clear.

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  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a saucepan over medium. Add shallots and ¼ teaspoon salt; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and rice. Cook, stirring constantly, until edges of rice become translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in garam masala; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in 1½ cups water and 1 teaspoon salt; bring to a boil. Stir, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until liquid is absorbed, 10 to 12 minutes.

  • Remove from heat. Stir in dates and fluff rice with a fork. Place a clean towel over saucepan; cover and let stand until rice is tender, about 5 minutes. Fluff rice and transfer to a serving platter.

  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium. Add chickpeas; cook, stirring occasionally, until browned in spots and crisp, 16 to 18 minutes. Add remaining 3 tablespoons oil, turmeric, pepper, and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until chickpeas are sizzling, about 1 minute.

  • Top rice with chickpea and oil mixture, pistachios, and cilantro. Serve with yogurt.

Chef's Notes

In the same family as ginger, turmeric is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. Mixing in black pepper can enhance the benefits.