Namaste: Non-yogic Leek and Mushroom Basmati Rice

Alfredo put a yoga DVD in my stocking last Christmas, even though I insisted that something that “slow” would never interest me. I was slightly hooked before  January was over. I totally love it, and contrary to what I previously believed, it tones, relaxes and works you (honestly!) As for the typical yogic/ayurvedic diet though, while I concur with many of its principles, we part company here: they abstain from onions, garlic, and mushrooms. ( I once saw a yogic food “wheel” and onions and garlic were in the same section as  French fries, alcohol, and burgers. I found that pretty wierd)

So, this dish is decidedly a less-than-yogic dish, despite using wholesome brown basmati rice.  

It’s nothing fancy, just a rice dish we sometimes have at home. It would probably be nice with more herbs in? 


  • My mother in law taught me: 2 handfuls of rice per adult, 1 per child. On the rice instructions it says: Allow 80grams of rice per adult. Who would have thought it? 80grams of rice = 2 (of my) handfuls. Cool!  So for 2 adults and 3 children I did  250 grams.
  • 350 mls of water per 80 grams of rice. So I used 1 litre of liquid. Adjust according to the quantity you want to cook.
  • After lightly sauteeing the leeks, I blended them in the mini chopper. It all helps for a harmonious mealtime if there are not huge pieces of allium in the rice. Feel free to omit this step.
  • Dried mushrooms are sometimes dear but give an amazing deep, woody, earthy flavour (you see- I pay attention to Masterchef) Sometimes I buy fresh wild mushrooms when they are reduced and dehydrate them for later use. On this occasion I got a random pleasant surprise in B&M Bargains of all places, of small packets of dried shiitake mushrooms- 4 packs for £1.20! Don’t ask me why they were that cheap- don’t even cause me to wonder….. They tasted great, anyway, and nobody is sick yet  🙂
  • Brown basmati rice is great! Wonderful flavour, cooks more quickly than regular brown rice. It’s more fluffy than heavy, and Asda sell it for £1.58 a kilo.

Here come some more bullet points. You need:

  • 2 medium leeks, chopped (about 150grams)
  • 2 bayleaves
  • 4-6 garlic cloves, pressed or chopped
  • extra virgin for olive oil, for sauteeing
  • 1-2 handfuls of dried mushrooms
  • 150grams of “regular” mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (or more to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable bouillon powder (or more to taste)

Now for some numbers, I think.

  1. Cover your dried mushrooms with 1 litre of boiling water and leave.
  2. Meanwhile, chop and sautee the leeks , mushrooms, bayleaves and garlic  in the olive oil and 1 teaspoon of sea salt.  (optional for younger kids- blitz leeks once soft, in which case, it may be easier to sautee them first so you dont need to pick pieces of leek out of the mushroom)
  3. Once soft, add the mushroom “stock” of the soak water and bouillon powder,and dried mushrooms, to your leeks etc and bring up to heat.
  4. Once your stock mix is hot (though no need to leave it till boiling) add the rice.
  5. Once boiling reduce to a happy simmer (no higher than 3) for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. After 25 minutes if you haven’t had it on too high a heat, you should have some liquid left. Turn off the heat, cover, and leave for 10-15 minutes.
  7. Season additionally if desired, serve immediately.
  8. Top this with what you will…. and stir in some soy milk or even some cashew cream for a creamier dish. My friend Sarah does this delicious chickpea stew, and she does this kind of spicey mojo to spoon on top- (she blitzes almonds, raw garlic, wholewheat bread, extra virgin oil and some herbs) See her recipe here for further details. I did something similar, and it gave it a really awesome kick.

P.S. Namaste, the traditional yogic Sanskrit greeting, means, loosely, The divine in me salutes and reverences the divine in you.  I think that’s absolutely beautiful, and  a definite keeper. Onions or no onions.


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