I love pilchards and feel like they’re eaten more in SA than anywhere else in the world. Here, I've taken a bit of a risk and made something with them that’s similar to tahdig – it’s like intshela or iskhokho (the crisped up bottom of the pot after preparing pap) and it’s delicious, whether you get the shape perfect or not.
- 4 T vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, halved and sliced
- 2 large carrots, peeled and grated
- 1 T garam masala
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 T Woolworths steak rub
- 1 t fresh turmeric, grated
- 1 t dried thyme
- 1 x 400 g can pilchards in tomato sauce, bones removed
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 315 g basmati rice
- 1 cup Woolworths double-thick plain yoghurt, plus extra for serving
- 50 g Woolworths ghee
- spring onions, sliced, for serving
1. Heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat, then fry the onion and carrots for 5 minutes. Add the garam masala, garlic, steak rub, turmeric and thyme.Fry until the spices are fragrant and the onions translucent.
2. Add the pilchards and fry for a further 5 minutes. Rinse the rice well until the water runs clear, then partially cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain. Mix ½ cup parcooked rice with the yoghurt and 1 heaped T of the pilchard mixture. Season to taste.
3. Heat a deep, non-stick pan and add the ghee. Allow to melt and sizzle, then press the yoghurt-rice mixture into the bottom of the pan. Mix the remaining rice with the pilchard mixture and place on top of the yoghurt-rice mixture.
4. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pan tightly with foil so the steam can’t escape. Cook for 30 minutes. Turn out the rice onto a platter and serve dolloped with yoghurt and scattered with spring onion.
Photographs: Toby Murphy
Food assistant: Emma Nkunzana