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Rach shares her Indian-inspired vegetarian brunch menu featuring pea fritters, saag paneer and spiced rice. The meal is rich with spices and layers of flavors and is easy to pull off—really! Serve the fritters with small wedges of lemon or lime and/or with yogurt and tahini mixed with garlic, lemon or lime juice and salt to taste.
Pro Tip from Rach: I use Burlap & Barrel's Green Tikka Masala by Floyd Cardoz, but you can make your own with a combo of ground cumin, curry leaf, green chili and ginger. The fritters will be flavorful without this spice blend, though. Just add 1 teaspoon each of ground cumin and ground ginger and don't skimp on the fresh herbs.
For the saag paneer, melt 2 tablespoons of the ghee in large nonstick skillet, add cheese and brown it on each side until light golden. Remove from pan and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons ghee, ginger and onion, soften a bit, then add garlic and chili pepper and soften a couple minutes more. Add spinach and wilt into pan, season with salt, pepper, cumin and coriander, then add cream and gently work in. Add water and simmer on low to thicken and cook the greens, 20 minutes. Add the cheese back and garnish with more sesame seeds, if you like.
For the spiced rice, in a 3-quart pot with lid, melt ghee over medium heat. Add onion, cumin, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and curry leaves (if using). Add rice and toast. Add stock and cover, then simmer until tender, covered. Season with salt to taste.
For the Indian-style pea fritters, place barberries, currants or raisins in small bowl and top with hot water to plump, then drain.
Prepare the peas: In a food processor, grind 1 cup and then combine with ½ cup whole in a bowl.
Wipe out food processor and pulse nuts to a fine chop, then transfer to the bowl. Add herbs and garlic and pulse to fine chop.
Whisk up eggs and add in spices, reserved ingredients and panko.
Heat oil over medium to medium-high heat in large cast-iron or nonstick skillet. Add the fritter batter in ladlefuls to form 3- to 4-inch cakes, brown on each side and drain on rack.