Rice, Almond and Sultana Stuffing

By Published On: 20 Dec '23Last Updated: 23 May '24

Easy to prepare, Indian inspired make ahead tasty Rice, Almond and Sultana stuffing for your Christmas chicken roast with flavours of ghee, garam masala and a light chilli kick. Delish!

Rice, Almond and Sultana Stuffing

Roasts were a real delicacy when growing up and growing in Udupi, most certainly it was a dream. The first time I saw a roast was when we were invited to a wedding at Valley View Hotel in Manipal, when I was very young. My eyes popped up at the joy of tasting a delicious roast! I think I was a born foodie!!

If I can correctly recall, it was a roast stuffed pigling aka laithav. The pigling was golden and looked mouth watering on the table however, if you asked me how it tasted I would probably say, unfortunately, time has lapsed and that taste is a total blur in my memory.

Many years after I arrived in Australia, I made a stuffing to eat with our Christmas roast chicken and discovered that the best way to eat stuffing is to make it from scratch. Made from scratch stuffing is not only delicious but incredibly easy too! It’s made with simple pantry staples and is also quick!

I surfed the net and found a wide variety of stuffing for chicken, beef and pork. I then retreated to my own roots and took inspiration in a stuffing recipe written by my dear granduncle Isidore Coelho in his cookbook ‘The Chef’. Thank you, dear uncle Isidore.

This is a stuffing recipe that is perfect if you are after a bit of inspiration for your Christmas roast dinner or for that matter your next roast dinner any time of the year.

This is a rice, fruit and nut stuffing that is flavoured with ghee, garam masala, and a spicy kick of green chillies. It’s flavoursome and can make all the difference in the world to your Christmas table or your next roast dinner.

You may use some of this stuffing to stuff your chicken, as I have done and place the rest on the side as a separate side dish. However, if you are not a fan of stuffing from the cavity, then you may serve all of the stuffing as a side on the table along with roast vegetables and your favourite gravy.

THE stuffing ingredients

The full instructions to make this Rice, Almond and Sultana Stuffing is in the recipe card below, but here are some helpful tips to go along with the process photos.

Allow me to walk you through what you need to make this simple Rice, Almond and Sultana stuffing.

  • Sultanas (kismis) - Often used in sweet pulao preparations all over India, adds colour, sweet, tangy taste and texture to the stuffing. Increase or decrease as per taste.
  • Slivered almonds - For a bit of crunch and texture. Increase or decrease as per taste.
  • Jeerakasala rice - A special type of Indian small grain white rice and is widely used in India for making biryani. The grains are shorter than Basmati rice but equally aromatic and is perfect for this rice stuffing. Wash rice a couple of times under cold running water to get rid of extra starch and drain well. There is no need to soak the rice. Find at: your local Indian grocery store at an affordable price. Substitute: any quality brand Basmati rice.
  • Garam masala powder - A sweet aromatic South Asian spice blend that is generally added as whole spices in pulao. I have added in the powder form as it blends perfectly with rice to bring up festive aromas . The flavour can be strong and best used in moderation or as called for in the recipe. Find at: All large supermarkets such as Woolworths and Coles in their spice shelf. Also available in your local Indian grocery store.
  • Coarsely ground pepper - Added as a final touch of texture and flavour. Use less or omit if you prefer not to use.
  • Ginger, green chillies and mint - Fresh ginger plays an important role in this stuffing, accentuating flavour of the rice. Peel and chop ginger finely (best for maximum flavour extraction). In addition to flavour, green chillies add a spicy kick. Not a fan of the chilli, then remove some or all seeds before chopping. I like mine sliced into thin rounds and also retained all the seeds, as I love the chilli kick in this stuffing. Love the mint flavour and I add it in my fruit and onion mixture. It also makes a pleasant garnish, for the stuffing when served as a side. Don't skip mint! Chop it fine for maximum flavour.
  • Hard boiled eggs - Hard boiled eggs bulk up this dish and make the dish aesthetically pleasing. The eggs blend in perfectly with the herby flavour from the mint and the garam masala powder. Chop the eggs coarsely and combine gently add it at the very end.
  • Onions - Onions add sweet savoury flavours. Finely chop finely (it's a torture but well worth the effort), as we need the most flavour and taste. I have used brown onion but you may use white onion, if you have it handy.
  • Vinegar - For a tad bit of acidity and brings out flavours. White vinegar or white wine vinegar works well.
  • Sugar - Adds a bit more sweetness to the final dish. Omit if you are happy with the sweetness of the onions.
  • Ghee and oil - Ghee adds flavour and is the secret to any rice based dishes such as pulao or biryani. I love blending both for a balance of flavour and fluidity.

watch me make it

STOVE TOP Step-by-step instructions

The full instructions to make this Rice, Almond and Sultana stuffing are in the recipe card below, but here are some helpful tips to go along with the process photos.

This recipe yields 1kg stuffing, enough to stuff a 2.5kg chicken and the remainder can be served as a side on the table.

Tip: First read the recipe thoroughly and gather all your ingredients. Next measure and prep them. Finally, start cooking your stuffing. You will have best results if you have all the ingredients ready to go on the bench, as ingredients are added in quick succession followed by prepping and cooking the rice.

Here's what we are trying to achieve at each step:

prepare the fruit and onion mixture

1

Heat ghee and oil in a medium frying pan on medium (reserving 1 tbsp. for later use). Add almonds and sauté. Add sultanas and sauté.

ADD ONIONS, GREEN CHILLIES, GINGER AND MINT

2

Add onions and sauté until pale (approx. 5-6 minutes). Add green chillies, ginger and mint. Stir to combine and sauté for 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside to cool off.

PREP AND COOK THE RICE

3

Wash rice under cold running water (no need to soak) and drain well. Heat reserved ghee on medium heat in a medium saucepan with a lid.

4

Add drained rice and stir to coat. sauté for 1 - 2 minutes or until the rice absorbs the ghee. Pour 2 cups (500mL) water. salt and sugar and stir to combine.

5

Bring to the boil, lower heat and close lid. Cook for approx. 8 minutes or until rice is 90% cooked. Remove from heat and cool off for 10 minutes, keeping the lid closed.

6

Open lid and cool off for a further 10 minutes, undisturbed. Fork rice promptly to remove lumps and prevent rice from getting mushy from the residual heat toward the bottom of the saucepan.

finish THE RICE

7

Stir in fruit and onion mixture. Stir in vinegar, pepper and garam masala powder. Taste and season, if required.

7

Finally, stir in the chopped eggs. Set aside until ready to stuff the chicken. This stuffing can be made 3 days ahead and placed in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Sprinkle a bit of water on top of the rice and microwave for 3-4 minutes before use. Allow it to cool completely before stuffing the chicken.

how to use the stuffing

  • Stuff the cavity loosely with some of the stuffing (do not pack too tight) and reserve the rest to serve on the table as a side with a perfectly roasted golden skin chicken this Christmas or at any time of the year.
  • If you are not a fan of stuffed bird, then serve all the stuffing as a side as seasoning (stuffing served on its own is called seasoning), along with your favourite gravy.
  • If you are serving some or all of the stuffing as a side dish, finish the remainder of the stuffing by heating 3 tsp. ghee in a medium frying pan and toss the stuffing until warm. Serve warm stuffing with chicken and some roast vegetables.

Tried this recipe? If you have a minute, I truly love hearing from you. Please rate the recipe and/or leave a comment below. If you are on Instagram, please tag me, so I can see your creations. Want to see more recipe inspirations, you can follow me on Instagram @lavina_mendonsa. Thank you!

Rice, Almond and Sultana Stuffing

Rice, Almond and Sultana Stuffing

Catherine Lavina Mendonsa
This stove-top rice stuffing recipe is the perfect Indian inspired chicken stuffing or side for Christmas dinner or at any time of the year. Sauteed slivered almonds and sultanas are laced with caramelised onions before combining with ghee flavoured rice, some spices and finished with chopped hard-boiled eggs.  A simple yet delicious stuffing without breadcrumbs and brimming with festive flavour.  Yumm!!
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