11 July 2008

Rice

I don't have a recipe here, but Mexican green rice is also really good. You make it about the same way as the red rice below, but with roasted green peppers instead of the tomatoes, and don't put in any corn.

Plov

Saute a chopped onion and some grated carrots in a oil for a couple minutes, then add two and a half cups of rice, 1 or 2 teaspoons of cumin, 1-2 tsp salt, an entire head of garlic (peel off the outer layer) and some crushed red pepper. Stir the onions and rice till the rice is coated with oil, then add about 4 cups of boiling water. Turn the heat down a little and simmer till the water is just gone. As soon as the water is gone (the rice won't be fully cooked), use the handle of a spoon to make some holes in the rice down to the bottom of the pot. Pour a bit more olive oil over the top, cover, and turn the heat as low as it will go. If you have an electric stove, you might want to set the pot on top of a pair of tongs so the bottom doesn't burn. Let the rice steam till the garlic is cooked. If you get worried, you can add more water. The goal is to have a nice brown crunchy shell on the bottom. It'll take at least 30 minutes. Stir it all up when you're done and enjoy. Pop the garlic out of its skin to enjoy it.


Mexican Red Rice

2 cups rice
2 large tomatoes
1 onion, cut into quarters
2 cloves garlic
3 T oil
3 c chicken broth
2 tsp salt
Corn from one ear

Grill the tomatoes and onion over high heat till blackened all over, blend. Add water if needed to get two cups of puree. Set aside. Heat the oil in a medium pot over high heat, then lower to medium high and cook the rice in the oil till golden. In a separate pot, bring the chicken broth to a boil. When the rice is golden, add the puree and stir, then add the hot broth and stir. Let boil 4-5 minutes, stirring once or twice, then add the salt and corn. Cover and lower the heat and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 15-20 minutes before serving. This is from Seductions of Rice by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid.


Spinachy Rice

2 lbs spinach
Salt
1 medium onion, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil Feta
1/2 c tomato puree boiled down to 3 Tbsp (I do this in the microwave)
1 c rice
1 Tbsp dried dill, or 3-4 Tbsp fresh dill
Salt and pepper to taste

Wash the spinach, place in a colander, sprinkle on some salt, and mix well. Let sit for 15-30 minutes till the spinach has wilted. Rinse very well and shred, squeezing out extra moisture (this reduces the bulk of the spinach so it will fit in your pan). Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and add onion. Saute 10 minutes till soft, then add 2 c water, tomato puree, and rice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 10 minutes. Spread spinach and dill over top, cover and cook 10 more minutes till rice is cooked. Season with salt and pepper and serve with feta. Serves 4. This is based on a recipe called "Greek-style Rice with Spinach, Feta, and Black Olives" from Mediterranean Grains and Greens by Paula Wolfert.

Pilau

2 1/2 cups basmati rice
1 T salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil or 4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
1 large egg

Wash the rice thoroughly, then place in a large pot with 3 tablespoons of salt and enough cold water to cover by 2 inches. Let soak for 2 to 3 hours. Drain well.

In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a vigorous boil. Add the salt, then gradually sprinkle in the rice. Stir gently to prevent sticking, and bring back to a boil. After the rice has been boiling for a 2 minutes, test for doneness. The rice is ready when the outside is tender but there remains a slight uncooked resistance at the core of the grain. If the core of the grain is brittle, it's not done enough. Continue to check the rice until done, then drain in the sieve and rinse with tepid to cool water (to prevent it from cooking any more).

Place the pot back over high heat and add the oil or butter and 1 tablespoon water. In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt and egg. Stir in about 1/2 cup rice, then place in the sizzling oil and spread over the bottom of the pot. Gradually add the remaining rice, sprinkling it in to form a mound. Use the handle of a wooden spoon to make three or four holes through the mound to the bottom (make them fairly big; they let the steam escape so the bottom doesn't burn so quickly), then cover the pot with a lid wrapped in a tea towel. (The towel helps seal the lid and absorbs moisture from the rising steam- I usually skip the towel.) Heat over medium-high heat until steam builds up, 1 to 2 minutes, then lower heat to medium-low and cook for about 30 minutes. When it is done, the rice will be tender and fluffy with a flavorful crust, the tahdig, on the bottom. The crust on the bottom is what you're looking for. It should be golden brown and crunchy.

The tahdig comes off more easily if, before removing the lid, you place the pot in an inch of cold water (in the sink) for a minute. If you made the pilau in a non-stick frying pan it's easy to remove (I do this so it's easy and so you get lots more crust). Mound the rice on a platter. It will probably need more salt. This is from Seductions of Rice. It's a lot easier to make then the length of the instructions might suggest.

Bibimbap

Bibimbap is basically rice with vegetables and red pepper paste, and often a fried egg and some meat. Since there are lots of options, you just need to have some vegetables around and gochujang sauce on hand for a quick meal that can be put together in the time it takes to cook rice. I like to put some carrot salad on top too instead of cooking the carrots.

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