The other night I decided what to make for dinner around 5 o’clock. For someone who likes having a plan, that was late. A bag of chickpeas was thawing the in the fridge, so I made half a batch of hummus and then had to do something with the rest. Flipping to the index in the Jerusalem cookbook there it was, Basmati and Wild Rice with Chickpeas, Currants and Herbs. I went to the cupboard. No wild rice. Just as well, I wasn’t gonna wait around for 45 minutes for it to cook anyway. Currants? Check. Herbs? Well, cilantro. Close enough. Time to riff.
Posts tagged ‘rice’
During our trip up to Tofino, we watched a show with Bob Blumer, you know, the Surreal Gourmet guy, where he faced off with 2-3 Chinese chefs in Vancouver in a Xiao Long Bao battle. Dumplings themselves are challenging and forming them quickly and consistently takes practice — yeeeeeears of practice. And, as you’d expect, for most of the show, Bob was no good at folding dumplings. I felt like Bob Blumer today going into making this Persian rice.
Eh, what’s so hard about rice? Regular steamed rice? Nothing. But, this rice? This rice has a beautifully crunchy, saffron and turmeric-scented crust, and like those dumplings, getting it just right and out of the pan in one piece takes a little practice. You want it beautifully browned, but not burnt. That crispy bottom is “the treat.” You know how you hold your breath when you’re tapping a cake out of a cake pan or releasing something from a mold, waiting for that tell-tale plunk or suction-y sound that says it’s out in one piece? That was me with this Persian rice.
There’s no meal that rice is excluded from at my house – breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, appetizer, entrée, dess–errrr-–no. I’ve never been a big fan of rice for dessert. I didn’t like Botan Rice Candy growing up, but its got its own Facebook page, so apparently a lot of people do (at least 1,955 as of today). I was never a big fan of rice pudding – I think it was the raisins.
But last fall, the guys at Skillet turned me into a believer with their brown sugar and cinnamon rice pudding with roasted pear and hazelnuts. I mean, right?!! In two minutes flat, that rice pudding went like this:
Now converted, this Chilled Banana and Pistachio Rice Pudding is my latest discovery. With basmati rice, it’s not too gummy. And with cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg and banana, it’d make it a tasty closer for an Indian meal.
A few notes:
1. I used unsalted pistachios and added them as a topping/garnish, rather than mixing in as directed (at least initially). Mixing them in would probably give you good texture if you’re eating them same day, but I didn’t want the pistachios to sog out.
2. For whatever reason, I had the hardest time maintaining a simmer on this recipe — on a gas stove! It would either boil or not bubble at all, so I had to stand over the pot and monitor it, rather than just letting it simmer and stirring it occasionally.
3. I used skim milk. With the cream, it was plenty rich. Dial it up to 2% or whole milk if you like, but skim worked just fine for our tastes.
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Fried rice falls into the “Grandma food” category — aka dishes that came from my Grandma that you have no hope of ever getting an actual, exact written recipe. It’s not a new phenomenon – every family seems to have a dish that you can’t pinpoint why it comes out so wonderfully when your [INSERT RELATIVE HERE] makes it, yet when you try it’s just off.
On this fried rice, the best we ever got was a list of ingredients — a little onion, bacon or ham, rice, green pepper, water chestnut, egg. My grandma should have been a CIA agent because most of that is a misdirect. Never in my life do I remember having green pepper in it…and certainly never ham – always bacon. Onion – usually green, not yellow.
Over the last few years I’ve come up with a version that very nearly matches my Gram’s. But I’m just as guilty on the recipe. I haven’t written it down, I don’t measure the shoyu and you just have to go with what looks right based on the amount of rice (preferably day old) you have. So here’s the ingredient list:
Grandma’s Fried Rice
3-5 strips of bacon, sliced in 1/4 in. pieces and rendered
2-3 eggs lightly beaten
2-3 green onions sliced on the bias w/ some of the dark green part
frozen peas, rinsed