Category Archives: rice

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Vegetable Khichuri-Curry or This Thing I Made Up

I first read The Conch Bearer by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni about eleven years ago.  The most vivid and lasting impression was not of a great story (though it is fair) or of any particularly endearing characters, but of the feeling of having feasted on her words.  I’m pretty sure this woman loves food.  The story, in which the characters travel a vast swath of India, is absolutely saturated with mouth watering descriptions of hot, crispy onion pakoras, creamy mango lassi, dal, sparkling sugared candies, aromatic tea, and on and on.  One of the meals that has a starring role is a khichuri, a meal made in poverty that becomes touched with a bit of magic, and has stuck with me (obviously) until now.

Let me stop right here and say I have no experience with Indian food.  When I first read the book, I’d never even had the Anglo-Indian version, the generic curry.  The Japanese steak house was about as exotic as things got growing up in my household.  I’m calling this recipe a khichuri because the base is a mix of rice and lentils and a curry because I’ve whacked in a load of things like coconut milk, tomatoes, and spices, but it really is just this thing I’ve smooshed together.

I started as I would a risotto: oil, aromatics, and rice, and built from there.  Again, making zero claims to cultural authenticity in either ingredients or technique.  If you are doing an allergy elimination diet similar to mine this recipe is a great option (if you are testing for a nightshade allergy, this is not for you).  I feel like this should be almost infinitely adaptable.  If you try any different combinations, substitute in different ingredients, let me know in the comments.

Have you ever read a book that left you jonesing for a special food?  Another of mine is The Pickwick Papers (Dickens); it always makes me want a picnic with cold chicken and cheese and pickles and things (basically, Feast).  What are some of yours?

rice and lentils_edited-1 spice mix milky onion side chopped veg Step by step pan finishedk-cpan kichuri-curry4

 

Vegetable Khichuri-Curry

serves 4-6 depending on how greedy you are

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 small or 1/2 large onion
  • 1 1/4 C rice (we used brown Basmati rice)
  • 3/4 C green lentils, rinsed
  • 1 large tomato, cubed
  • 1 large zucchini (courgette), cubed
  • 1/4 C tomato sauce or puree
  • 2 C vegetable stock
  • 10 oz coconut milk
  • 1-2 C spinach leaves
  • 1 Tbs curry powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne (you’ll be surprised how far it goes!)
  • salt
  • parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 lemon

Directions

  • In a large skillet, over medium heat, heat oil, garlic and onion until fragrant and onion is releasing some moisture.
  • Turn on hood fan. . .seriously.  Add spices and a generous sprinkle (1/4 tsp or thereabouts) of salt.  Cook off until onions have softened and spices are toasted.
  • Add rice, and stir to incorporate with spiced onion/garlic mix.
  • Add zucchini and tomato, and another 1/4 tsp of salt, and stir, scraping up as many of the good bits stuck to the bottom of the pan as you can.
  • Add veg. stock, coconut milk, and tomato paste, and give it a good stir.  Bring to boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, add lemon juice, lentils, and spinach.  Cook for a final 15-20 minutes.  Taste for seasoning, adding salt (or other things) as you see fit)
  • Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.

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Black Rice Jewel Box Salad via www.oneishungry.com

Black Rice Jewel Box Salad

For a whole host of reasons, we are not having a Christmas tree in our condo this year.  First, thanks to Hurricane Sandy, we only have half a floor.  Second, we are making a long visit home to the land of cotton blossoms for the holidays.  Third, there is a distinct possibility that I am allergic to them (usually that would not be a factor for consideration, but this year, as my doctor put it yesterday, I’m already behind the eight ball!).  Finally, all of our Christmas decorations are in storage, as we eagerly anticipated the possibility of having sold our condo by now.  By the way, yes, the whole losing our floor bit really put a damper on our plans to get this place on the market in a hurry.  On the plus side, we know we will be passing on a mold-free, beautifully re-floored and re-doored apartment to the eventual owners, and that is a nice, cozy feeling!

Because we don’t have any holiday decorations up, my soul has been longing for some traditional seasonal color and sparkle.  Say hello to Christmas on a plate!

Black Rice Jewel Box Salad via www.oneishungry.com

Aren’t the colors gorgeous?  We had a bit of black rice left over in the pantry from the last time we made Broiled Salmon with Spicy Greens and Black Rice, and green beans that didn’t all make it into this fabulous dish.  Tiny clementine segments and small diced red onion are fantastic, but the star on top is the pomegranate seeds.  Breaking into the luscious, glimmering interior of a pomegranate is an aesthetically satisfying experience for me.  You can see why some scholars believe the fruit in the  garden that tempted Adam and Eve was not an apple, but this glorious jewel box of an hundred rubies.

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A light vinaigrette to pull all the flavors together, and your salad is complete.  We had ours with garlic crusted lamb chops; how would you serve it?  Do you have a food that sings “Happy Holidays” to your soul?  Leave a note in the comments below, and tell me all about it!

This recipe is great for those on the Allergy Elimination Diet. IF you are testing for citrus (i.e. have eliminated citrus from your diet) be sure to substitute another fruit or veg. for the clementine slices!  Fresh carrot slices would give the same beautiful color and a fantastic crunch to boot!  This salad opens itself to a world of easy substitution; play around and make it your own.

Black Rice Jewel Box Salad

serves 4-6 as a side

Salad

2 cups of cooked rice, cooled slightly

1/4 of a small red onion, small dice

2 clementines (or carrots), segmented (or slices)

handful of fresh green beans, sliced on the diagonal

pomegranate seeds

Vinaigrette

1 Tbs sherry or red wine vinegar

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp dijon mustard

1/2 tsp maple syrup

2 1/2 Tbs olive oil

Assemble salad. Place vinegar and salt in mason jar or bowl, and agitate until salt has dissolved.  Add mustard and maple, and shake or whisk to combine.  Now add oil, and shake it like a piggy bank!

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Maple-roasted Pumpkin and Crispy Bacon Risotto

Here in mid-November, dark night falls at 5:30 pm.  The quality of the sunlight has changed to a pale, mellow, slanting light from the harsh glare of summer.  Christmas songs keep floating through my mind, to be fought off until the end of Thanksgiving.  I want to cherish each moment, not rush blindly through the holiday season, only to feel exhausted and disenchanted by New Year’s Eve.

In that vein of slowing and savoring, I offer you a warm, cozy meal that combines many of the flavors I associate with  the late fall-come winter season.  This maple roasted pumpkin and crispy bacon risotto is fabulously rich and creamy and meaty tasting.  It is so luscious, indeed, that I recommend serving it with a bright salad (perhaps with orange slices and a pomegranate vinaigrette) to help clear you palate, allowing you to fully luxuriate in each delicious bite.  The colors of all the different elements of this dish are beautiful.  Take a few minutes to appreciate the beauty of what you are cooking (you have to look at it anyway, so you might as well enjoy it!). maple-roasted pumpkin and crispy bacon risotto at www.oneishungry.com

If this is your first risotto, and you feel a bit nervous, check out this post where I talk about some of the hows and wherefores of making a basic risotto and why it really isn’t that intimidating.  So, I implore you to try this, in a hearty bowl before the fire, at a small dinner with friends, or maybe even as a new side for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. Trust me, your taste buds and sun-starved soul (for those of us in the dark lands) will thank you!  Not sure what to do with left over pumpkin?  Try throwing it in with your morning oatmeal along with some pecans, or pureeing it to add to yogurt or your favorite pumpkin bread recipe.  This really is the meal that keeps on giving!

Maple- roasted Pumpkin and Crispy Bacon Risotto

inspired by Donal Skehan

makes 4-6 (or 7) mains, or many, many sides!

Ingredients

1 small pumpkin, halved, seeds removed (and saved for roasting!), peeled and cubed- this recipe will use roughly 2-2.5 cups of roasted cubes

2 tsp maple syrup

6-8 pieces of bacon

olive oil

4 1/2 cup low sodium chicken stock

1 cup of white wine

3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

4 sage leaves

1 small to medium red onion, small dice

2 cups Arborio rice

3 tsp butter

3/4 to1 cup parmigiano reggiano, finely grated

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  On a large pan, lined with parchment, toss pumpkin cubes with maple syrup.  Roast in oven until beginning to carmelize and soften, but not mushy.  Check at 20 minutes.  When done, remove from oven, transfer pumpkin to clean plate and place bacon on parchment.  Return to oven and bake until crisp (even if you are a soft bacon person.  the crispness makes it easier to crumble in the final stage).

In a small pan bring stock to a simmer.  Heat wine separately.  In a large pan over medium heat add one tablespoon of olive oil, and sautee onion, garlic, and sage until onion just begins to soften.  Add pumpkin, and continue to cook until onions are soft and translucent.  Return all ingredients to pumpkin plate.  Return pan to stove; add more oil if necessary.  Add rice, and stir to coat each grain with the fat.  Over medium heat sautee rice until it begins to become translucent and give off a warm, toasty fragrance, roughly five minutes.  Add pumpkin and onion mix back to the pan, and continue cooking for about two minutes, then add heated wine (if the wine is cold it will shock the rice causing the outside surface to flake while the inside remains hard).

When the wine has evaporated, increase the heat to medium high and begin to gradually add the simmering stock,one ladle at a time, stirring constantly from this point on. Before the liquid has completely absorbed add more stock. Continue the cycle of stock and stir for 15 to 20 minutes until four cups of the stock have been absorbed. Taste to see if the risotto has reached a desired level of doneness. If you like yours a bit less al dente, add and cook down remaining 1/4 to1/2 cup of stock. Remove from heat; add butter and parm. regg. and stir till smooth and creamy.  Plate, crumble bacon over each portion, and serve immediately.

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The Beauty of Butternut: Butternut Squash Risotto with Parmigiano Reggiano and Pistachios

I love butternut squash.  Apparently, I’m not alone in this unlikely adoration.  Nearly every restaurant I went to in Australia offered several butternut or other winter squash options: spinach salad with roasted butternut squash, sun dried tomatoes and feta, pumpkin and butternut ravioli, purees,pastas and, my favorite, butternut squash risotto.  For nutritional reasons and honest preference I do not eat white rice frequently, but I knew after one bite I would have to have a butternut risotto recipe in my arsenal after returning home.  I wanted something creamy and warm but with a bright flavor, something that let the simple goodness of the ingredients shine through.  Here are the results (I’m not quite sure why there is a halo of light around the rice. . .I like to think it is glowing with goodness!).

Butternut squash risotto with parmigiana reggiano

Risotto in its most basic form consists of a sofrito, one or more aromatics such as onion or garlic sauteed in olive oil or butter, rice, wine, and stock.  Most people say that butter and parmigiana reggiano are also part of the basic list, though I’ve found a few dissenters.  Use of the correct rice is essential to a successful risotto.  Short grained round or semi-round rices such as arborio, carnaroli, and vialone nano are the only rices with a high enough starch content to produce the creamy yet toothsome texture that makes risotto so enticing.  Arborio rice is the most readily available in the U.S.; carnaroli (actually a medium grained rice) and vialone nano have higher starch content, said to make for a creamier, less sticky finished product.  The richness of the rice, cheese and butter are cut by the citrus brightness of the wine and the delicate sweetness of the squash.  For an extra kick of protein and flavor try mixing in some smoked salmon.

arborio rice

pistachios

spanish onion

creamy, but with no excess liquid pooling

Butternut Squash Risotto with Parmigiano Reggiano and Pistachios

serves 2 as a main dish, 4 as a first course or side

Ingredients

1 c. arborio, carnaroli, or vialone nano rice

½ of a small white or yellow onion, medium dice

olive oil

½ small butternut squash, grated

½ c. white wine, heated

2 ¼ c. chicken stock

(*arborio rice absorbs roughly 1.5 times its volume in liquid.  The rice you use may vary slightly.  It doesn’t hurt to have a bit more heated stock on hand the first time you make this.  Once you see how much liquid the rice you prefer absorbs, adjust the recipe accordingly.)

2 tsp. butter

1/2-3/4 c. parmigiano reggiano, finely grated

roughly chopped pistachios

In a small pan heat chicken stock to a simmer.

Sautee onion in 1 Tbs. olive oil until just beginning to soften. Add grated squash and cook until both are softened and onion is translucent. Remove from pan to clean bowl and set aside. Add more oil to the pan if necessary and add rice, stirring to cover each grain in the fat. Over medium heat sautee rice until it begins to become translucent and give off a warm, toasty fragrance, roughly five minutes. Add squash and onion back to the pan and mix. Cook for approx. two minutes longer, then add heated wine (if the wine is cold it will shock the rice causing the outside surface to flake while the inside remains hard).

When the wine has evaporated, increase the heat to medium high and begin to gradually add the simmering stock,one ladle at a time, stirring constantly from this point on. Before the liquid has completely absorbed add more stock. Continue the cycle of stock and stir for 15 to 20 minutes until two cups of the stock have been absorbed. Taste to see if the risotto has reached a desired level of doneness. If you like yours a bit less al dente, add and cook down remaining ¼ cup of stock. Remove from heat; add butter and parm. regg. and stir till smooth and creamy. Serve immediately, sprinkled with chopped pistachios.

enjoy

Can’t think what to do with that left-over squash.  Try this soup, or maybe these treats!