Posts tagged rice
Yup, I cracked my tangine yesterday. And yes, it was my first time using it. Sigh. A tangine is a traditional Moroccan cooking dish that has a cone top that helps slow cook and steam the food inside. Well, I’m still working out the kinks with how exactly you cook using it. But for now my good ‘ol dutch oven seems to do the trick.
Prep time: 20 minutes + 15 minutes cooking
1 1/2 cups rice
1/4 cup oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup canned chopped tomatoes
1/3 cup yellow and/or red pepper, chopped
1/2 small onion
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp. tumeric
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika (or regular)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 pinch of cinnamon (opt.)
Fresh cilantro and parsley
2 tbsp. golden raisins
Fresh lemon wedges
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a heavy-bottomed dutch oven, bring the oil up to medium-high heat.
- Rinse the rice in water to remove excess starch and then add it to the hot oil.
- Heat the rice for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently, until golden.
- Meanwhile, in a blender, place the tomatoes, onions, garlic, spices, and pepper and pulse until pureed.
- Add the tomato mixture to the golden rice and cook for 4 minutes or until the color of the tomato deepens.
- Pour in chicken broth and bring to a boil.
- Cover and bake for 15 minutes or until all of the liquid is absorbed.
- Add in the raisins, if using.
Kids’ reactions: This dish was a winner. My tween even took the leftovers to school for lunch. I made a wrap for my teen with some of the rice, avocado slices, deli turkey, and Sriracha sauce.
Around my house, we’re grilling more in the fall than we did this summer. And anytime Mr. Squid starts up the grill, I go through the veggie drawer for ideas (I raid the fruit bowl too). That’s how I came up with grilled pineapple fried rice. You don’t have to grill the vegetables, but the flavor is so much better when the pineapple spends a little time in the flames.
Prep time: 20 minutes
2 cups cooked rice (leftover takeout rice is perfect)
1 green pepper, diced
1/3 cup white onion, diced
3 Tablespoons canola oil
2 eggs (whisked)
1/2 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
6 pineapple rings (canned or fresh)
3/4 cup pineapple juice (drained from can or fresh)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (opt.)
- Grill the green peppers, onions, and pineapple (optional).
- If you’re not grilling, bring the oil to medium-high heat in a wok or large saute pan. Add the diced vegetables and garlic and cook until heated but still crisp.
- Place the whisked eggs into the wok, break apart as they cook.
- Once cooked, push the eggs and vegetables to the sides of the pan and then add in the rice.
- Saute until the rice is heated through.
- Stir in the fish and soy sauces, the pineapple juice, and spices. Adjust the seasonings.
- Dice the pineapple (grilled or at room temperature) and add into the cooked rice.
Question: what do you do with leftover spinach? You know when you’ve forgotten about a bag of spinach and it ends up mushed in the back of the fridge until you discover it there. It’s a not so fresh that you want to make a salad out of it, but you don’t want to throw it away. Around our house, I often saute “leftover” spinach and put it in baked ziti, pasta, or even smoothies.
Flipping through the July/August issue of Cuisine at Home, I found another idea–green rice. The simple recipe uses a puree of spinach and cilantro to serve with BBQ shrimp (I wasn’t impressed with the overly sweet “creole” shrimp recipe). The flavor-infused rice is a great way to perk up a normally ho-hum side dish. Here are my two versions:
Green rice with spinach & cilantro
*Works well with spicy Mexican or American dishes
Prep time: 30 minutes
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 cup Basmati or Jasmine rice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cup chicken broth, divided
1 cup milk
2 cups fresh spinach
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 serrano chile (optional)
- Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven to medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until soft.
- Rinse the rice in cold water, then add it to the pan; cook for about one minute.
- Stir 1 cup broth and the milk into the rice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 15 to 20 minute until tender.
- Meanwhile, puree the spinach, cilantro, juice from the lime, pepper (if using) and 1/2 cup chicken broth in a blender. Stir the spinach mixture into the rice and heat through (about 3 minutes).
Green rice with spinach & basil
*Works well with Italian or French dishes
Substitute 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves for the cilantro, a lemon for the lime, and add a dash of cayenne pepper in place of the serrano.
My youngest shied away from trying the rice at first saying, “What’s the green stuff, mom?” But after watching her older sisters finish off their plates she downed hers too. I served the rice with a wedge of lime for squeezing. I’ll definitely make this again.
A special thanks to Julie Zak, the Breakfast Chef and Kitchen Manager at the White Gull Inn for providing this recipe. The White Gull Inn is located in Fish Creek, part of Wisconsin’s picturesque Door County area.
Yield: 6 servings
4 cups cooked basmati rice
1 lb. frozen peaches, thawed and coarsely chopped
1 cup pitted, frozen tart cherries, thawed and drained
1 cup heavy whipping cream
½ cup brown sugar, divided
¼ cup rolled oats
¼ cup shredded, sweetened coconut
¼ cup chopped pecans
¼ cup (½ stick) butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 1 ½ quart casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.
- Combine rice, peaches, cherries, whipping cream and ¼ cup of the brown sugar in a large bowl. Spoon mixture into prepared dish.
- In a small bowl, mix remaining ¼ cup brown sugar, rolled oats, coconut, pecans and melted butter; sprinkle over rice mixture. Bake uncovered 25-30 minutes, or until top is golden brown.
I hope you enjoyed Mexican Independence Day, yesterday. But just in case you’re still looking for Mexican dishes to make this week (can you tell yet it’s my favorite kind of food?) I’ve gathered up all of MKES’s Mexican recipes for you to look through here. And just so you don’t have to dig for this post, I’ve also added a tab with links on the main page.
But before you start looking through recipes, I wanted to let you know that I’ll be contributing once a month to WanderingEducators.com, an amazing site filled with information that can help you teach your kids about other cultures. I feel privileged to be one of their editors, I will be covering Global Cuisines & Kids. My first post about Finding an Authentic Mexican Taco Shop went live on Friday.
Let’s make a meal
A good meal to use up plenty of leftovers from corn tortillas, to chicken, to lettuce and whatever else you have in your fridge.
This sauce takes time, but it’s worth the effort. Plus you can freeze some for later.
Hand-crafted tortillas are deceptively difficult to make, but the thicker, easier to flip sopes–so much easier!
The secret behind this rice is to start with a mixture that resembles pico de gallo.
Nothing authentic about ‘em, just an excuse to fuse really good bacon with some Mexican flavors.
So easy and a great way to use ground turkey.
This salsa is so versatile you shouldn’t shy away from adding other, unexpected ingredients like dried cherries, chipotle….
For a heartier pico de gallo, add your favorite kind of beans.
So soothing after a hearty meal packed with chiles.
Continuing with dishes to make to celebrate Mexico’s Independence Day tomorrow, here’s my favorite version of Mexican rice.
The ingredients behind good Mexican rice may sound almost like you’re making a pico de gallo—tomatoes, onions, cilantro, garlic. But instead of dipping chips into a chunky salsa, you puree the tomatoes and other ingredients and add them to the rice after you’ve sautéed it in oil. Each of these steps guarantees that each rice kernel will get coated in seasoning and have that bright red color.
This recipe is based on one I discovered in The America’s Test Kitchen: Family Cookbook, one of my favorite cookbooks. But I’ve made quite a few changes to make it even faster and easier to put together. The original recipe calls for you to cut up fresh tomatoes, seed jalapenos. When I’ve done that I always seem to end up with either too much jalapeno—meaning the rice is way too spicy to eat or there’s not enough oomph with the jalapeno (but I still had to get chile juice underneath my nails after getting them prepped for the recipe). I bypass all those steps by using canned tomatoes with green chiles. The milder chiles have the perfect balance of spice.
Prep time: 20 minutes + baking
2 10-ounce cans sliced tomatoes and green chiles
1 small onion, peeled, quartered
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves
2 cups chicken broth (or water)
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh cilantro (optional)
¾ cups peas (canned or frozen, thawed optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Rinse the rice with water to remove the starch.
- On the stovetop in a heavy-bottomed pan bring the oil to a medium-high heat.
- Add the rice and cook until the rice is no longer translucent (about 5 minutes).
- In a blender or food processor, mix the tomatoes, salt, onion and garlic.
- Carefully pour the tomato puree into the rice, cook for 3 minutes then add in the chicken broth.
- Bring the rice mixture to a boil and then place it in the oven for 20 minutes. (Alternatively, you can cook the rice on the stovetop.)
- Remove the rice from the oven, checking to make sure all of the liquid is absorbed. Add in the peas and cilantro and fluff with a fork.
- Serve with lime wedges to drizzle on top.
Years ago I tried making fried rice and it turned out terribly—the oil wasn’t hot enough and I didn’t have all of the vegetables chopped before I started cooking it. I ended up with soggy, oily rice topped with too crisp of vegetables. Oh yeah, I thought throwing in extra soy sauce would somehow make it all better. Not so.
I crossed fried rice off my list of dishes to make at home and decided instead it was one of those tricky recipes that should be reserved for ordering out (and take out!). Then my 10 year-old decided that fried rice was her favorite meal.
Every time we ordered Chinese food she’d ask, beg really, for fried rice. That’s all she’d eat. I figured if she likes it that much it’s worth trying again at home.
I asked around for tips, checked out a few cookbooks and discovered there are a few tricks for making decent fried rice. First, about the rice: It should be dry. This is a great way to use up leftover rice and I would suggest that you use rice you’ve made at least a day before instead of making it fresh—it just doesn’t react to the oil as well if it’s not a bit dry. Next, have all your ingredients ready before you start cooking. Fried rice, like a stir-fry, comes together quickly.
Now about those vegetables…most of the cookbooks mentioned peas, sure. But I like to load up my fried rice with even more veggies. Choose quick-cooking veggies, like green onions, bok choy, or even carrots—all sliced thin. (Again, feel free to toss in leftover veggies you may have in the fridge.)
You’ll notice plenty of “optional” ingredients in this recipe. I don’t have it below, but you can also add thin strips of meat (I added pork), when you heat your garlic. Just cook the meat through before adding the eggs. One ingredient that isn’t optional, however, is the fish sauce. I know, I know, you might not have it on hand, and you could just use the soy sauce, but for a better flavor, the fish sauce really adds the zing you can’t get with anything else.
Ready to get frying? It’s rice time.
2 1/2 cups cooked rice
4 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 clove garlic minced
2 eggs (whisked)
1 Tablespoon fish sauce
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons fresh or frozen peas
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger (optional)
½ teaspoon sesame oil (optional)
1 bunch green onions, sliced (optional)
2 Tablespoons cilantro or Thai basil, minced (optional)
½ cup chopped bok choy (optional)
- Heat the oil in a wok to medium-high.
- Add the garlic and ginger (if using) and stir-fry just until fragrant (a few seconds will do anymore and it can burn).
- Turn the heat to medium and add the eggs. Don’t stir–cook just until heated through.
- Break the eggs apart and push to the side of the pan.
- Add the rice and let it cook for about 2 minutes before stirring (I like getting a few crispy pieces).
- Add the sauces to the pan and stir the ingredients together as you might flip an omelet (in a shoveling motion versus stirring a batter).
- Add the peas and other vegetables you are using. Stir-fry for 2 more minutes and adjust seasoning, adding more soy or fish sauce to taste.
Rice cooked in milk and peppered with raisins and cinnamon just didn’t sound like the right combination of flavors somehow. But every time we went to a Mexican restaurant, their dessert of choice would be ‘rice pudding.’ At first, I wasn’t impressed.
Then later when sneaking bites, I began to be intrigued. The flavors of the smooth rice and sweetened milk were comforting, soothing after a spicy meal. Unlike a chocolate treat that felt indulgent, this dessert tasted homey. I was hooked. Making rice pudding at home was another story. I tried a recipe that was done in the crockpot—that sounded promising (it tasted awful).
Another recipe called for cooked rice to be added to the milk instead of cooking the rice in the milk. I liked the idea of being able to use my leftover rice for the recipe, but in the end, the dish tasted nothing like what I’d come to love at restaurants. I finally stumbled on the recipe I was craving when a mother in one of my daughter’s school classes, who happened to be from Mexcio, brought in a snack for a room party. Rice pudding. I sampled it and sure enough, the rice was just the right texture with a hint of creaminess. She graciously passed along her recipe, which I’m now passing along to you.
1 cup rice
4 cups water
1 cinnamon stick (or ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon)
Peel of one lime or lemon (alternatively use 1Tablespoon of zest)
1, 14-ounce can sweetened, condensed milk
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup raisins
- Rinse the rice in a colander under cold water until the rinsing water comes out clear on the other side. (This helps remove extra starch on the outside of the rice pieces.)
- Boil the water with the cinnamon stick and the fruit rind for about 2 to 3 minutes in a medium-sized cooking pan on the stovetop over medium-high heat.
- Add the rice to the water and cook over medium-high heat.
- In a separate bowl, mix the condensed milk and egg yolks with a fork.
- When the rice is cooked through but still firm, reduce the heat to low. Slowly add in the milk-egg mixture and raisins, stirring frequently for 3 to 4 minutes or until the rice is soft.
- Turn off the heat and cover the pan. Let the rice continue cooking and steaming for about 10 minutes or so.
- Remove the cinnamon stick and the fruit rind and serve. Rice pudding can be served warm or cold and sprinkled with a little cinnamon.
If you read my last post you’ll understand why I haven’t been doing much cooking lately. After taking care of my crew (and gratefully not picking up the stomach flu myself–thank you, Lysol!), I needed a little TLC tonight.
Enter the heating pad. It’s not much to look at, but this is the best hot pack you’ll find–and you can make your own in under 5 minutes. I used one of my husband’s thick athletic socks (it had lost its mate anyway), filled it with Jasmine rice, tied a knot in the top and viola! Hot pad.
I usually put mine in the microwave for about 1 minute, twenty seconds to get the heat just right. Keep in mind, you can use regular rice or just about any kind of beans to fill your heating pad. And you can adjust the firmness of the pad by the amount of rice or beans that you place inside. I like to squish mine between my shoulder blades, so I don’t make it too firm.
My husband tried to swap out my sock heating pad with one he bought for me at the store, but I must admit, I still like my DIY version better. (Trust me, the rice hold the heat just as well as any commercial heating pad–you’ll be amazed.)
Plus, if I ever lose it, it’s easy enough to replace!
Rice rules at my house—we like short grain, long grain, brown, white, sticky, Basmati, Jasmine, you name it. But I have to admit that even with all those options, rice can get, well, kinda boring. Sauce only does so much to spruce up another day of rice.
So when I ran across a recipe for rice cakes, I knew my kids would be eager to give it a try. The first time I served these cakes alongside a traditional stir-fry loaded with marinated chicken and fresh veggies. My kids went for the cakes and I ended up with a week’s worth of stir-fry leftovers. Now, I plan on the rice cakes taking center stage (or at least being a feature instead of a side) when I make them. I plan on about three cakes per person—they’re packed with rice so they fill you up fast!
Now that rice cakes have become a regular on our dinner menu, we’ve started to tweak the recipe. Often I’ll add fruit zest to perk up the flavor of the cakes and help them to compliment whatever main dish I’m serving—after all, these don’t just have to be served with stir fry. With pork, I add a little orange zest, Thai dishes meld well with a little lemon; I’ve even made Mexican rice cakes by adding lime zest, a little Chili powder and a splash of Tabasco sauce for a kick.
To add even more fun to the meal, stick a cooked bean in the middle of one of the cakes and let your kids know that whoever gets the bean gets a prize—maybe she gets to chose a special dessert after dinner or maybe he has to help cleanup all the dishes (hey, doing dishes can be a reward, right?).
I always make a big batch of the rice cakes—here’s why: First, my kids eat them at dinner, for snacks, I even freeze them to reheat later. Second, sad to say, but not all of your rice cakes will turn out perfectly. Usually, I have about three that don’t survive the flip from the top, sesame-seed coated side to the bottom. It’s just how it goes—no amount of careful prep prevents a few rice cake fall aparts. My kids are more than happy to eat up my mishaps.
Ready to reinvent your rice? This recipe takes a little work to put together, but the cakes are fun to eat for dinner or you can even eat them cold for an unusual picnic treat.
Recipe for Sesame Rice Cakes
Inspired by a recipe from Cuisine at Home magazine.
Prep time: 30 minutes (+rice cooking time)
Servings: 5 people (20 cakes)
6 cups cooked rice (2 cups uncooked Basmati rice)
2 Tablespoons Sugar
2 Tablespoons vinegar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon lemon, lime or orange zest, optional
4-6 teaspoons sesame seeds
4-6 Tablespoons cooking oil
Cook rice according to package directions. With my rice cooker, the ratio is two-to-one, two cups water to one cup rice. Let the rice cool to room temperature (you can also use leftover rice from a previous meal).
In a large bowl, combine the rice, sugar, vinegar, cornstarch and salt (and zest, if you’re using it). Stir with a wooden spoon or heavy spatula.
Spray a ¼-cup measuring cup with cooking spray. Press rice mixture firmly into the measuring cup and then gently release the molded cake onto a baking sheet that has been lined with wax paper. Repeat until you’ve used up all the rice—there should be around 20 cakes. Gently press a small amount (about ½ a teaspoon) sesame seeds onto each rice cake.
Heat up a large, flat-bottomed skillet or griddle. Add 2 tablespoons of the cooking oil. Cook the rice cakes with the sesame seed side down for around 7 minutes. Flip the rice cake carefully to the other side and cook for an additional 7 minutes (the cake should be golden brown). I use my fingers to flip the cakes. If you’re using a griddle you may be able to fit all of the cakes in one batch; if not, repeat with each batch of rice cakes. Add additional cooking oil when needed.