Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ginger Green Rice: Rice without a rice cooker

For JEL, who makes it whenever I want

I'm addicted to my rice cooker.  It's almost always plugged in with some rice in it.  Part of it has to do with Son's allergies, because he can eat rice, and I tend to give him most meals based on rice.  The other reason is far more self-serving - rice in the rice cooker means that any given meal is only a few steps away.  Sometimes on really busy days, rice with a bit of sesame oil and soy sauce on top can be dinner.  (some people like to throw a raw egg on top of it, but I prefer frying an egg.)  Other days I'll boil some barley tea, dump some rice in it, and serve it with a fried egg and some vegetables and call it dinner.  It's simple but satisfying.  This is why I love my cooker.

But friend JEL makes this rice dish she calls green rice, and it's not made in a rice cooker.  I remember the first time I ate it I was in love.  The flavors of cilantro and the hint of lime came through making for a very delicious bite.  For a while after that, I would ask her to make it and she would oblige.  Recently I had the opportunity to watch her make it - and it wasn't done in a rice cooker!  I was stunned.  Rice without a rice cooker?  It was simple to make without the rice cooker and I could feel the world I knew crumbling beneath me.  Rice can be cooked without a rice cooker!

Of course my amazement at rice without a rice cooker is misplaced - in the old days, I have a vague recollection of my mom accidentally scorching rice as she cooked it on the stove top.  (this is why a rice cooker is great.)  Many other cultures eat rice and are completely not reliant on a specialized cooker, but in my own life, rice is cooked in the cooker.

I adapted JEL's recipe to have more Asian notes in it.  I added some ginger to the mix and used a Thai jasmine rice.  The results were satisfying, and screech causing as Husband kept on trying to scoop little spoonfuls off of son's plate only to have Son screech, "NO DADDY" over and over.  (I reprimanded Husband with a look that said, "Go and get your own rice.")  Daughters loved it and it was a perfect compliment to Asian Fish Tacos. And...I didn't cook it in a rice cooker.
Ginger Green Rice
Serves 6 to 8

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, cut into a 1/4 inch dice
4 cloves of garlic, crushed or minced
1 1/2 cups of long grain rice (I used Thai jasmine rice, but any long grain will be fine)
2 1/2 cups of chicken broth
1/2 cup of finely chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons of finely grated ginger
Juice from one lime
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large pot over medium heat.  Add oil and onion.  Cook until onion is translucent, about 7 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes.  Add rice and stir to coat.  Add stock and bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.  Cover and cook for 15 minutes, or until rice is tender.

Remove rice from heat and add cilantro, ginger, lime juice and fluff with a fork, gently folding all the ingredients together.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve hot.

Printable recipe

The rice cooker that keeps me company in my kitchen.  It speaks a bit of Korean to me as well, which is always reassuring.  (buttons are in English however)

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