All-Purpose Seasoned Rice

Rice is on the weekend list because it usually takes about 40 to 45 minutes of prep and cooking time. If you have a rice cooker then it’s even a bit easier in terms of your prep but generally speaking rice is not something to tackle if you have less than an hour available to cook dinner. My family is from Barbados where rice is a serious staple. So I enjoy rice’s versatility and for me, it’s a little bit like comfort food.

Expectations:

  • Total time about 45 minutes.  Prep time is fast, about 5 minutes.
  • Serves 4 to 6, (depending on the number of rice eaters in your family).  I usually have a small amount left over to reheat later in the week for lunch or turn into magic leftover burrito filling.
  • Kid modifications: Mine have become very accustomed to eating rice. Although sometimes they protest and if so I do some ‘kid-adjustments’ like sprinkle chia seeds or shredded cheese (or both) on top.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of brown basmati (or jasmine) rice.
  • 2 1/8 cups of flavored or plain water (see below if you’d like to flavor yours).

For flavoring the cooking water (optional):

  • 1 garlic clove (peeled, uncut)
  • 1 dried or fresh chili pepper (uncut) Note: it will not make the rice spicy, just adds flavor.
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Generous (about 1 tbsp.) shake of turmeric
  • Generous (about 2 tsp. shake of cumin)
  • Salt (about  1 – 1 1/2 tsp — to accommodate for the extra water.)
  • 1 tbsp. of Olive Oil

Steps to Put This On Your Table:

  • I put the rice into a colander (or fine sieve) and rinse thoroughly with cold water for about 15 – 30 seconds.
  • Bring (flavored water or plain water with salt & olive oil) to boil in a small but tall saucepan or stockpot (using high heat).
  • Remove from the heat to add the rice (very slowly, it will bubble up due to the salt) into the hot water.
  • Return to the burner.  Stir the mixture very slowly, for about 30 seconds.
  • Bring back to a boil (about another minute).  Then cover the pan, vent the top slightly (leave a small hole for air to escape), reduce heat to low and let simmer for about 40 – 42 minutes.  When it’s done, there will be small ‘holes’ at the top of the rice mixture and the water will have cooked into the rice or evaporated.  To make sure it’s done taste test the rice to make sure it’s firm but fluffy in texture & easy to chew.  If it seems dry, add a little bit (i.e. 1/4 cup) more water and continue to cook for another3 or 4 minutes.
  • Discard the pepper & garlic clove if using.  Serve immediately or cover the pan with a clean kitchen towel and then put the top back on to keep warm.

Enjoy!  Leftovers can be saved in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 or 3 days, reheat over low heat with about a ¼ cup of water (or broth.) Or warm up in a saucepan that is generously oiled with olive oil and gently sauté for about 4 or 5 minutes.

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