When I’m entertaining, I often make rice as a side dish, but try to make it as interesting as possible. And when I think about how many people have asked me how I make my rice, it reminds me of the reason I started this blog in the first place – as a way to connect with friends and family through food by writing about all the foods I love to eat and serve. Rice in and of itself is such a humble ingredient, and yet it can really serve as the backbone for many a meal and provides solid sustenance and comfort without being too heavy. Although I’ve included basic ingredients for all three rice dishes below, the possiblities are really endless. Just think of the flavors you like and feel free to experiment. I do – all the time. That’s the fun of cooking.
1 cup long grain rice
2 cups water
1 tablespoon butter or oil
1 large onion, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, smashed but left whole
2 large bay leaves
1.5 teaspoon of chicken bouillon, or 1.5 cubes of chicken stock – I use Knorr
1-2 teaspoons turmeric – adjust to how vibrant you want the color of the rice to be and how much turmeric you can handle. You may want to start off with 1 teaspoon and adjust from there
Optional: cinnamon stick, 5 whole cloves, 2-3 pods of green or black cardamom, 5 whole black peppercorns
1 tablespoon tomato paste, according to your taste
1 cup finely chopped red pepper
1/2 cup fresh herbs, either a combination of or alone – basil, cilantro, parsley. Mint is not recommended because the taste can be quite overwhelming
1 chopped green onion, for garnish
EXTRA STEP: In a blender or with handheld immersion blender, blend herbs with the 2 cups of water and set aside until ready to use.
1.In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, saute onion in butter or oil until onions have become slightly translucent and have released some of their juices, about 2-3 minutes.
2. Add rice, and saute for another 2-3 minutes, until rice becomes slightly toasted and glossy looking.
3. FOR YELLOW RICE: Add water, chicken stock, garlic, bay leaves and spices.
FOR RED RICE: When rice starts to look toasted, add tomato paste and saute for just another minute, until tomato paste gets slightly caramelized. Don’t worry about sauteing the paste too long. This step is actually optional, but adds more flavor to the rice than if you were to simply add the paste without sauteing it. Then add water, stock, garlic, and bay leaves.
FOR GREEN RICE: Add herb water, stock, garlic and bay leaves.
4. Bring rice to a boil, covered, and as soon as it starts to boil, turn heat down to medium low and let simmer exactly 20 minutes.
5. Turn the heat off, remove lid and place a clean dishtowel on top of the rice before covering it again with the lid. Let sit for 5-10 minutes. The dishtowel will absorb the steam and prevent the rice from getting soggy.
FOR RED RICE: STIR IN RED PEPPER BEFORE REPLACING THE LID. THE RESIDUAL HEAT WILL SOFTEN THE PEPPER.
Serve and enjoy!