Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Garden herb and turmeric basmati rice (baked)

This may be my first post referencing How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman, but I ASSURE you it will not be the last. I loooooooooove this book. I would recommend it to anyone, vegetarians, vegans, and omnivores alike. But I'll write more about this amazing book at another time. Down to business!

The recipe below has been adapted from Mark's (we're on first-name's terms you see) Simpler Baked Rice with Herbs recipe (page 515 for you lucky book owners!):

  • 1 Tbsp grapeseed or other neutral oil; The original recipe notes that you could use 2 Tbsp butter instead, but I used grapeseed oil to keep this vegan; I suspect you could use Earth Balance to keep it vegan but still add more of a "butteriness" to the rice
  • 1 cup basmati rice (or another long-grain rice); I used basmati here and it was awesome :-)
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic (onion or shallot would work too)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill (cilantro would also work really well)
  • 2 Tbsp dried parsley (I didn't actually grow any of the fresh stuff this year, and this works just as well)
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp turmeric powder (You can find this pretty cheaply at the Indian grocery store, or less cheaply at your regular grocery store; It adds really awesome color, and it's an antioxidant; I don't think it has an easily distinguishable flavor, so go with the amount that gives you your preferred shade of yellow)
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seed (I'd also recommend picking this up at the local Indian grocery)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups water

An ovenproof pot/pan with a lid (I used a dutch oven for this)


1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Put your oil into your ovenproof pot/pan on the stovetop over medium heat. Add the minced garlic, coriander, turmeric, parsley, and approximately half of your chopped dill/cilantro to the pot, and stir for 1-2 minutes. Add your rice and salt and pepper to taste, and cook for another minute or so.

2) Now add the water to the pot and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat on the stove, make sure the lid is on your pot, and place the pot carefully in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes.

3) Carefully remove the pot from the oven and let the rice sit, covered, for 10 more minutes.

4) Stir in the remainder of your chopped dill or cilantro, and serve immediately.

Serving suggestions: This rice would be great as part of an Indian meal. In fact, I ate mine with my leftovers from an Indian restaurant (i.e. my favorite mutter paneer). Often enough, I run out of rice before I finish the rest of my meal, so this recipe would be helpful to supplement the leftover goodies the next day. This rice is also not super overwhelming in flavor, so it could go well as a side to virtually any meal, such as a vegetarian chicken cutlet and some veggies.

As a side note, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian tends to give you a lot of interesting info about your food, beyond just the recipes. Mark Bittman writes that basmati rice is one of the world's most expensive rices. He notes that the premium grade is aged for at least a year, which would somewhat account for the price difference. But, though basmati may be pricier than some of the other types of rice you could buy, it is generally worth the extra financial output. In recipes like the above, in which the rice itself is basically the primary flavor, you really will get more bang for your buck with basmati. And if you decide you really love basmati rice, and you want to buy in bulk, I again highly recommend the Indian grocery store.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the recipe! Let me know how it comes out! Or if you have any questions, or ideas about variations, please post them here. Thanks everyone!

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