Some people would say bread and potatoes are their favorite starchy foods but at our house, it’s rice and pasta all the way. I grew up eating rice virtually every day. Steven humors me. In his family, they ate pasta a lot. He used to say rice was boring and did not have much taste. But I think that’s because he hadn’t tasted many kinds and learned how to discern the differences. I admit that it can be subtle compared to bread and often you need to add flavor to rice to make it shine. Finally, he’s begun to see things my way, and seems to enjoy rice dishes more. It’s only taken a decade plus!
Rice is very easy to prepare. It’s economical and nutritious. And you can add virtually anything to it during the cooking process to have a fabulous meal. Different types of rice have different textures and flavors, so it’s varied. Rice can be creamy, nutty, grassy, earthy, sticky or fluffy. And I’m not talking about ‘wild rice’ either, which is something totally different and not really ‘rice’ at all. We always have several kinds of rice in our pantry. Most commonly, we use Thai jasmine or Indian Basmati rice; mainly the polished (white) kind but more often lately, the brown versions (unpolished). I used Arborio rice the other day to make my kabocha risotto. We used to have a lot of the forbidden black rice from the Himalayas but we’ve used it all up and need to go shopping for more.
Rice isn’t that great for the environment in that it requires a lot of water to produce. So in California, the home grown varieties may not be that PC. Oh well, I cannot live without it for more than a few days in a row, so what can I do? I’m a rice-a-holic!
Rice is easy to cook. This dish can be a meal in itself or served to accompany another Indian or really any kind of savory main course. We ate it with an Indian inspired spicy chick pea dish.
Carrot Cumin Basmati Rice
1 cup rinsed basmati rice
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp kosher salt
1 & ¾ cup water (or vegetable broth)
3 tbsp olive oil
2 medium carrots, cut into chunks
Using a deep sauce pan sauté carrot and cumin seeds (don’t bother using the powder, it is not the same) in olive oil for few minutes till oil turns slightly tinted with carrot pigment. Stir continually to prevent cumin from burning. You’ll know when to add the rice when you start to smell cumin, carrot and olive oil. Add salt and rice. Sauté rice mix for further 1-2 minutes before adding water or vegetable broth. Next add water, stir then cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low cook and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes or till juices are absorbed. Make sure to stir rice 3-4 times during the simmering process for even cooking as well as to prevent sticking. Remove pan from burner but keep lid on for 5 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork and serve. The subtle flavor that cumin, olive oil and carrot impart to the rice is just singular. Enjoy!