Yes, you read correctly: that’s starch and starch combined. Americans are funny about the idea, but in Brazil we know what we’re doing, and guess what: it tastes fabulous.
There is something fun about the simplicity of this dish. I love the aroma, plus the potato gives a wonderful rich creaminess to the rice that is out-of-this-world.
As a kid every now and then I would lunch at my friend, Chiquinho’s house. His mother, Dona Lena, prepared the best potato rice ever. I’m not sure how she made hers, which is funny if you think about it, as there isn’t much to it really: just rice, potato, salt, olive oil and water. Perhaps it was Dona Lena’s love that made it so memorable? All I know for sure is that this dish tasted sweet, savory, nutty, smoky, creamy; in sum, delicious! She used a cast iron pan over a wood burning stove. Inevitably there would always be a toasty crust at the bottom of the pan. She wouldn’t eat that part, saying that it burned. I would reply, “I know,” then gobble it down greedily. What a feast!
Initially I was hesitant to blog this, though I make it occasionally and always enjoy it. Actually, Steven used to tease me a bit, like a typical American, but now he’s singing a different tune. And so will you.
arroz com batata AKA potato rice
1 cup basmati rice, thoroughly rinsed
1 starchy potato, peeled and cut into ¾ cm cubes
Kosher salt to taste
3 tbsp olive oil
1 ¾ cups water
Heat up olive oil in a medium heavy bottom saucepan. Add rice, potato, salt and stir to coat everything with oil. Sauté for a minute or so. Add water then bring to a boil with the pan uncovered. Give it a good stir. Cover, reduce temperature to medium low and cook until water is absorbed. Remove from heat. Let stand, covered, for 5-10 minutes before serving to let rice finish cooking.