I think cilantro, parsley and basil are the top three most popular herbs present in our cooking. Every time we go shopping for the week we make sure we stock on these incredible herbs. Routinely we’ll have basil or parsley pesto either with pasta or used as a flavor enhancer in something else. I like cilantro in soup or salsa.
But sometimes we over-buy, and since these beauties are highly perishable, occasionally we need a simple flavorful way to use up the extra.
This time I turned some extra cilantro we had in the fridge into a sort of a pesto sauce that was subsequently cooked with basmati rice. It is a very aromatic and flavorful dish you can serve as a side with grilled fish, shrimp or tofu. We had ours with another favorite: garlicky bean stew!
cilantro flavored basmati rice
1½ cups basmati rice, rinsed
2¾ cups water
1 large bunch cilantro, rinsed
1 green chili pepper, seeds and ribs removed
¼ small onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
4 tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt to taste
wedges of lime for decoration
Heat up a saucepan with olive oil. Add onion and sauté until translucent. Add basmati rice, garlic, bay leaf, salt and toss to coat, cooking for a minute or so until raw garlic smell is gone. Add in 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and reduce temperature to medium low. Cover.
Meanwhile place cilantro, ½ cup of water and chili pepper in the food processor. Blend into a runny pesto. Add it to rice with remaining ¼ cup water. Cover and let it cook until juices are absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Let it rest for 8 minutes, lid on. Serve with cilantro leaves and wedges of lime or lemon.
And now for the latest all-bloggers-welcome food challenge: create your own biryani! I feel like that guy from the Iron Chef who gets so excited at the beginning of the show when he reveals the secret ingredient: BIRYANI, yeah! Here are several suggested recipes that the oh, so charming and endlessly fascinating Heavenly has assembled, but don’t feel restricted in any way: a, b, c, d.
According to Wikipedia, my go-to for last-minute information on food and wine, biryani, generally considered a rice dish layered with a flavorful sauce containing meat, fish or veggies, is thought to have originated in Iran and migrated across much of Asia and Arabia. There’s a wide range of possible ingredients and flavors that you can use to assemble yours; the sky’s the limit. I’m really excited by this savory challenge, and hope that you’ll join in the fun.
All you need do is let Heavenly or me know that you’re in, make your biryani any which way and publish it on November 8th. All participants will be contacted before to put links to everyone’s blogs on their page for the challenge. That’s it! Can’t wait to see your marvelous creations.