Thursday, August 9, 2007

Rice with cumin

When I was growing up, my mother used to make a dish she called Cumin Rice. I remember that she started by frying bacon in the bottom of the pan (usually a Corningware dish on an electric stove), and then fried onions and peppers in the bacon grease. Then she'd add salt and cumin, and fry the rice grains in the onion-pepper-bacon mixture, and then add water or chicken broth and cook it until the rice was done. It was fantastic.

This isn't that dish. It is still good, though.

1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups Basmati rice
3 cups water or chicken broth
1/4 cup bell pepper, diced small
1/4 cup onion, minced
1-2 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp hot Hungarian paprika
Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a saucepan big enough to hold the cooked rice. Make sure it has a tight-fitting lid. Fry the garlic for a minute or so, then add the onion; fry until the onion takes some color, then add the peppers, cumin, and paprika. Add the rice and salt, and fry until the rice is translucent, stirring constantly. Add the water or broth all at once, and cover and cook on low heat until the rice is done. Basmati takes about 15-20 minutes, making this a pretty quick dish.

To reheat, put a couple of tablespoons of oil in the bottom of a hot wok, or use a nonstick skillet. Fry the rice, breaking up any clumps, until heated through. Depending on how clumpy and how old the leftover rice is, you may need more oil and/or some water, broth, or white wine--at that point, just keep frying until the rice is tender again.

Serve hot with darned near anything.

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