Sometimes one person just isn’t enough. If it’s just me eating dinner, I might eat everything cold, or chow down when my meal is still slightly raw, or even eat something that could be considered on the other side of fresh. However, once you add another person – and that other person is Special Correspondent Dena – I have motivation enough. If you combine that with an NPR review of rice – recipes included – I was guaranteed to make something new and fresh.
I began the evening by shopping for fresh ingredients, using the NPR recipe for Basmanti Rice with Pomegranate Seeds as my guide. Of course, all good recipes need to be revised. This is what happened:
Basmati Rice with Pomegranate Seeds
1 cup white or brown basmati rice I only have brown jasmine rice.
1 c of brown jasmine rice. Add another 1/2 c just to make sure no one goes hungry.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 bay leaves
2 green cardamom pods, bruised I don’t have cardamon pods, and they take too long to find at the store. I’ll use that dried cardamon instead, 1 tsp. Wait, I don’t own dried cardamon. What’s similar? Google search: There is no replacement for cardamon. I’ve got news for you google, we’re all recplaceble.
a pinch of caraway seeds
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 cups water
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts* Pine nuts are $1.00 an oz – and only come in 8 oz bags. That is not happening. What else might work? What nut-like ingredient will not bankrupt me, my children, and my children’s children?
1/2 c toasted sunflower seeds
8 to 10 mint leaves Forgot those at the store. Thankfully I work around the corner – looks like I’ll be back tomorrow.
1/2 cup fresh pomegranate seeds Pomegranates are seasonal, and spring is not their season.
1/2 cup dried pomegranate and cranberry mix
Rinse the rice well in running water.
Drain and set aside. (Some people like to soak their rice in water for about a half-hour. This reduces the cooking time. I generally don’t soak my rice.) Unnecessary.
In a deep pan, heat the vegetable oil. Add the bay leaves and
cardamom pods caraway seeds. Saute for a minute , or until fragrant. I didn’t smell any fragrance.
Add salt to taste, the lemon juice and the rice. Mix well. Add the water and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for
18 to 20 minutes for white rice, 30 to 40 minutes for brown, until most of the water has been absorbed. You will see small craters forming on top of the rice.
Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for about 5 minutes. Only if necessary; that rice was fully cooked at 30 minutes and I have no intention of drying it out.
This has yet to come: Fluff with a fork, remove the bay leaves, top the rice with the pine nuts, mint leaves and pomegranate seeds, and serve immediately.
Hopefully, in addition to being served immediately, this will serve as a classic for years to come. Failing that, let’s hope it turns out well.