How many of you like rice??? Much of the world does, including me. I used to love rice as a child. I enjoyed eating it by itself as a snack. My mother would heat it on the stove (this was the pre-microwave oven era), put it in a cup and hand me a spoon. I was happy!
Fortunately for me as a cook, rice is cooked in a wonderful variety of ways across the world. There are pilafs, puddings (I will post my mother's recipe for rice pudding), gumbos, paellas, stews, etc.
In the course of falling in love with Indonesian cuisine, I came across a recipe for rice that is so tasty that it stands alone quite nicely. I have used it accompany other dishes that I made but truth be told, it's so flavorful that I could eat it by itself. It's quick and easy to make and the pay-off in terms of flavorful is fabulous.
Fragrant Coconut and Spice Rice
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 cup unsalted peanuts, shelled and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon shredded coconut
1 cup coconut milk
2 cups water
stem of lemon grass, 4 inches long
8 curry leaves (You can find these at South Asian food markets.)
2 green onions, cut in 1/8 inch slices
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 1/2 cups long grain rice
1. Heat oil in pan. Add nuts, stir until golden; sir in coconut.
2. Add coconut milk and water to pan. Stir in lemon grass, curry leaves and green onions, bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 2 minutes. Add cumin, cardamon and turmeric, bring to the boil. Remove lemon grass and rice, cook uncovered until steam holes appear at the surface.
3. Cover pan with a tight fitting lid, reduce heat to very low, cook for 10 minutes. Lift lid, check if rice is cooked, continue cooking if required.
NOTE: Basmati and jasmine rice can be used instead of long grain rice, if liked. Avoid lifting the lid of the pan while rice is cooking, as all the steam will escape, resulting in thick, starchy rice.