New Rice (Pilaf)

I bought a bag of Brown Jasmine Rice (something new from them, as far as I know) from Lundberg Family Farms (a longtime favorite of mine) this past week at Whole Foods. I cooked some last night. It’s awesome – definitely better than their brown basmati. I usually use their brown long-grain rice, but I think this is better. I can’t say for sure, since I cooked the rice as a pilaf rather than plain, but it was awfully good. I highly suggest you (yes, you) buy a bag and try it.

I buy rice bagged, even though I’m perfectly willing to buy beans in bulk – I have had experiences with rancidity when buying bulk rice, even at reputable stores. With brown rice, unless you use it at the rate of a couple of brown-rice-loving-vegetarians, it’s best to store it in the fridge. Set it in there next to your whole-wheat flour.

Here’s a simple pilaf I make from time to time. I’m going out of town tomorrow, (the National Restaurant Association show) so we had this with a totally random chickpea curry which used up a sprouting onion, three fresh tomatoes, a lonely green pepper, and half a bottle of tomato juice. I realized that I don’t have a chickpea curry recipe up on this website at all, and I have about four that I really like, so I should get on that. I’ve also made a couple batches of chapati recently, but I’m still working on getting it just right. I think I might have an old Cook’s Illustrated with a flatbread recipe in it – I’ll have to dig that out.

2 c. brown jasmine rice
4 c. water
1 medium onion, chopped
½ c. slivered or sliced almonds
2-3 T. oil
1 T. butter
pinch of saffron threads
8-10 whole peppercorns
salt to taste

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Drop in the onion and sauté for a minute or two, until just starting to soften. Add the almonds and sauté until the onions are near translucent. Add the rice and sauté, stirring occasionally, until a few of the grains have picked up reddish spots. Pour in the water and add the butter, saffron threads, peppercorns, and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat until the water remains just above a simmer. Cover and cook undisturbed for about 1 hour, until all the moisture is gone.

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