This is a much simpler version of Colin Cowie's Aromatic Basmati Rice or as I like to call it, Basmatic Rice. It is the one I use for family and casual weeknight entertaining when I'm cooking certain chicken or fish recipes and want something sweet and sour to complement the dish.
Rice is the traditional accompaniment in most Latin dishes and as such, we have as many recipes as Americans have for potatoes. If my mother could have gotten away with it, we would have had rice every night of the week. White, yellow, with vegetables, mushrooms or chicken bouillon... any combination she could think of. So I grew up eating lots of rice and not as many potatoes. Saffron used to be the traditional spice we used in those days but with the astronomical price you now have to pay for a few threads, well, you just have to be creative. I found some at Marshall's a few weeks ago and bought the entire lot. It is safely tucked away in the back of my jewelry box.
|Saffron threads an saffron powder|
I have started using turmeric as a less expensive alternative for coloring the rice and almost have the family convinced that they like it. But it's been an uphill battle so if you don't care for turmeric, by all means, substitute saffron. In that case, I sometimes add a teaspoon of tomato paste for a different dimension and omit the cinnamon stick! You will be left with essentially a Cuban yellow rice with raisins and almonds...not a bad combination!
|Tumeric root and tumeric powder|
|Monks in Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon|
Yellow Rice Pilaf With Raisins And Almonds
2 TB butter
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 bay leaf
3 cups light chicken stock
2 cups long-grain rice
1/2 cinnamon stick
One 1-inch piece of tangerine or orange zest, white pith removed
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup sliced almonds (about 2 ounces)
1/2 cup raisins or yellow raisins(about 3 ounces)
1.In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and sautee the chopped onions until translucent. Add the bay leaf halfway through. Combine the chicken broth with the rice, cinnamon stick, tangerine zest, salt and turmeric. Stir well and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over very low heat until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, 15 to 17 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat. Add the almonds and cook, stirring, until golden, about 2 minutes. Stir in the raisins and remove from the heat. Add to rice together with the chopped parsley. Fluff gently with a fork to combine. Transfer to a bowl and serve.
If you want a little flair in your presentation, sprinkle a little shredded coconut on top
If you want to keep this simpler, saute the almonds and raisins first and transfer to a plate. Wipe the pan and proceed to step #1. I hate cleaning up so I am always thinking of ways to cut back on pans
Photos Getty Images