Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Dinner Party Fare...Aromatic Basmati Rice

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This is the perfect recipe to have on hand for a dinner party.  It goes well with braised beef, chicken, roast pork, Cornish hens, curries, tagines and fish, particularly if they have a sauce.  It's aromatic and has that wonderful combination of sweet and slightly spicy that goes so well with certain entrees.  I love this rice! Keep it handy for the next time you have to entertain.

Those of us who have been cooking for a long time have our recipes categorized not only by meal course or season,  but also by occasion or holiday.  In this case, I would immediately think dinner party,  paired with a roast pork tenderloin, chicken curry or Cornish hens, three entrees that immediately come to mind when it comes to entertaining guests. Whenever you find a recipe you like, think not only about what you would like to serve it with but also for what occasion.  This rice is festive enough to serve when guests are coming.  It's  not only delicious, it looks like some effort went into its preparation.

It so happens, that it's from master entertainer and West Coast caterer and party planner, Colin Cowie. Remember his Flourless Almond Torte with Coffee Sauce?  If you go to his website you will see that his food and recipes are definitely entertaining fare.  Some may be even simple and straightforward but "dressy " as far as presentation is concerned.  Just like a "little black dress"!


•1 tablespoon unsalted butter

•1 garlic glove, crushed

•1/2 cup red bell pepper, seeds removed and cut into 1/4-inch cubes

•1/2 cup yellow bell pepper, seeds removed and cut into 1/4-inch cubes

•1/2 cup chopped yellow onion

•1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

•1 1/2 cups of white Basmati rice

•3 cups of chicken stock or water

•1/4 cup golden raisins

•1/4 cup dark raisins

•1 cinnamon stick

•1/2 teaspoon of salt

•3 tablespoons slivered almonds

•6 whole sprigs of cilantro, for garnish


1. Toast the almond slivers by placing them in a skillet over medium heat until they turn a shade darker, about 3 minutes; alternatively, place them on a baking sheet in a 300 F oven for 3 to 5 minutes. Be careful not to burn them. Remove the nuts immediately from the pan and pour them into a glass or ceramic vessel to prevent further toasting.

2. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and add the garlic, bell peppers, onion, and turmeric. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes, or until the onion becomes translucent.

3. Add the rice, stock or water, raisins, cinnamon, and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low; cover and cook for 20 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed by the rice.

4. Remove the pan from the heat and keep it covered for 5 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork and discard the cinnamon. Transfer the rice to a serving platter, top it with the toasted almonds and cilantro sprigs, and serve.

Recipe courtesy of Colin Cowie

Foodie Friday is at DesignsbyGollum!

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