Tag Archives: rice

Spanish Rice

Binks and I rarely cook together. I am responsible for the food (cooking, ordering out, planning, etc.) in the house. However, one meal, since the beginning of our relationship, brings us to the kitchen together. Tacos. Binks cooks the tacos and makes salsa. I, on the other hand, am responsible for the sides. And, for our taco meal, the sides are always the same. Refried beans and Spanish rice.

While traditionally (as traditional as Tex-Mex goes) you would usually make Mexican rice (very different from Spanish rice), I love the taste of Spanish rice and prefer it to Mexican rice. The addition of tomatoes and bell pepper gives the rice a bold flavor to serve alongside tacos, burritos or all on its own. I love making a rice bowl with Spanish rice leftovers, taco meat or lentil tacos, fresh veggies and a splash of lime juice.

Whether you use it as a part of your main dish or a side, you will be very happy with the results.

Spanish Rice

– Adapted from Allrecipes
– Yields approximately 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup uncooked, long-grain white rice
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cups vegetable stock (you can also use chicken stock)
  • 1 (10 oz can) canned tomato and green chilies (e.g. Rotel), undrained
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a deep pan (I used my dutch oven), heat olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Saute the onion, garlic and green bell pepper until it gets soft. Add the rice and brown until the rice is a bit browned.
  3. Add the stock, canned tomatoes/green chilies, chili powder, cumin, and salt.
  4. Cover and bring to a simmer for 30 minutes, or until the stock is fully absorbed into the water.
  5. Once absorbed, remove from heat, remove from heat and fluff with a fork.
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Filed under Side Dish, Uncategorized

Lunch with the Inlaws

Binks and I designate every other weekend as parents weekend and we usually go to the parents’ houses for lunch and dinner.  This past weekend, after finding out that we are having a baby boy, I thought we should do a gender reveal party just for the parents.  However, due to our severe excitement to blurt it out and scheduling issues, we just told everyone and had a lunch with Binks’ parents for his birthday.

‘Tis a rare occasion that I cook for my in-laws.  ‘Tis a rarer occasion that I cook Indian food for my in-laws.  I love my MIL, but cooking Indian food for her is a stress that I have imposed on myself.  The lady can cook.  And, I am a hot mess and I get nervous.  So, in order to pull off a seemingly-easy-full-course Indian meal was something I had to gear up for.

Menu

–  Appetizers:  Fresh cut veggies and lemon wedges. To me, this is the perfect beginning of a heavy Indian meal.  And it goes great as a salad on the side of the meal itself.

–  Main Course:  Naan, Fried Rice, Chicken Tikka, Palak Saag, Potato Sabji, and Raita.

I must apologize.  The only picture I got of the naan was this.

This is the dough at the initial stages.  I totally intend on making this again soon so recipe to follow I promise!

The chicken tikka recipe I used (my absolute favorite) can be found here.  This time, I doubled the sauce because you can’t have enough for soaking with your naan or pouring over the rice.

The saag again is another favorite of mine.  I have to say I love the preparation and ease of saag.  First, you start out with a sink full of greens.  Literally – a sink FULL.

And it all cooks down to this:

The potato sabji is favorite of mine.  It’s truly comfort food for me.  Recipe to come soon!

Finally, to me, no meal is complete without raita.

Dessert:  The best yellow cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting!

Meal Preparation

An Indian meal, in my opinion, takes a long time to prepare.  Unless, you’re my aunt who somehow does everything in an hour.  So, to prepare my meal (as a novice) and have time to clean up (so it looks somewhat effortless), this was a two-day process.

Day Before:
–  Grocery shopping
–  Marinade chicken
–  Make saag and refrigerate in the same pot you made it in.
–  Make raita
–  Clean up entire kitchen.
–  Set out the plates/serving ware you want to use.  This will give you a great head start for the next day.
–  Set out butter before bed to have it softened by the next morning.

Day Of:
–  Make dough for naan.
–  Make cupcakes.
–  While dough is rising, prepare chicken tikka.
–  While chicken tikka is simmering, boil potatoes for potato sabji.
–  After naan dough has its first rise, roll into balls and allow for second rise.
–  Heat saag on low in the same pot.
–  Make buttercream.
–  Frost cupcakes.
–  Plate and set out food, dishes, cups, drinks & utensils.
–  Clean like crazy.
–  Make fried rice
–  Once rice is cooking covered, plate your other dishes.
–  Make naan.

I make naan last so it’s most hot and fresh when people arrive and if people were to arrive when I’m making naan, it’s not as bad or as busy as if people were to arrive when I’m plating or cleaning.  You know?

The best thing to show you would have been my detailed calendar for the day, complete with time frames.  I’ll save that craziness strategy for another post.

How do you plan for guests?  Do you start days early?  What do you take into account when planning a menu?

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Filed under Favorites, Indian, Lunch, Uncategorized

I Lied.

I Lied.

I said I was going to make naan.

I didn’t.

I made fried brown rice.

I said I would make dal makhani.

I didn’t.

I made “Everyday Dal.

Christin @ Purple Bird Blog requested I make saag aloo.

I didn’t.

I made regular Saag.

And, my MIL made aloo gobi.

I’m horrible I know.

I’ll make up for it.

I made rajma.

That’s one step above and beyond.

Right?

I’ll make it up to you – and me – with the naan.

I promise.

You can trust me.

😉

Fried Brown Rice Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown rice, rinsed well and drained
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or butter  (I used Earth Balance)
  • 1 bay leaf*
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick*
  • 1 tsp cloves*
  • 1 tsp black peppercorn*
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds*
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups boiling water – I start my tea kettle around the time I start adding oil to my pot

Directions:

  • Heat the oil/butter in a heavy pot until melted.
  • Add cinnamon stick, cloves, black peppercorn, cumin and bay leaf.
  • Saute over medium-high heat for 5 minutes.  (The flavors really will just come alive.)
  • Add rice and saute for another 3 minutes.
  • Add salt.
  • Add water.
  • Cover and let it cook for approximately 20 minutes, or until rice is perfectly done.   The water (after 20 minutes) should have been absorbed.  If not, leave it covered for another 5 minutes.  Brown rice does take longer to cook than white rice.

*Do not replace the actual ingredients with the powdered version.  You are better off leaving it out altogether.

Saag

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bunch of spinach, chopped
  • 1 bunch of greens (turnip or mustard), chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapeno or serrano peppers, chopped (please adjust based on your spice preference)
  • 2 tsp ginger, minced
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • salt, as required

Directions

  • In a large pot, add olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add onions, ginger, garlic, peppers and saute until tender.
  • Add the spinach, greens and a cup of water.
  • Cover and bring to a boil for about 10 minutes until the leaves of the spinach and greens are tender.
  • Take spinach mixture and pour into a blender (if you can’t fit it all into a blender, split it up into batches).
  • Puree until the spinach mixture is fairly smooth.  I pulse about 4 times for 20 seconds each to leave some leaves still in tact.
  • Return the mixture to the pot over medium heat.
  • Add salt to taste.  I usually add about 2 tsp and increase from there based on my taste.
  • Simmer mixture over medium heat.  The longer you simmer, the better and concentrated the taste.
  • Simmer for at least 30 minutes.  I have left it on simmer for more than an hour, and the flavor just intensifies.

Everyday Dal

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup dry brown/green lentils, rinsed and drained – I can’t quite tell if my lentils are brown or green.  It’s a mixture and the kind you get anywhere.
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp of ginger, minced
  • 2 jalapenos or serranos (again, please adjust to your liking)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 3 cups water

Directions:

  • In saucepan, boil lentils  in 3 cups of water over medium-high heat for about 20 minutes, or until the lentils start getting soft.  Do not drain after.
  • In a separate pan, heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add onion, garlic, ginger and peppers, and saute until tender.
  • Add turmeric, garam masala, cayenne pepper, cumin seeds and coriander.  Mix until the raw spice smell is gone.  Warning: the cumin seeds may sputter so be careful.
  • Add the spice/onion mixture to the cooked lentils.
  • Add salt to taste.
  • Allow the whole mixture to boil/simmer for another 30 minutes until the water has absorbed more into the lentils and the mixture becomes thick (rather than watery).

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Filed under Favorites, Indian, Vegan, Vegetarian