intensely trivial

The basmati showcase!

Well, I have to declare the basmati rice cooking challenge a success! It wasn’t really a contest, but rather just something fun to pique your creativity — and mine.

First, let me announce that Terri is the winner of the spectacular basmati door prize — and she requested some cloth napkins! They will soon be rolling off my sewing machine and hand-delivered to her.

One more quick thing: I guess I didn’t state the rules very clearly (typical of me). I meant that you could use everything I listed initially, plus one more thing. Some of you added more than one extra thing, which sounded delicious. Not sure what the rules will be the next time.

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. . .

First, Myra, since she, of course, was the first to submit her creation:

Myra's basmati rice dish

Myra's basmati rice dish

Here’s what Myra had to say about her dish, and the accompanying recipe:

My eyebrows were slanted and crooked as I tried to mix these wacko ingredients together, but here’s my recipe:

1 c. dry rice (I used whole grain rice because the store didn’t have basmati.)
1 T. butter (this was an accident…I put it in my rice water without thinking…I guess it could count for the cream/milk)
2 T. olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced into rings
2-3 c. sugar snap peas
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/4 c. coconut
1 T. chopped chile pepper
Grillmates roasted garlic and herb seasoning (this is my added ingredient…kinda cheating…)

Cook rice according to package instructions. In skillet, caramelize onions in olive oil. Add peas to onions and saute until tender. Add tomato, coconut, and pepper and stir-fry 2-3 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and seasoning to taste.

Myra–It was interesting. The unexpected sweetness from the coconut complimented the onions well. If only the coconut wasn’t so flaky; it made the stir-fry mix look dirty. Overall, it was pretty good. I wasn’t impressed with the sugar snap peas–they didn’t add/have much flavor.

Jared–He really liked it. He thought it would’ve been better had I not overcooked the rice. He said the tomatoes added a zing, and the coconut added a ting. He would eat it again.

Next, Terri’s dish:

Terri's basmati-challenge meal

Terri's basmati-challenge meal

Terri’s recipe and comments:

2 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 red chile, diced
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 C. Basmati Rice
1/2 C coconut milk
1/4 C milk
1/2 C tomato sauce
1/4 C water
1/4 C peas

Saute onion, chile, and garlic in oil until soft. Rinse rice and add to vegetables. Cook for a few minutes. Add all liquids and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 20 minutes and then remove from heat. Fluff with a fork and fold in the peas.

Notes: I would skip the plain milk and use more water next time…I’d also cook it a little longer. It was yummy, though.

And here is a link to Terri’s process photos.

And here’s Shana’s version! (and comments, which I did not obtain permission to publish)

Basmati Rice a la Shana

Basmati Rice a la Shana

Well…here’s my submission for the Basmati Rice Cooking Challenge. I was looking forward to doing this all week but, when it came down to it, I was in a hurry to finish it because I didn’t allow myself enough time. Anyway, I cooked the rice, added the other ingredients plus a few of my own things here and there and served it Wednesday night for supper. It was a little sweeter than I had planned and just needed something else, but I wasn’t sure what. After I cleaned up the dishes, it dawned on me…I forgot to add the peas!! So, I tried it again on Friday for lunch. Second time’s the charm, right? This time it tasted much better, more complete. The result is an Asian-spiced blend with a hint of something sweet. Here’s my version:

Basmati Rice a la Shana
2 cups cooked basmati rice
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c. Vidalia onion
1/2 c. frozen peas
1/4 c. coconut
1 tsp. ground red chiles
1/2 tsp. cardamom
1/4 tsp. coriander
3/4 c. diced tomatoes (I used canned)
1 tsp. fish oil
3/4 c. half & half

Saute the onions in the olive oil for several minutes, until soft. Add peas and cook until thawed. Add the coconut and stir until it’s blended. Then add the ground chiles, cardamom and coriander. Saute until you begin to smell the spices. Add the tomatoes and fish oil until warm. Then add the half & half, stirring until thickened and blended into the mix. Serve warm. Enjoy.

Here’s Jill’s recipe and comments:

Rice Recipe
2 cups Basmati Rice
4 cups water
1 cup milk
1 Tbsp oil
pinch of salt

Sauce Recipe
4 Tbsp canola oil
2 onions, diced (I used red)
1 chili pepper, minced
2 cans coconut milk (I used light, and my sauce was pretty runny. Next time I might try one light and one regular.)
2 28oz cans of diced tomatoes, drained
1 Tbsp green curry paste
1 1/2 cups peas
salt and pepper to taste

Rinse rice in cold water to remove excess starch. Combine rice, water, oil, and salt in a heavy saucepan. Allow mixture to rest for 15 minutes. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low setting, cover with tight fitting lid and simmer for 35 minutes. Remove from heat. Fluff with fork and serve with sauce.

Meanwhile, while rice is simmering, heat oil in large saucepan. Add onion and pepper and saute for about 5 minutes. Add coconut milk, tomatoes, green curry paste, peas, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Pour over rice.

This is d.e.l.i.c.i.o.u.s.
even if I do say so myself. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Next, Carrie’s:

Basmati-Stuffed Tomatoes

Basmati-Stuffed Tomatoes

Basmati-stuffed Tomatoes

4-8 medium-sized tomatoes
1 cup basmati rice
1 3/4 cup water
1 T. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2-4 mild chile peppers, chopped
1 cup sugar snap peas
1 tsp. garam masala
3 T. flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp. kosher salt
6 solid grinds black pepper
1/3 cup heavy cream
unsweeted coconut flakes

Cut tops off tomatoes, and hollow out insides (see photos). Set tomatoes aside in a baking dish, light brushed with olive oil (or just leave them on your cutting board). Bring water to boil; then add rice. Cook until water is absorbed. Meanwhile, heat 1 T. olive in small frying pan. Add onion, and saute for about 4 minutes, until almost done. Cut tough ends off of peas. Add peas and chopped chile peppers to onions, and saute a couple more minutes. Remove pan from heat, and stir in garam masala (I used something very close to this recipe: In a large bowl, combine cooked rice, onion mixture, black pepper and salt. Stir together. Gently fold in cream and parsley. Spoon mixture into tomatoes and pack down as tightly as possible (you’ll probably have some leftover, which is just fine because it’s better just plain! Ha ha!). Sprinkle liberally with coconut. Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes, until tomatoes are soft and coconut is browned.

That was my cooking adventure! Thanks for spurring on such a fun competition. The combination of rice, cream, onion and garam masala was really good! I thought it was just so-so inside the tomatoes, but maybe that’s because I’m not a tomato lover.

And precisionink’s version:

precisionink's Coconut Rice

precisionink's Coconut Rice

Coconut Biryani
Recipe (with comments, probably too many of them) is as follows:
Heat generous amount of oil in large, heavy pot. Add whole chili pepper and saute briefly. (This step did not add much heat, but I have a spice-averse child.) Remove chili; reserve. Add chopped onion (1 medium) and saute until glace. Add 2 c. rinsed and drained brown basmati rice. Stir until all rice is coated with oil. Stir in 4 c. coconut milk (one lite, one regular) and a little extra water (I rinsed my cans and poured that into the pot.) (I hope the coconut milk was not cheating; I had it on hand and it sounded good.) Cook for 35 minutes over low heat (peek near the 25-minute mark to make sure you’ve still got moisture-add more water if necessary.) When rice is tender, but not mushy, turn off heat and leave covered for 5 minutes. Stir in chopped tomato (2 lovely ones) and 2 c. frozen (defrosted and drained) peas. At table, pass toasted coconut and chopped, reserved chili to top biryani.

I loved it. My kids didn’t like “the flavor” (uh duh, that’s what makes it like, COCONUT biryani.) Ron ate it tolerantly, without any seconds. Mostly, I liked the creativity, with boundaries. Thanks for the challenge!

I forgot to say that I salted the onions after they were cooked (before adding the rice) and I salted the tomatoes right before I stirred them in. Also, I added a few squeezes of lime juice at that time.

A follow-up to this dish came for Sunday dinner. Some coconut rice was left over, so I used it as a base for a favorite, easy dinner, vegetable curry. This dish uses pantry staples, so it’s a go-to in the winter: saute chopped onion, add garlic (and ginger, if you have it), cook briefly. Stir in 2 Tb. of curry powder, than add chunks of potato, carrot, sweet potato, or whatever you have, and stir to coat all with curry. Add a large can of crushed tomatoes, some water, and salt and pepper. Bring all to a simmer, cover, and cook until veggies are tender, about 20 minutes. Add-ins at this point are frozen peas, green beans or spinach, and garbanzo beans. Heat again to a simmer. Serve over rice, preferably leftover coconut rice, the sweetness of which goes nicely with the bitter saltiness of the curry. Add a squeeze of lime for an ayurvedic balance of flavors.

Ron’s recipe was a lot more elaborate than mine, but he didn’t follow through. It involved pre-cooking the rice, and then baking it in a wok-shaped dish to get a crunchy texture. Some vegetables were cooked in the dish (onions and peas, I think), and some added at the end (turn the rice upside down out of the pan like a cake and decorate it with fresh tomatoes.) He had some Persian dish like that once, apparently. But he was all TALK!

And here’s mine:

Rachel's basmati coconut rice

Rachel's basmati coconut rice

I should have written down my recipe right away, but I didn’t. Now it’s nine days later. Let’s see if I can remember it.

2 c. basmati rice, washed 4-5 times and drained
4 c. water

Combine rice and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer till done, about 15-20 min.

1-2 T. vegetable oil
2 onions, diced
1-inch knob of ginger root, grated
1 Thai chile, minced
1/2 c. skim milk (probably more)
1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes
plenty of fresh-ground black pepper
1 1/4 c. unsweetened coconut, toasted
1 1/2-2 c. frozen peas

Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium-high. Add onions, and fry till they start to turn brown. Put in the ginger and the chile, and cook another minute or so. Deglaze the pan by pouring in the milk and stirring till the mixture is sort of creamy and nothing is stuck on the bottom of the pan anymore. Add the tomatoes and coconut. Reduce the heat to low-ish. Add salt and plenty of fresh-ground black pepper (enough so that black pepper is an actual flavor). Simmer about 10 min. Add the peas at the end, and cook till heated through. Serve this alongside the rice — or on top, if you prefer.

We liked this dish, although there was maybe too much coconut. The rice cooled down the spiciness of the curry — if you can call this a curry. It seemed filling, but Dan was looking for snacks an hour or two later. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m saving Dan’s for last, because he thought outside the box the most — and made me laugh a lot.

Satanic Bob the Tomato Santa

Satanic Bob the Tomato Santa

Can you find all the required ingredients in this picture?

Thank you all so much for participating in this challenge! It was such fun to do this with you and learn how you solved the problems. I’m brainstorming for the next one already. ๐Ÿ™‚


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Use a cloth napkin; save a (fraction of a) tree « intensely trivial pingbacked on 9 years, 4 months ago


  1. * erika sapp says:

    That was a great idea, Rachel. I totally am interested if you do it again. I just didn’t fit it into the schedule last week. I had even researched what I wanted to make and everything….maybe some day I’ll make it anyway.

    Posted 9 years, 4 months ago

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