Monday, August 15, 2005


A month or so ago, I bought my first bag of Jasmine rice so that I could make a Thai dish. I didn't even know what Jasmine rice was before I hit three different stores trying to find it. Oddly, it looks mostly like plain old white rice which I normally try to stay away from. However, after using this particular kind of rice now for Thai and for Chinese meals, I'm a convert. Brown rice, while being much better for you in terms of fiber, just doesn't work with Asian dishes. And plain old nasty white rice doesn't have the proper consistency or texture for chopsticks.

A buddy of mine used to work three jobs at a time, and generally played in at least two bands at any given time as well. We were close, but it was hard to find time to hang out. My favorite times with him were right after he got off work from the Chinese take-out place. He would always bring food home with him, something I caught on to fairly quickly, and for a few months there he would occasionally find me on his front porch sniffing the air when he got home. He learned to bring home something without meat to keep the veggy happy. I remember inspecting the rice many times, trying to figure out how they got the rice to clump together so nicely without having it end up becoming a sticky mess (which is what happened when I tried to get white rice to clump properly).

Now I know.

They use Jasmine rice. Duh.

On the first bag of Mahatma Jasmine rice that I picked up, I found a recipe for Royal Thai Rice and it sounded like a lot of fun. I cut the recipe from the bag and put it in my folder of recipes to try that very next week. But I couldn't find red chiles at the first two grocery stores that I tried. So the recipe sat another week. I finally ran across the red chiles at another store a week or so later, and I grabbed a bag full of them, intending to fit the rice dish into my menu the following week. Then I used all the limes up in my next batch of salsa and had to wait another week. I finally had all the ingredients on hand, but the rice dish just didn't "fit" with any of the main dishes I planned for the next week. And on it went. The recipe just languished.

In a fit of frustration, something that happens more often than it should, I finally planned a meal around the side dish, just so I could finally try this rice recipe.

  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth (yeah, the original recipe called for chicken broth, at which I bite my thumb)
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 2 fresh red chiles, seeded and chopped
  • 1 Tbs chopped cilantro
  • 1 Tbs margarine
  • 1 tsp minced ginger root
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric
  • 2 Tbs lime juice
  • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine rice, broth, green onions, chilies, cilantro, margarine, ginger root and turmeric.
  2. Bring to a gentle boil.
  3. Cover. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Fold in lime juice and peanuts.

I was a little wary of this dish, due to what seemed to be a vast quantity of warring flavors, but it turned out wonderfully. The lime juice ended up being the primary taste of seasoning, not conflicting at all with either the ginger root or the cilantro. However, the dish does have to be served with the right entree. I ended up finally settling on quiche for the main dish, a nice pairing. I think it would also work well with grilled or baked fish, alongside another side dish of green beans or steamed broccoli.

Be forewarned about the turmeric though. This was the first time I have used it and I found the stuff to be akin to permanent yellow dye - I got the tiniest bit under my fingernail when I was prying the sprinkle lid off, and it still hasn't washed out now after three showers. I made the dish on Friday evening and went to church on Sunday with an oddly sick-looking yellow-tinged fingernail.

No comments: