Growing up, I wasn’t keen on rice. I thought it was white and tasteless! In the 80’s, my Japanese husband taught me there were many different varieties and tastes of rice. Today, the supermarket stock many different rices and even more are found in health food shops. As well as white rice that we’re all familiar with, you can purchase brown, red, and black and wild rice. These rices also have particular uses. Short-grain rices are typically used for risottos and for sweet dishes because the grains fluff-up when cooked. Long grain rice keeps it shape when cooked and it is the rice we most often use for a savoury accompaniment.
I love Jasmine rice. It is one of the fragrant rices grown in Thailand, Vietnam and Laos. It has a pleasant, not-too-hard, not-too-soft texture when cooked. It’s not as glutenous as short grain, but softer than a Basmati rice. In the UK, Jasmine rice was only found as white rice, but increasingly brown Jasmine Rice is available from health food shops. Over the years, I’ve experimented cooking different rices and I like to mix them together for different texture and tastes. I often also mix in red or green Puy lentils as this gives rice more texture and more protein. I sometimes substitute the red rice for the Italian ‘riso nero’ – a rice that is naturally black.
My time in the Far East, taught me the easy way to cook rice—with a rice cooker. I still use rice cookers as it produces perfect rice every time with no effort at all. But there is an equally easy way to cook the perfect rice in a saucepan. And I’ve used this method below. I hope that if you still think rice is white and tasteless, this recipe will change your mind.
Ingredients for Brown Jasmine Rice with green Puy lentils
Makes 8 portions
280g Jasmine Brown Rice (you can use other brown rice if you wish)
80g Red rice (I use Thai or Camargue)
70g Puy Lentils (sometimes called French lentils, or green lentils)
Put the rice, lentils and water into a medium sized saucepan (that has a lid) and place on the hob. Turn on the heat and bring the rice and water to the boil. Then turn down heat to it’s lowest setting. Put the lid on the saucepan and cook until all of the water has evaporated. This usually takes 20 minutes. However, the age and the crop of rice will determine this, so check after 15 minutes and know it might take a few minutes beyond 20 minutes too.
1. When the rice is cooked, the lentils will have risen to the top. Give the rice a good stir to distribute the lentils evenly through the rice.
2. To serve you can just spoon it out or, to make it look more special, you can make rice balls. To do this, simply press the rice into a small bowl pressing it down firmly with the back of a spatular or wooden spoon. Then you can turn it out onto a plate.
3. To freeze the rice, place rice balls on a chopping board covered with parchment or greaseproof paper. As soon as the rice is cool, place the board into your freeze.
4. When the rice balls are completely frozen, lift the board out of the freezer. The rice balls can be pulled away from the paper and placed into a bag. Pop these back into the freezer and you now have individual portions of rice whenever you need them.
To use frozen rice, place the rice into a bowl and allow to defrost naturally. Or, place the rice into a bowl, add a teaspoon of water, and then microwave for 2 minutes.
😊 Eat Well—Be Well.
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