Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Spanish Rice

This rice has flavor enough to serve alone. Has a slightly red color with a mild tomato taste. Made from base vegetables called Sofrito, which are onion, garlic and tomato. Add spices, and stew together with rice as pilaf.

1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 red sweet pepper, chopped
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cilantro
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp oregano
1/8 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup brown rice
1 cup water
1 tsp lemon juice, to taste
handful fresh cilantro

Prepare by soaking brown rice at least 2 hrs. Wash and drain.
To grind whole spices: Grind cumin seed, corriander seeds, black peppercorns, bay leaf and oregano into coarse powder in spice grinder. Set aside. This step can be done while browning onions, along with prepping the main ingredients.
To start base: Brown onion, lowering heat once it colors, 10-12 min. Add splash of water, garlic, tomato, sweet pepper and ground spices, and simmer 2-3 min. Add tomato paste to color and taste. Result should be paste, without excess water, so it does not change the ratio of rice to water.
Main: In rice cooker, combine rice and water. Ratio of rice to water is important. Add vegetable base paste. Turn on rice cooker. Rice cooker automatically boils and cooks until water is gone, 30 min, then steams warm, 15 min. After steaming 15 min, open lid and stir lightly to separate grains.
Finish: Add fresh coriander, and sprinkle and mix lemon juice, to taste, adding only 1/2 tsp at a time. 

I would happily add whole olives for special occasions.
Compare with Indian Tomato Rice, which is very similar, and we see different spices: Spanish may spice with oregano, and add olives or olive oil; Indian may spice with ginger and turmeric. Both likely spice with bay, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper.

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