Monday, June 13, 2011

Mom's Basmati Rice

I can't believe I have never posted this recipe before. It's a staple in our household, and one of my favorite recipes, for sure. This recipe has a history for me. It's totally my mother's creation, and I cannot begin to count the number of times we ate it at home. In fact, I love it so much that I asked Mom to make it for me almost every time I came home during my first year of college. Eventually, I asked for the recipe so I could make it myself, but Mom didn't have much of an answer - "I don't know really... I just throw some stuff in there." The conversation went something like this...

Me: "Well you put onions and garlic and scallions in it right?"
Mom: "Yeah..."
Me: "Well how much?"
Mom: "I don't know... depends how much I'm making and how onion-y I want it."
Me: "Well what about seasonings? Is it basil and oregano or what?"
Mom: "You can use whatever you want really... I make it differently every time."
Me: "I don't imagine you measure anything..."
Mom: "Nope."
Me: "Well you're a lot of help."

So I watched her make it once and kind of picked up on the general process - saute veggie-like ingredients, toast seasonings and rice, add hot broth, cover and simmer. Easy, easy, easy. So I started playing with flavors and ingredients. I've made it with celery and carrots too, sometimes with sage and thyme instead of Italian, sometimes even with wild rice too. Mom was right - you can use whatever you want. It's a lot like risotto in the fact that once you get the process down the flavor possibilities are endless. But the recipe I present to you today is my favorite rendition. It's light, with delicate onion flavor and a texture that melts in your mouth like butter. And it goes with anything... we've eaten it with steak, grilled chicken, rosemary pork chops, and probably some other things that aren't coming to mind right now. It's definitely a recipe to keep in your back pocket for this summer!

Mom's Basmati Rice
a Learning Curve Original!

1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 of one yellow onion, diced
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
4 scallions, green and white parts, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup basmati rice
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 1/2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1. Heat oil over medium heat in a medium-sized skillet that has a tight-fitting lid. Add the onion, garlic, and scallions and saute until fragrant and the onions are translucent. 
2. Heat your chicken broth in the microwave until steaming. Set aside. Add to the pan the salt, a few grinds of pepper, rice, rosemary, and Italian seasoning, and lightly toast for about a minute to bring out the flavors of the seasonings and to toast the rice.
3. Pour the hot chicken broth into the pan and ensure even distribution of the ingredients. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and reduce the heat to low. Simmer, covered (and no peeking!), for 30 minutes. Leave covered and remove from heat, and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork or rice paddle and serve!

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