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How to Cook Basmati Rice Recipe

How to Cook Basmati Rice

04.15.10 by Jackie

Ah, basmati rice. I don't think there is a food that better represents the similarities and differences of Indian Subcontinent and East Asian cultures. Rice is the staple starch in both of these Asian regions, but the preparation couldn't be more different. In the Far East, sticky jasmine rice is typically prepared with every meal. Chopsticks are the utensil of choice, which helps explain the popularity of rice that can stay clumped together on the journey from the bowl to the mouth.

By contrast, the quality of cooked basmati rice is judged primarily by how separate the grains remain. Traditionally, people of the subcontinent eat with their hands, and the various dals and kormas do a great job of creating cohesion.

Preparing basmati rice at home is not nearly as challenging as it may seem, but as is the case with many simple dishes, precision and care are required. Like pasta, if it's cooked past "al dente", basmati rice will become mushy.

I didn't have much experience with basmati rice until I got married. After more than five years, I have not only learned how to make it, I have come to love it. In our home, we make both sticky Asian jasmine rice and Indian basmati rice everyday to satisfy the different palates. We typically eat it with dal, but the girls love to have basmati rice with a little butter and sumac. Sumac is a common Middle Eastern spice and has a deep reddish, purple color. You can see it sprinkled over the rice in the photos.

If you don't have well cooked basmati rice on a regular basis, you don't know what you're missing. I know that for a long time I didn't!


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Persian Basmati Rice with Raisins and Saffron Recipe

Recently we went to the home of  family friends for dinner. They made us an absolutely amazing home cooked Persian meal.  If I had known about all the incredible dishes that I was going to get to sample, I would have brought my camera to post them here!

One dish in particular that really stood out was the rice. Every culture that eats rice has its own particular method and manner of preparation. In our home, we make both sticky Asian jasmine rice and Indian basmati rice to satisfy the different palates.

What's different about this Persian rice recipe is that it's not just a neutral medium for delivering the flavors of a main course. It is prepared in such a way that it is delicious on its own. Cooked basmati rice forms the base, but to this are added saffron, fried onions, butter, and flavored raisins. The final product is ethereal, yet rich.

I've had it at restaurants many times, but never with the care and quality that was put into this preparation. as if that weren't enough, we also had another Persian rice recipe made with dill, but that's another post...


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Falafel Salad with Lemon Tahini Vinaigrette Recipe

During our last trip to Philadelphia, Lulu and I realized how narrow the vegetarian options were in restaurants. Lulu had falafel during the entire time of our stay there.

He hasn't touched it since we got back and I thought it was time to re-introduce him to falafel. I served them in a Mediterranean-style salad along with lemon tahini vinaigrette, candied walnuts and thinly sliced kumquat preserves from last winter's harvest.


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Summer Vegetables and Hummus Pizza Recipe

Hummus pizza breaks the traditional rules by using a garbanzo bean spread instead of the standard tomato sauce. I added some Mediterranean ingredients to keep the flavor fresh, such as asparagus, garlic, roasted red bell peppers and artichoke hearts.

It's the perfect recipe for a light summer meal; the few shavings of parmesan cheese is the only sinful ingredient in an otherwise very healthy pizza.


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Lamb Medallion Dijonnaise Recipe

Lamb Medallion Dijonnaise

07.26.09 by Jackie

We served lamb medallions dijonnaise as an appetizer during our wedding reception 4 years ago in July. I thought recreating the dish would be a nice way to relive the memories, especially since I didn't get to eat much on our wedding day. We had a little family gathering this weekend so I made the medallions of lamb and placed them on sweet onion crostini. I garnished them with Dijon mustard and some chives from the garden.

If you're not a big fan of lamb, you can use spice as I did in this dish to mask the strong flavor of the meat. I crusted the sirloin with black pepper, cumin and sumac powders. I also added some cumin and coriander to the sweet onion relish to give it a slightly Indian vibe.


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