Rick Stein’s Everyday Pilau Rice

Serves: 4

I did a cooking class 15 years ago with David Thompson, inarguably the world’s best Thai chef (and ironically, an Australian).

He covered a lot of ground on the day including 15 seconds on rice where he said the only technique anyone needed was the trick where you measured the water above the rice – however much rice, whatever the cooking dish – to be the distance between the top of your thumb and the first joint.

If you did this, this was all you needed to know.

I’ve lived by this rule since and I’ve cooked plenty of successful rice since.

Though jeez I love it when I find a different technique. A technique that works too!

Thanks Rick Stein. Loved it!

Ingredients

315gm basmati rice
1 tsp vegetable oil
2 cloves
3cm piece of cinnamon stick
1 green cardamom pod, crushed
1/4 tsp salt
350ml water

Method

  1. Wash the rice and then soak for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the spices for 30 seconds until they smell aromatic.
  3. Drain the rice and add it with the salt; stir a little.
  4. Add the water and bring to the boil, then cook on a very low heat with the lid on for 10 – 12 minutes until all the water has been absorbed.

Kylie Kwong’s Egg Fried Rice

Serves: 4 – 6

This is a really delicious fried rice and with some sliced chilli, it is a meal in itself.

It is quick on all fronts, it isn’t greasy and it subtlety means it will pair with pretty much anything.

You’ll be asked to cook this again.

Ingredients

6 eggs
⅔ cup finely sliced spring onions
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp finely diced ginger
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 small red onion, finely diced
4 cups steamed (Jasmine) rice
1 tbsp light soy sauce (extra)
1 ⅓ cups finely shredded Chinese cabbage leaves

Method

  1. Place eggs in a bowl with spring onions, soy sauce and ginger and beat lightly with a fork to combine.
  2. Heat oil in a hot wok until it starts to shimmer. Add the onion and toss for 30 seconds. Pour in the egg mixture and leave to cook for 10 seconds before folding the egg mixture in on itself and lightly scrambling for 1 ½ minutes or until almost cooked through. Add rice and extra soy sauce and stir fry for another 1 ½ minutes, breaking up the egg into smaller pieces.
  3. Toss in the cabbage, stir fry for another 20 seconds, combining well.

Tandoori Salmon with Fragrant Rice

Serves: 4

If you’re ever short of time, money and find yourself surrounded by 6 hungry people, the fastest ‘gourmet dish’ you can prepare is a tandoori chicken, or lamb. Put yoghurt and tandoori paste into a plastic bag with the meat (chicken strips, lamb cutlets etc), shake it all around and then BBQ.

People will think you’re a genius.

This particular dish is great not only because it’s  just as simple, and not only because it is tandoori salmon but because of the rice. It is worth every effort.

Ingredients

1 tbsp tandoori paste
¾ c (210g) thick Greek-style yoghurt
4 x 175g skinless salmon fillets
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Grated zest and juice of ½ lemon, plus wedges to serve
3 green cardamom pods, bruised
3 whole cloves, bruised
2 tbsp chopped coriander
1 ½ c (300g) Basmati rice

Method

  1. Combine the tandoori paste and ½ cup (140g) yoghurt in a bowl. Coat the salmon and set aside until ready to cook.
  2. Heat oil in a pan over medium-low heat. Add onion, garlic, zest and spices then stir for 3-5 minutes until softened. Add rice, stir once to coat in oil mixture the stir in 2 ¼ cups (560ml) water and a little salt. Bring to the boil, then cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 12 minutes until liquid absorbed.
  3. Remove from the heat and set aside, covered for 5 minutes until rice is tender. Stir in lemon juice and coriander.
  4. Meanwhile, pre-heat the grill to high. Place salmon on a foil-lined tray and cook under the grill for 6-8 minutes, turning once, until lightly charred and cooked through.
  5. Serve with rice, extra yoghurt and lemon.

Cauliflower rice

Serves: 4

Going from fatso to less-so fatso was a journey that meant less drinking, less calories, more exercise and… crossing those food taboos I had always held true.

Like substituting.

Substituting strips of zucchini for pasta. Tofu for meat. And cauliflower for rice.

Because rice was one of those things that made me fat. The carbs, the inoffensive taste, the way it filled me up when covered in curries and sauce.

Rice though, is high in calories. And as I have done the simple arithmetic – less carbs in, more carbs out = weight loss = I’ve had to cross old taboos. Namely, rice cannot be substituted.

Well let me tell you my fellow fatsos, it can. And with no downside.

A cup of rice is 216 calories. A cup of cauliflower rice with the same density, 28. Ha.

And cauliflower has a lower GI so you’ll feel fuller longer!

And in ‘ricing’ the cauliflower, it takes on a new, really pleasant texture. Dry yet moist, solid, almost like cous cous. Tastes good too, especially when you run through some coriander and toasted cumin seeds.

216 calories is a brisk half hour walk. You’ve just burnt 28 reading this recipe introduction.

Take the plunge and see the light. This is how rice should be.

(Unless you’re in an Indian restaurant with a vindaloo in which case, it is safe to assume you have earned rice or need rice, or both…!)

Ingredients

1 head of cauliflower
Bunch of coriander, chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted.

Method

  1. Cut the florets from the cauliflower leaving the tough stalk aside.
  2. Pulse the florets in a food processor until of a consistent, cous cous like consistency.
  3. Put the pulsed cauliflower in a microwave-proof bowl, cover in cling-wrap, pierce the cling wrap and microwave for 7 minutes (yes, 7 minutes) on high. Do not add water.
  4. Stir through the coriander and cumin seeds.
  5. See the light!