Monday, January 23, 2012

Savory Yellow Rice

I was surprised recently to learn how many people don't know how to make yellow rice from scratch. Not the kind with saffron (that's SOOO expensive) nor the kind using annato seeds (a staple in Caribbean, Cuban, Spanish and Mexican cuisines), but the kind that uses turmeric to give it its deep yellow color and earthy, slightly peppery flavor.

There are tons of recipes for yellow rice available online, so I've been taken aback lately when friends and acquaintances asked me how I made it. Be that as it may, here is one more online recipe for this simple and delicious dish. Really, it's embarrassingly easy.

I don't have a picture to share but what's to see? It's rice; it's yellow. :)

Makes 4 to 6 servings

  • 3/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • Pinch of cinnamon (the secret ingredient)
  • 3 cups water or chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups long grain rice
In a medium saucepan over low heat, heat the turmeric, cumin, and cinnamon until fragrant, stirring constantly, about 30 seconds.

Add the water/broth, salt, pepper and butter and bring to a boil. Add the rice and stir well. Cover and reduce heat to low so it barely simmers. Cook, covered, without stirring until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, without stirring, for 10 minutes. Then fluff it with a fork and serve.

There are a lot of things you can add to this rice once it's ready to serve. Here are a few suggestions:
  • A couple of green onions, sliced thin (including some of the green tops)
  • 1/4 cup sliced toasted almonds (or other nuts of your choice)
  • 1/4 cup diced sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 egg, yolk broken, fried and then broken into tiny bits
  • Diced peppers of whichever kind floats your boat
  • 1 small apple, diced (this is good when added with the sliced nuts)
  • 1/4 cup raisins or craisins
You get the idea.

Besides its use as a side dish, yellow rice is great wrapped in a warm flour tortilla with some sour cream, guacamole or salsa on top. Or let it cool completely and turn it into fried rice. Really, its versatility is unlimited; just use your imagination! And it's very popular at pot luck dinners, because it appears that nearly everyone loves yellow rice. Who'd a thunk it?

Buen provecho!

If you have a favorite recipe for a Mexican or Mexican-inspired dish, I'd love to add it to our recipe box! email (and put "recipe" in the subject box so I'll know what it's about)
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain