Do you love curries? We definitely do.
Rice has fed more people than any other crop has for thousands of years. The ancient Indian name for rice, Dhanya, means "sustenance for the human race." Especially in much of Asia, life without rice has been unthinkable. Did you know, rice feeds more than half of the world population?
So often in the vegan cooking world, we make some sort of creamy, saucy, spicy, tangy curry dish. May this be the classic red Thai curry, an Indian vegetable vindaloo, a spicy Chana masala or creamy lentil dhal. And Curry's best friend is: Rice.
You might think rice is the simplest thing to cook in the world, but let me tell you, there is a science to this. Here's how to cook a perfect pot of rice on the stovetop every single time:
Ugh, I know, rinsing is annoying, but it gets rid of dusty starches that may result in excess stickiness. Just place your rice in a strainer and rinse under cold water until the water runs clear, this can take a few minutes.
2. RATIO 1:1.5 FOR BASMATI
For most types of rice, you'll use a ratio of 1 cup rice to 1.5 cups water, a little more for brown and wild rice. Double-check your rice packaging to be sure.
3. BRING WATER TO A BOIL
Then stir in rice, coconut oil or butter and salt and watch it until it starts to boil.
4. A STEADY SIMMER
After adding the rice, the temperature of your water will drop significantly, and it'll stop boiling. Let it come back to a gentle simmer.
5. DO NOT TAKE OFF THE LID.
Cover the saucepan and reduce heat to low. Though it will be tempting, keep the lid on! You don't want to mess with the steam. This is very important, do not open the lit!
6. CHECK AT 15 MINUTES
I always set a timer for 15 minutes, knowing that it probably will be perfect, but could need another minute or two. Let the rice be your indicator, not the water. The rice will build little air holes at the top that allow it to steam. Cooking brown rice? Check at 30 minutes.
7. LEAVE IT ALONE!
Turn off the heat, leave on the lid, and let it rest for 10 minutes in the steamy saucepan. Patience is a virtue.
8. FLUFF IT UP.
Use a big fork and gentle fluff, don’t stir like crazy!
In one of our all-time favourite recipe books Fresh India by Meera Sodha, she uses sweet-and-sour tamarind paste to turn plain rice into a show-stealing side. The tamarind is essential here; find it at well-stocked grocery stores and Indian markets
1 1/2 cups uncooked basmati rice
1 tbsp Coconut oil
1 tsp Salt
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
3 tablespoons coconut or canola oil
10 fresh curry leaves
2 red onions, halved and thinly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons tamarind paste
1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Cook your rice according to the instructions above.
Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add sesame seeds and toast, stirring, until golden brown, about 30 seconds. Tip seeds into a small bowl; set aside. Add oil to the pan and, when hot, add curry leaves. When the curry leaves crackle, add the red onions and cumin, and cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft, golden, and sweet, about 15 minutes. Stir in the tamarind paste, salt, black pepper, and cayenne. Remove the pan from the heat.
Using a fork, add rice to the onion mixture. Return pan to heat over medium, and fold rice into onion mixture until fully incorporated and hot, about 5 minutes. Stir in the sesame seeds. Remove from heat and serve immediately.
If you love this recipe and you would like to try another of our favourite rice dishes, check out our Summer Tomato Pilau recipe. Our guests reviews for our food are as complimentary as ever, we are always very grateful for all the kind words we receive from our happy guests in the Austrian Alps.
Happy Vegan cooking!