I wanted to call this ‘red rice’ and then the sound of it made me think of the kid in The Shining (Stanley Kubrik, 1980) saying ‘redrum’. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLjixsUEj5E
I love this kid. Only child, kept himself busy with ghosts, cycled around in an empty hotel…
I still remember the satisfaction of finally knowing what ‘redrum’ meant. Well, it was mixed with dread as this is, after all, a horror film. But once in love with words…
In a gory move, I could have named this dish ‘Redrum rice’. I’ll test the idea around. Let me know.
Truth is, the first time I cooked it, it was red and the second time (see photo below) not so much. This is the problem of my most precise measuring being ‘a pinch’ instead of, say, 2tsp.
I’ll try to be good in the future.
This is an easy dish to make and it should go with some grilled tofu, a good salad with your favorite nuts (roasted pine nuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds…) or black beans (recipe to come) for instance. Or just by itself followed by a good desert with lots of fruit. I have served it, somewhat wildly and just because, with my cannellini bean, kale and cabbage dish as you’ll see (recipe for the latter in the next post).
This is how you start. Gather all the ingredients as follows:
A cup of rice (it could be any kind; I use Basmati because I don’t adore the other kinds of rice but SOMEONE complained and said, somewhat wisely, that it would have been better with wild rice, brown rice or long grain rice, so: your choice)
A small bowl of frozen peas*
1 yellow pepper
2 garlic cloves
5 cherry tomatoes
2 ssp of Paprika at least (I just remembered that I accidentally let the jar slip in my hand… and put an incredible amount of paprika the first time and it was damn good; there ARE some advantages of not measuring ingredients and just tipping a jar until it feels right…)
1 ssp of mild curry powder
Salt & peppa (Push it!)
1 Bay leaf
*Note: frozen vegetables are sometimes fresher and have a better quantity/price ratio than their fresh version. This is true of peas and spinach, for instance. Always use frozen spinach to cook. It’s far cheaper and it contains much more spinach than you could ever gather fresh. (Spinach takes up a lot of space and, conversely, shrinks to a minuscule quantity once it’s cooked.) Use your fresh spinach for salads and sandwiches. On the contrary, if you’ve chopped too many fresh carrots or leeks, or if they’re going bad, freeze them. You’ll be happy to have them when in a hurry and ravenous.
In medium heat, put a spoonful of olive oil and sauté the minced onions and garlic and the chooped yellow pepper.
Add the cherry tomatoes chopped in halves and the frozen peas. Keep the heat to a maximum because the peas will lower the temperature.
Now it’s time to add the paprika and the curry.
After 5mns add the rice. It will seem very little compared to the abundance of vegetables but you’ll see that the latter shrink and the rice gets engorged with water and thus larger.
Now, after mixing it up a bit, add water until it covers the rice and a tad more. It will cook for 10mns more or less. Once the water boils, count 10mns and taste it. If it is undercooked, leave it for 3mns more and try it again. Once it seems almost ok, turn the heat off and cover with the lid for a while. The water will evaporate and the rice will finish cooking.
I forgot to time this – again. But tasting your cooking is always the best way. Experience over theory, empirical knowledge over speculation. And not only in the kitchen!