Monday, January 14, 2008

Lightened Up Baked Pakistani Rice

Yesterday at my church's pot luck, there was the yummiest curried lentils over rice! It got me thinking about making something curried today. I had also read somewhere online about baking rice and I wanted to try it. That's how this dish was born.

The original recipe for Mattar Palao called for an entire pound of rice, which is a little too much for just the two of us, as well as half a pound of butter! Yikes! So, I lightened it up and tried to keep the same flavors.

It was very delicious, though I'm a little disappointed in the texture of the rice. It really wasn't light and fluffy. I think I'll need to experiment with baking rice some more and report back. Since I was going to have the oven on, I decided to roast eight large portobella mushroom caps, and serve the rice in those. With a nice salad, it was a quick, tasty and filling meal for two!

For the mushrooms:
Preheat oven to 375F.

Clean mushrooms, remove stems and place cap side up on a baking dish.

Give a quick spray of olive oil onto each mushroom, sprinkle with some seasoned salt (I used Soul Seasoning) and place, uncovered, in the bottom rack of the oven while it is preheating. Then start making the rice.

Pakistani Flavored Rice for 2:
1/2 diced onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin seed
pinch powdered cloves
1/8 tsp powdered cinnamon
1/2 tsp chili powder
dash of cayenne
1/2 tsp garam masala (hot or mild)
1 C white long grain rice (Basmati would be best)
2 C water
1 small tomato, seeded and diced
1 C frozen peas or lima beans
2 tsp veggie broth powder
salt and pepper to taste
Pumpkin seeds (pepitos)

Saute the onion and garlic in the oil until translucent. Add the spices and saute, stirring all the time to prevent sticking, until very fragrant. Add in the rice and saute, stirring, until the rice is coated with all the spices and mixed well with the onions. Stir in the water, then add the tomato, peas and broth powder. Stir till well blended together. Bring to a boil on top of the stove. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust. Cover and bake in a 375F oven for 20 minutes. Fluff and serve mounded in the mushroom caps. Sprinkle pumpkin seeds for additional crunch, color and nutrition.

Although this was very delicious in flavor, I think that it could have cooked another five minutes or so. You should also probably let this sit for five minutes before fluffing. All in all, there is no time saving to baking rice, and after one experiment, I prefer the texture of rice steamed on top of the stove. I'll make this recipe again, and I will certainly try baking rice again!


Sorina said...

This looks delicious...I might have to try that soon. Tanks for posting

vicki said...

Interesting article I just read about rice. Baking rice is tricky.
I do it and the outcome is never the same.