Tag Archives: rice

Turkey tortellini in white bowl

Turkey Tortellini is the Perfect Special Occasion Dinner for Two

Thomas Keller’s recipe for pasta dough (from his important 1999 cookbook, The French Laundry) is the first pasta recipe I ever learned and the only one I’ve used since then. The only alteration I’ve made is to use canola oil instead of olive oil — because it’s from the Canadian Prairies. Of course, the turkey tortellini filling and the wild rice are my own Indigenous spins. And since tortellini is so late-1990s, I just had to go with a rich cream sauce!

Turkey tortellini in white bowl

Turkey Tortellini With Creamed Wild Rice

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Rest Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours
Servings: 6

Ingredients:

Pasta
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 large egg
6 large egg yolks
1 ½ tsp canola oil
1 Tbsp milk (2% or 3.25%)

Filling
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 cup diced onion
6 oz / 170 g ground turkey
6 fresh sage leaves, finely minced
1 large egg
¼ cup whipping (35%) cream
¼ tsp salt (or to taste)
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)

Wild Rice
1 ½ cups water
½ cup wild rice, rinsed and drained
½ cup whipping (35%) cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional), for serving

Equipment:

Pasta Roller

Directions:

1. Make the pasta dough: on a clean, non-porous surface or a large wooden cutting board, shape the flour into a mound with a 6-inch crater in the centre. Put the egg and yolks, oil and milk in the centre. Using your fingers, break the yolks and start to swirl the wet ingredients with your fingers, but don’t let the inside of the crater break through the flour sides. As you continue to swirl, the flour will very slowly incorporate into the eggs. Be patient and keep swirling. You can start to use your other hand to shore up the sides and move some of the flour into the egg mixture. As the mixture thickens, the dough will start to become shaggy. Once you can’t swirl any more flour in this way, use a pastry scraper to start to fold the flour into the dough and knead it with the heels of your hands. Keep kneading and incorporating as much flour and parts that have broken off into the main dough ball. This will take a good 10 to 15 minutes. The dough will eventually start to soften and become smooth and elastic. Keep kneading for another 10 minutes. You can’t overdo the kneading.

Related: Easy Stuffed Pasta Recipes That Start With Store-Bought Noodles

2. Form a tight dough ball and wrap it in plastic wrap. Let it rest for 30 minutes to an hour. (You can make the dough the day before and keep it tightly wrapped in the refrigerator. Bring it back to room temperature before you roll it out).

3. Make the filling: heat the oil in a cast iron or heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sautee until they start to turn brown at the edges, about 5 minutes. Add the ground turkey and cook, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon, until it’s cooked through and becomes crumbly in texture, about 5 minutes. Add the minced sage leaves and continue to cook, stirring often, until the mixture becomes fragrant, about 3 minutes. Stir in the egg and the cream and cook just until the filling comes together, about 3 minutes. Season with the salt and pepper.

4. Make the rice: meanwhile, combine the water, a pinch of salt and rice in a pot. Stir well, cover with a lid, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes or until most of the rice kernels have opened fully, showing the white inside. Drain well, cover and set aside.

Related: Romantic Date Night Recipes to Make at Home

5. Make the tortellini: divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Lightly flour a clean work surface or a cutting board. Set your pasta roller to the thickest setting. Flatten a portion of dough into a disc (keep the rest of the dough covered so it doesn’t dry out) and send it through the pasta roller. Repeat, rolling and gradually reducing the setting on the pasta roller to its thinnest setting, until you get the pasta sheet as thin as you can. Place the pasta sheet on a floured surface, cover with a cloth, and repeat with the remaining dough portions.

6. Cut each pasta sheet into 2-inch squares. Place 1 tsp of turkey filling in the centre of each square. With slightly wetted fingers, bring two opposite corners of each filled square together to form a triangle. Press the edges together to seal the tortellini. Then bring two points of the triangle together and press to seal (it should now resemble a tortellini). One point will remain. Repeat with the remaining squares.

7. Fill a large soup pot with 8 to 12 cups of water and salt it generously (about a Tbsp). Bring to a rolling boil. Working in batches so as not to crowd the pan, drop in the tortellini and cook for about 4 minutes, just until the dough is fluffy and cooked all the way through. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl and cover. Set aside and keep warm. If the pasta starts to stick together, gently toss it in a drizzle of oil.

8. Assemble the dish: in a large skillet over medium heat, combine the cooked wild rice and the cream. Cook for about 3 minutes, just to warm through. Add the cooked tortellini and gently toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot with grated Parmesan (if using).

tawaw cookbook coverExcerpted from tawâw Progressive Indigenous Cuisine by Shane M. Chartrand with Jennifer Cockrall-King. Copyright © 2019 Shane Mederic Chartrand and Jennifer Cockrall-King. Reproduced with permission from House of Anansi Press Inc., Toronto. All rights reserved. www.houseofanansi.com


tawâw Progressive Indigenous Cuisine, Amazon, $35.

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Caramelized risotto in white bowl

Make Date Night Extra Special With This Caramelized Onion Risotto

Make date night extra delicious with a risotto inspired by Toronto-based restaurant Maker Pizza’s “Frank’s Best Pizza”. This Dining In risotto is creamy and subtly sweet, and features yummy ingredients like caramelized onions, tangy goat cheese, Parmesan and rosemary, and is finished with a drizzle of honey and sesame seeds. It’s an unexpected flavour combination that you (and whomever you’re trying to impress) will fall in love with.

Caramelized risotto in white bowl

Caramelized Onion Risotto With Goat Cheese and Rosemary

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

4 Tbsp butter, divided
4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
4 medium onions, thinly sliced lengthwise
Pinch of sea salt
6 cups chicken stock
1 ½ cups Arborio rice
1 ½ cups white wine
¼ cup grated Parmesan, plus additional for serving
2 Tbsp goat cheese, plus additional for serving
2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 tsp honey, for serving
2 tsp sesame seeds, for serving

Caramelized risotto ingredients on white countertop

Directions:

1. Heat 2 Tbsp of butter and Tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet or medium pot. Add onions and cook, without stirring, for 3 to 5 minutes, until they begin to brown. Season with salt and stir, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Caramelize for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, stirring every 3 to 5 minutes, until sweet and deep brown in colour. Transfer to a bowl and set the pan aside, leaving any bits of onion in the pan.

Caramelized onions in white ramekin

2. Heat the chicken stock in a saucepan until it just comes to a boil. Lower heat to it’s lowest setting.

3. Using the pan that caramelized the onions, turn to high heat. Add remaining butter and olive oil and once the butter is melted, stir in the rice, frying for 3 to 4 minutes until the edges are translucent. Pour in the wine and constantly stir until absorbed. Add in 1 cup of the hot stock and stir until it is absorbed, then repeat 4 to 5 more times until the rice is al dente.

Risotto cooking in white pot

4. Add half the caramelized onions to the risotto, along with Parmesan, goat cheese and rosemary. Stir until evenly distributed then season with salt.

Related: These Easy Dinner Ideas Will Still Impress Your Tinder Date (We Promise!)

5. To serve, plate risotto and use the back of a fork to make a divot. Top with remaining onions, then sprinkle with additional Parmesan, goat cheese, honey and sesame seeds.

Caramelized risotto in white bowl

Watch the how-to video here:


Like Philip and Mystique’s caramelized onion risotto? Try their eggplant Parm dip or their leftover fried chicken nachos.

Add Colour to Your Plate With Kardea Brown’s Rainbow Rice Pilaf

Spring is right around the corner, and what better way to brighten your table (and your mood) after a long winter than with a wholesome, hearty side dish that boasts plenty of bold colours.

Cranberries, orange bell pepper, parsley, almonds, orzo and long-grain rice simmer together for a vibrant side dish that is as delicious as it is beautiful. So grab your apron and get cooking!

Related: Leftover Grits, Ham & Gruyere Cheese = The Ultimate Fried Snack From Kardea Brown

Kardea Brown’s Rainbow Rice Pilaf

Total Time: 45 minutes
Yields: 6 servings

Ingredients

2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1/2 cup diced celery (from 1 rib)
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
1/2 cup orzo
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp minced fresh thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Related: Kardea Brown’s Pan Fried Collard Greens Are the Garlicky, Bacon-y Vegetable Side Dish of Your Dreams

Directions

1. Heat the oil in a large deep-sided skillet with a lid over medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are just beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and orzo and cook, stirring constantly, until the orzo begins to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, oregano, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes.

2. Stir in the vegetable broth, bring to a simmer and then lower heat and cook, covered, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, for about 10 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork and transfer to a serving dish. Top with the cranberries, almonds and parsley. Serve warm.

Watch Delicious Miss Brown and stream Live and On Demand on the new Global TV App, and on STACKTV. Food Network Canada is also available through all major TV service providers.

Leftover Grits, Ham & Gruyere Cheese = The Ultimate Fried Snack From Kardea Brown

Can a bite-sized fried recipe really be the snack of your dreams? As Kardea Brown proves time and time again with her mouth-watering comfort food on Delicious Miss Brown, the answer is yes with a capital Y.  Ready in 45 minutes, these crispy balls have all the goods thanks to the combo of ham, cheese, paprika, breadcrumbs and leftover cooked grits. It’s the afternoon snack we’ve all been waiting for.

Related: Kardea Brown’s Pan Fried Collard Greens Are the Garlicky, Bacon-y Vegetable Side Dish of Your Dreams

Kardea Brown’s Cheesy Country Ham Grit Balls

Total Time: 45 minutes
Yields: 10 to 12 servings

Ingredients:

Canola oil, for frying
1/2 cup diced country ham
2 1/2 cups leftover cooked grits
1 cup grated smoked Gruyere cheese
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
Kosher salt

Miss Kardea Brown rolls her Cheesy Country Ham Grit Balls with Spicy Mayo in breading, as seen on Delicious Miss Brown, Season 3.

Related: 32 Easy Air Fryer Recipes That Are Simply Delish

Directions:

1. Fill a large Dutch oven two-thirds full with oil and heat over medium-high heat to 360°F.

2. Add 2 tablespoons oil to a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ham and cook just until browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a large bowl. Add the grits and cheese to the bowl and stir until combined. Using wet hands, scoop 1/4 cup of the grit mixture, roll it into a ball and place on a platter or large plate. Repeat until all the grit mixture is used.

3. Whisk together the flour, paprika and cayenne in a shallow bowl. In a separate shallow bowl, add the eggs. Add the panko to another separate shallow bowl. Dip each grit ball into the flour mixture and shake to remove any excess before dipping into the eggs and then into the panko, spinning to coat completely.

4. Add the grit balls to the Dutch oven in batches, frying until brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove to a sheet pan lined with a wire rack and immediately sprinkle with salt.

Looking for a Southern-style finish to your fried snack? Kardea Brown’s Caramel Apple Cake should hit the (sweet) spot.

Watch Delicious Miss Brown and stream Live and On Demand on the new Global TV App, and on STACKTV. Food Network Canada is also available through all major TV service providers.

Watch the how-to recipe video here:


hot dog fried rice in black wok

Your Kiddos Will Not Stop Asking You to Cook This Hot Dog Fried Rice Recipe

It’s pretty much a fact that all kids (and many of us adults) love hot dogs. It’s also a fact that they are devoid of any meaningful nutrition. But alas, they find redemption in this hot dog fried rice recipe, alongside eggs, green beans and tofu. Tofu skeptics: this might just be your gateway tofu dish! This has long since been a family favourite at my house and I think it could be at yours too. (This dish can be enjoyed by everyone from age 3 and up). Be sure to cut hot dogs into small ⅛-inch slices so they’re not choking hazards for very young children. For a gluten-free version of this Kindred Kitchen recipe, opt for gluten-free hot dogs and tamari in place of soy sauce.

hot dog fried rice in skillet with wooden spoon

Hot Dog Fried Rice

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4-5

Ingredients:

6 cups cooked rice (2½ cups uncooked rice), cooled and refrigerated 1-2 days
4 large eggs
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
Kosher salt to taste
High-heat neutral oil
4 hot dogs, thinly sliced to ⅛-inch pieces
1 package (400 g) extra-firm tofu, drained and patted dry, cut into ⅓-inch cubes
1 ½ tsp soy sauce (or tamari for gluten-free), divided
½ lb green beans, stem trimmed and cut into ⅓-inch pieces
2 tsp finely minced ginger
3 tsp finely minced garlic (from 4-5 medium cloves)
3 scallions, finely chopped (reserve a little bit for garnish)

hot dog fried rice ingredients on kitchen counter

Directions:

1. Take cooked rice out from the fridge and break up any clumps of rice thoroughly with your hands. Set aside. Then whisk eggs with sesame oil and a pinch of salt in a small mixing bowl. Set aside.

person fluffing rice in black bowl

2. Prepare all other ingredients. The key to any stir-fry is to not crowd the pan, cooking and seasoning every ingredient separately.

3. Preheat a wok or large heavy-bottomed sauté pan over medium heat. Drizzle oil and add whisked seasoned eggs, moving it around constantly with a spatula until eggs are starting to set. but still quite runny. (They will cook more at the end). Scoop out and set aside.

Related: Easy and Tasty Ways to Use Leftover Rice

4. Turn heat up to medium-high. Drizzle a tiny bit of oil and add sliced hot dogs. Stir-fry until heated through and edges are just starting to brown and even crisp up if you like. Scoop out and set aside, leaving behind any oil that came out of the hot dogs.

5. If needed, drizzle a bit more oil and add the tofu cubes. Stir-fry gently so as not to break them. Let the tofu heat through and get a little brown on the edges. Season with ¾ tsp soy sauce (or tamari) and salt to taste. Cook for 30 seconds, scoop out and set aside.

cooking cubes of tofu in black wok

6. Next, drizzle a bit of oil and stir-fry the cut green beans until tender, but still crisp, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and ¾ tsp soy sauce (or tamari). Again, scoop out and set aside.

7. Heat 2-3 Tbsp of oil and add the minced ginger. Move it around and cook for 5-10 seconds. Add the minced garlic and cook for 5-10 seconds or until the garlic is just turning golden, being careful not to let it burn. Stir in most of the chopped scallions, remembering to reserve some for garnish. Add 1 Tbsp more oil and make sure the oil is heated and quite hot at this point (but before smoking) before adding the chilled cooked rice. Stir everything to distribute everything evenly. Cook until rice is fully heated through.

Related: How to Cook a Perfect Pot of Rice on the Stove

8. Add back the hot dogs, tofu and green beans. Mix well and allow to heat back through for a minute. Finally, add the runny eggs and stir to distribute. Stir-fry another minute to cook eggs fully. Turn heat off and taste. Add salt if needed. Garnish with scallions. Enjoy!

hot dog fried rice in black wok

Like this hot dog fried rice recipe? Try this vegetarian mujadara!

Kardea Brown's Gullah Red Rice

Kardea Brown’s Smoky West African-Inspired Gullah Red Rice

As Kardea Brown shows us time and time again on Delicious Miss Brown, truly crave-worthy comfort food features a few common characteristics: it’s inspired by tradition, it’s simple to prepare and it’s packed with distinctive flavour — just like her colourful, devourable Gullah red rice.

Kardea’s red rice takes a flavourful staple of West African cuisine — jollof rice — and gives it an intensely delicious, sure-fire spin that’s influenced by her Gullah culture and her contemporary cooking style.

At its base, any red rice dish is just as it sounds — it’s rice cooked in some form of tomato, typically with an element of smoked meat added. To help keep her rice from getting soggy, Kardea uses parboiled rice (which has been dried and steamed in its husk). The result? Rich, fluffy red rice that’s so good, there won’t be any leftovers.

Related: Kardea Brown’s Pan Fried Collard Greens Are the Garlicky, Bacon-y Vegetable Side Dish of Your Dreams

Gullah Red Rice

Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 8 to 10

Ingredients:

2 cups uncooked parboiled rice
¼ cup vegetable oil
8 oz smoked pork sausage, finely diced
1 large onion, finely diced
1 bell pepper, finely diced
Two 6-oz cans tomato paste
4 tsp granulated sugar
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp fresh cracked black pepper

Related: The Best Rice Recipes for Dinner, and Even Dessert

Directions:

1. Rinse the rice until the water becomes slightly clear. (This removes the starch).

2. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. In a large frying pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage, onion and pepper and cook, stirring, until the vegetables soften and start to brown at the edges, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, sugar, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Stir rice into the tomato mixture and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.

Related: Skip the Drive-Thru With Kardea Brown’s 30-Minute Fish Fillet Sandwich

3. Transfer to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and spread into an even layer. Add just enough water to cover the rice (about 2 cups). Tightly cover with a lid or foil and bake for 30 minutes without uncovering the baking dish. Turn off the oven, remove the rice, fluff the rice, then cover and return to the oven for 10 minutes more.

Craving a main course that has enough flavour to pair with Kardea’s red rice? Her warm, hearty beef and okra stew is up to the challenge.

Watch Delicious Miss Brown by streaming Live and On Demand on the new Global TV App, and on STACKTV. Food Network Canada is also available through all major TV service providers.


How to Make Traditional Chinese Congee From Scratch

This recipe stems from my mother’s kitchen, where a bubbling pot of congee is a near constant presence, ready to be doled out as a breakfast, family lunch or late-night snack. Forms of congee can be found on tables around the world, from arroz caldo in the Philippines to India’s kanji. Whether you enjoy congee as a creamy porridge or more of a rice soup, it is the ultimate comfort food that doesn’t require any special equipment to make. Although some rice cookers have a congee setting, you can just as easily cook this recipe in a heavy pot. Be sure to get the bottom of the pot when you stir, because as my mother always says: “there’s nothing worse than burnt bits, which are distressing.” Take her advice and spend a lazy Sunday afternoon making this simple, yet restorative fix for your loved ones’ flagging spirits as the cold weather drags on. 

Congee

Traditional Chinese Congee

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
Servings: 10

Ingredients:

1 cup short grain jasmine rice (although there is some leeway in terms of rice choice, there are some outliers — parboiled rice will cook too quickly to achieve the right consistency, wild or brown rice cook more slowly and may be too chewy in the finished product)
10 to 12 cups cold water
1 2-inch knob ginger
7 cups boiling water (to be added as needed)
2 tsp salt
1 to 1.5 cups store-bought or homemade chicken broth
500 grams of pork shoulder or chicken thigh, cut into ¼-inch thick pieces
1 tsp cornstarch
½ tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp rice wine or sake
8 king oyster mushrooms, sliced lengthwise
3 green onions, separated into white and green parts (cut the white parts into larger 2-inch chunks, as they will be cooked, whereas the green parts should be chopped finely, as they’ll be used for garnish)

Note: while this recipe uses chicken broth and slices of pork or chicken, it could easily be made vegetarian or vegan by omitting the eggs and meat and using water, vegetable or mushroom broth.

Congee ingredients

Directions:

1. Rinse rice three times or until water runs clear. Drain rice. Place rice in heavy bottomed large pot and pour cold water over rice.

2. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Stir with a rice paddle, thick spatula or heat-resistant silicone turner.

3. Add ginger. Bring to a simmer and cook for about an hour, topping up with hot water so that it doesn’t boil down. Adjust the heat to keep it just below a rolling boil, but not so high that it boils over (it boils over very fast, so do not leave it unattended). You may need to lower the temperature between the lowest setting and medium.

Related: How to Cook a Perfect Pot of Rice on the Stove

4. At the one-hour mark, the congee will start to thicken and become creamy as the rice begins to break down. Add salt and broth.

5. Marinate the chicken or pork with the cornstarch, sea salt, oil and rice wine or sake. Stir and let sit for 10 minutes to marinate.

6. Continue simmering for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add marinated pork or chicken slices, as well as the king oyster mushrooms and the white parts of the green onions.

Chicken slices

6. Continue simmering for another 30 minutes. Taste and add salt if needed. Serve warm with crispy you tiao (savoury fried crullers) and topped with rousong, pei dan (century eggs) or soft-boiled chicken or duck eggs, thin slices of raw fish, chopped cilantro, green onions or peanuts. Most of these add-ons can be found at Chinese markets.

Like Leslie’s congee? Check out her tips on how to make a soup creamy without dairy and how to make homemade hot sauce.

This Comforting Mujadara Recipe is Our Favourite Way to Cook Rice

Mujadara is a simple and delicious dish of lentils, rice, spices and fried onions. The first-known recipe of this popular Middle Eastern dish can be found in a 13th-century Iraqi cookbook. This vegetarian meal was once considered to be “food of the poor” — as its inexpensive and readily available ingredients can feed many people. It gets its rich, infused flavour by coating the rice in olive oil and spices before cooking it. If you have leftover rice, you can improvise a cheat version of mujadara and fold it in with the lentils and onions at the end. But it’s always best to start with a traditional recipe from scratch before you begin experimenting with shortcuts — so you know how it’s meant to turn out. This recipe is adapted from methods from my favourite Middle Eastern chefs, who bring Israeli, Palestinian, Egyptian and Syrian influences to their recipes. I remember trying mujadara for the first time as a little girl and savouring the crispy onions — and now, when I make it for my own children, they also eat the onions first!

Vegetarian Mujadara

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6 (depending on if it’s a main or side)

Ingredients:

1 cup vegetable oil
3 large or 4 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced as evenly as possible
1 ½ cups water
1 ¼ cups brown or green lentils
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground turmeric
1 cup basmati rice
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sugar (optional)
1 bunch of parsley, picked off the stems and roughly chopped (optional)
1 lemon, quartered for serving
Sea salt and black pepper

Serve this mujadara recipe warm or at room temperature, with a side of plain Greek yogurt or labneh, lemon wedges, parsley and a chopped salad of tomato and cucumber.

Directions:

1. Heat the vegetable oil on medium to high in a heavy-bottom saucepan with a lid or a Dutch oven. Once the oil is hot, add half of the onions. Fry for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions turn a rich golden brown. Some dark bits are fine, that’s where you’ll get the bitterness. If the onions are all the same size, they will cook more evenly. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the onions to a colander or plate lined with a paper towel to absorb the excess oil. (Act fast— the onions crisp up quickly at this stage and it’s in the last seconds where they’ll go from brown to black if you’re not careful). Season with salt. Repeat with second batch and set aside.

2. While the onions are frying, add the lentils to a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until the lentils are soft, but slightly firm in the centre. Drain and set aside.

Related: 25 Healthy Middle Eastern Recipes You’ll Make on Repeat

3. Drain the oil from the saucepan you fried the onions in and wipe it clean. Add the cumin, coriander, turmeric, rice, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to coat the rice with the oil and spices. If you’re adding sugar, now is the time to put it in as well. Bring to a boil before simmering on low heat for 15 minutes. (Be patient and don’t open the lid — you don’t want any of that steam to escape).

4. Remove from heat, take the lid off and immediately cover with a clean tea towel and put the lid back on, sealing tightly. This will allow the mujadara to keep steaming gently. Let rest for about 10 minutes.

5. Transfer the rice and lentils into a large mixing bowl or straight into your serving platter and then gently fold in half the fried onions.
Top with the second half of the fried onions and garnish with parsley.

Like Claire’s vegetarian mujadara? Try her mother’s recipe for seven-vegetable Moroccan couscous.

Kedgeree With Flaked Smoked Trout Will Be Your New Favourite Dish

Kedgeree, an East Indian dish composed of lentils, rice, fried onions, spices and ginger, was promptly adopted (and adapted) by the English in the 18th century and transformed into what is now a popular British breakfast. Here, we’ve swapped the traditional English smoked haddock in favour of tender, flaky smoked trout, and we swear by this recipe for brunch, lunch or any dinner occasion.

The Perfect Kedgeree: Smoked Fish With Rice, Fried Onions and Eggs

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes (includes rice cooling time)
Servings: 4 to 6

Ingredients:

1 cup basmati rice
3 cooked eggs, shelled and quartered (see tip)
3 Tbsp ghee or unsalted butter or vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp minced ginger
1 Tbsp medium curry powder or mild curry powder
1 tsp cumin seeds (or 1 tsp each cumin seeds, kosher salt and turmeric)
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp turmeric
2 ripe tomatoes, quartered, seeded and chopped
½ cup frozen peas, thawed
190g hot smoked trout or salmon, flaked into chunks (1 ½ cups)
3 green onions, thinly sliced
½ cup torn cilantro leaves
lemon wedges (optional)

Directions:

1. Wash the rice in a bowl covered with cold water, swishing with your hand, or until the water runs clear.

Tip: For the fluffiest grains of rice, wash and drain the rice 3x then cover with cold water for 20 minutes or until the grains are pearly white. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and continue with the recipe.

2. Combine rice and two cups water to a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered for 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes; fluff with a fork and spread on a large platter or baking sheet. Let cool.

3. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add butter to melt. Add onions and cook, stirring until almost softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, curry, cumin, salt and turmeric, and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring until softened, 2-3 minutes.

4. Crumble in half of the cooled rice and all the peas. Stir just enough to incorporate the rice; stir in remaining rice, and cook until flavours are combined and just hot. Sprinkle with green onions and cilantro.

Related: I Cooked With 6 Trending Spices to See if They’re Actually Worth the Hype

5. Scrape onto a serving platter and top with quartered eggs and lemon wedges for squeezing (if using).

Tip: To cook eggs, bring a small pot of water to a boil. Using a spoon, gently drop the eggs and cook over a medium boil for 9 minutes. Drain and immerse under cold running water until cool. Remove shells and set aside.

Try these 25 Indian Recipes That Are Even Better Than Takeout or these 20 Healthy Mediterranean Recipes to Bookmark Right Now.

The Trick to Mastering the Best-Ever Instant Pot Crispy Rice

What’s better than a bowl of flawlessly cooked rice? It should be tender yet fluffy with each pearly grain separated and peaked. How to cook the perfect pot of rice is as baffling as there are methods, and yes, it’s easy to mess up, but we’ve mastered the technique with the Instant Pot and added a crispy, crunchy top (arguably the only way to improve rice). Here are the tricks to mastering the glorious crispy crown every time using an Instant Pot.

How to Make The Best Instant Pot Crispy Rice

Ingredients:
2 cups basmati rice (makes 6 cups of cooked rice)
5 Tbsp ghee or unsalted butter, divided (1 ½ Tbsp softened)
1 ¼ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp saffron threads (optional)
3 Tbsp olive oil or neutral oil

1. Wash Don’t Rinse

Wash the rice 3x in a bowl covered with cold water, swishing with your hand or until the water runs clear. Tip the bowl to drain the cloudy water and repeat. Rinsing the rice in a fine-mesh sieve isn’t enough to thoroughly wash away any loose starch, dirt or debris that has accumulated from storage or the field, and it tastes so much better.

2. Good Soak

Place the rice in a bowl and cover with cold water for 20-30 minutes until the grains are pearly white, then strain through a fine-mesh sieve. (Yes, this is when you can rinse through a sieve!) The rice will absorb some of the water, resulting in elongated, perfectly separate grains, and it shortens the cooking time.

3. Prep the Pot

Evenly spread 1 ½ Tbsp of softened ghee on the bottom of the Instant Pot, making sure to cover. Melted ghee will trickle down from the centre of the pot since there is a slope. Softened ghee, on the other hand, will stay in place while preventing the rice from sticking.

Tip: We like using ghee for its golden hue, and it’s a pure fat with a high smoke point. It’s basically unsalted butter with the milk solids removed after separating from the butter fat (a cousin to clarified butter). Learn how to make your own ghee at home.

4. Under Pressure

Add the strained rice to the prepared pot, spreading evenly over top. Sprinkle with salt and 2 cups of cold water. Press the Pressure function and cook on high for 5 minutes. Release the pressure, remove the lid and cover with a kitchen towel. Let rest for 10 minutes.

5. Grind and Bloom

*This step is optional. Skip the grinding if you’re not using saffron.*
Meanwhile, grind saffron in a mortar and pestle or finely rub between fingers and stir into a measuring glass with the olive oil. Melt the remaining ghee, then stir into the oil mixture to allow the saffron to bloom.

6. Poke Poke

Using the end of a wooden spoon, poke the rice to the bottom to make many holes. These holes will be the tunnels for the ghee saffron mixture to reach the bottom and create the signature crispy top.

Drizzle the saffron mixture over the rice, concentrating in the centre (the slope will pool the ghee to the edge of the pot).

7. Crispy Sauté

Remove the kitchen towel and press the Sauté function, and cook until the rice is golden brown and crispy on the bottom, 10-12 minutes. Using an offset spatula or rubber spatula, loosen the edge of rice and lightly pack.

Tip: If you’re afraid of the inverting, scoop the rice onto the centre of the platter, then carefully remove the crispy top and transfer. You won’t have a single piece, but you can hide the cracks with parsley or chopped pistachios or pomegranate seeds.

Using kitchen towels, remove the pot. Place a large platter over top and quickly invert it, so the rice falls onto the platter with the crispy side up. Be patient, you may have to wait up to 30 seconds for the bottom to fall, and you may have to scrape and patch any bits left behind. You did it! Now crunch, crunch and enjoy!

Note: Crispy rice is often called Tahdig (tah-DEEG), the Persian word that translates as “the bottom of the pot” and is the golden, crispy crust coveted by everyone at the table.

Looking for more inspiration? See here for easy and tasty ways to use leftover rice, plus 20+ creative stir-fry recipes and seasonal risotto ideas for spring.

Easy One-Pan Crispy Chicken and Rice, 3 Delicious Ways

A cold-weather favourite, crispy chicken and rice delivers as a complete meal in one. Juicy chicken thighs are seared and then finish cooking in the oven on top of flavour-infused rice. The variations below take notes from cuisines around the world, using what’s fresh, in season or in the pantry. You can choose your own adventure once you get a feel for the formula, substituting what’s available or appealing to you and your family. These cozy recipes can even transmute from busy weeknights to casual entertaining on the weekend.   

One-Pan Chicken and Squash Risotto

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1½ tsp kosher salt, divided
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1 (1½ lb) kabocha, buttercup or butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tsp dried thyme
¼ tsp ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
¾ cup arborio rice
2 ½ cups chicken stock
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
Handful fresh basil, to serve
Handful grated Parmesan, to serve  

Directions: 

1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. In a large high-sided pan (preferably with a lid), heat oil over medium-high heat. Season the skin side of chicken with ½ tsp salt and place in the hot oil skin-side down and sear for 8 to 10 minutes, until chicken releases easily from the pan and skin is golden. Sear on the second side for 2 minutes and then transfer to a plate. 

2. Reduce heat to medium and add squash, thyme, remaining 1 tsp salt and pepper. Sauté for 8 minutes, until squash is beginning to soften, then stir in garlic and cook for another 1 minute. Stir in rice followed by stock and vinegar. Place chicken skin-side up on top of rice mixture; the chicken should be submerged in the broth with the skin visible. 

3. Cover with lid or tight fitting foil and bake for 45 minutes, remove lid or foil and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes to lightly crisp up the chicken skin again and finish cooking the risotto. Garnish with basil and Parmesan, and serve immediately. 

One-Pan Chicken, Rice and Barley with Capers, Olives and Arugula

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Serves: 4


Ingredients: 

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1½ tsp kosher salt, divided
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1 clove garlic
½ cup green olives such as Castelvetrano, pitted and halved
3 Tbsp capers, drained
½ cup pearl barley
½ cup long-grain white rice
2 cups chicken stock
¼ tsp ground black pepper, plus more to serve
1 lemon, halved, divided
2 cups baby arugula 

Directions: 

1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. In a large high-sided pan (preferably with a lid), heat oil over medium-high heat. Season the skin side of chicken with ½ tsp salt and place in the hot oil skin-side down and sear for 8 to 10 minutes, until chicken releases easily from the pan and skin is golden. Sear on the second side for 2 minutes and then transfer to a plate. 

2. Reduce heat to medium and then stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant. Stir in capers and olives followed by remaining 1 tsp salt, barley, rice, broth and pepper. Squeeze over the juice of half of the lemon. Place chicken skin-side up on top of rice mixture; the chicken should be submerged in the broth with the skin visible. 

3. Cover with lid or tight fitting foil and bake for 45 minutes, remove lid or foil and bake for another 5 minutes to lightly crisp up the chicken skin again and finish cooking the grains. Slice the remaining lemon and use to decorate the top of the dish along with arugula and additional black pepper. Serve immediately. 

One-Pan Indian Chicken and Rice with Raisins, Yogurt and Lemon

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients: 

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1½ tsp kosher salt, divided
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1½ tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes, more or less to taste
1 clove garlic
1 cup basmati rice, rinsed and drained
⅓ cup sultana raisins
2 cups chicken broth
1 lemon, halved, divided
1 cup frozen peas
½ cup whole-milk yogurt
Handful cilantro leaves
½ tsp nigella seeds (black onion seeds)  

Directions: 

1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. In a large high-sided pan (preferably with a lid), heat oil over medium-high heat. Season the skin side of chicken with ½ tsp salt and place in the hot oil skin-side down and sear for 8 to 10 minutes, until chicken releases easily from the pan and skin is golden. Sear on the second side for 2 minutes and then transfer to a plate. 

2. Reduce heat to medium and then stir in garam masala, cumin, turmeric and crushed red pepper flakes, stirring for 1 minute, until spices are fragrant and toasted. Stir in garlic followed by rice, raisins and broth. Squeeze over the juice of half of the lemon. Place chicken skin-side up on top of rice mixture; the chicken should be submerged in the broth with the skin visible. 

3. Cover with lid or tight-fitting foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven, remove lid or foil and sprinkle over frozen peas and then transfer back to oven with the lid or foil off. Bake for another 5 minutes to lightly crisp up the chicken skin again and finish cooking the rice and peas. Slice the remaining lemon into wedges and use to decorate the top of the dish. Dollop over yogurt and sprinkle with cilantro and nigella seeds. Serve immediately. 

We have even more comforting one-pot recipes to choose from, plus 15 one-pot chicken dinners ready in 30 minutes or less.

Forget Salt: I Cooked With 6 Trending Spices to See if They’re Actually Worth the Hype

When it comes to food trends these days, there’s a plethora of constantly evolving options to test out, whether you’re heading to your favourite local haunt or whipping up a meal at home.

From za’atar to sumac, spices are essential to many international cuisines – and bringing different blends to your own kitchen can lend a certain authenticity to your dishes and provide more inspiration (not to mention bragging rights if you nail a new recipe).

According to Forbes, the average American home kitchen in 1950 contained only 10 spices, seasonings and extracts on average. Today, that number is more than 40. Considering we’re neighbours, I would imagine that number rings true for Canadians as well.

It speaks volumes as to how far we’ve come in North America when it comes to branching out and trying new foods. Where once we might have expressed reluctance, we’re now at the stage where we’re looking for fresh, healthy and exciting ingredients to add to our favourite recipes, expanding both our horizons and our palates.

Related: 15 Anti-Inflammatory Herbs and Spices

For this experiment of sorts, I kept an open mind. I looked into some of the most popular spices being searched online with the intention of trying them all. Some, such as baharat and asafoetida, proved elusive and difficult to track down while others – *cough* saffron *cough* – would have put a significant dent in my wallet. In the end, I found a solid list of six spices to test out at home.

With the exception of turmeric,  I hadn’t tried any of these trending spices before. And, considering how much I love a meal that quite literally sets my mouth on fire, I didn’t want to leave a world of flavour untapped by missing out.

So, if you’re building a chef-worthy pantry of dried spices, start with these top trendsetters. Here’s why.

1. Shichimi Togarashi

Brief history: This popular Japanese spice medley dates back to the 17th century when it was originally produced as a tasty condiment by herbalists in what is now modern day Tokyo. It’s a seven-spice blend that typically contains ground red chili pepper, sansho powder, roasted orange peel, black sesame seeds, white sesame seeds, ground ginger and nori seaweed. Other variations may substitute certain ingredients for poppy and/or hemp seeds instead.

Health benefits: Clear some space in your spice cabinet because, in addition to its great taste, Shichimi Togarashi packs a hefty nutritional punch. Thanks to its salt-free blend of various ingredients, it contains both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, fibre, calcium, iron, zinc and vitamins A, C and E.

Common uses: Sprinkle this versatile condiment over steamed rice, vegetables, udon noodles, grilled meats and soups or use to season popcorn, crackers, dry rubs or salad dressing.

The dish I made: Rice Bowl with Shichimi Togarashi-Spiced Sesame Chili Oil

Taste: I love spice – it was one of my favourite things about eating my way through Thailand a few years back. So chalk up my complete surprise at the hotness level of Shichimi Togarashi to my arrogance. I dipped my index finger directly into the finely ground blend to better give me an idea of how much to include in the recipe. Granted, I may have ingested too much at once: it was HOT. Since it had more of a kick than anticipated, I opted for a recipe where it was mixed in with a few other ingredients to help temper the level of spice. I wanted something that allowed Shichimi Togarashi to be the star of the dish without overpowering everything else in the bowl. In the end, I chose wisely, because mixing the store-bought blend with minced garlic, finely chopped shallots, slivered roasted peanuts and freshly grated ginger made for one unexpectedly addictive chili oil dressing. When I’m really hungry (which is most of the time), I still find myself thinking about it.

Not sure which additional spices to add to your pantry? Try these must-have kitchen spices.

2. Sumac

Brief history: The vibrant reddish-purple sumac shrub (one of about 35 species of familial flowering plants) is native to the Middle East and parts of Africa, and boasts gorgeous deep red berries that are dried and ground up into a coarse powder. In the past, sumac was commonly used to treat a variety of physical ailments. While the jury is still out on whether it actually worked for medicinal purposes, sumac definitely has plenty of health benefits.

Health benefits: Sumac has a reputation as an antioxidant powerhouse, above even fellow champion spices like oregano and cinnamon. Thanks to its antioxidant properties, it can help prevent heart disease and treat osteoarthritis in addition to lowering blood sugar levels. Sumac, when juiced, is also high in vitamin C.

Common uses: Mixes well with other spice blends, dry rubs, marinades and sprinkled over salads. It pairs best with chicken, fish and vegetables. Thanks to its deep red hue, it also adds a beautiful pop of colour to any dish.

The dish I made: Sheet Pan Sumac Chicken Thighs with Roasted Potatoes and Broccoli

Taste: With its tangy, lemony flavour, I’m convinced sumac can pair nicely with just about any dish. I found it so surprisingly rich in lemon flavour, in fact, that I sprinkled it generously over both the chicken thighs and the roasted potato and broccoli side combo. It was like a mini citrus heaven. Less tart than an actual lemon, it’s a great substitute for those who have a citric acid intolerance like my husband. I can’t count the number of times I’ve tried a new spice or herb in a recipe only to find its flavour gets overpowered by other items on the plate. My next experiment will involve sprinkling sumac over fish to see if it really can provide the same great taste as lemon zest. If so, I’ll never have to worry about being out of lemons again.

Looking for a delicious sumac-flavoured side dish for your dinner main? Try this Grilled Corn on the Cob with Sumac Butter.

3. Za’atar

Brief history: Throughout history, housewives in the Middle East and North Africa concocted their own variations of za’atar. Therefore, much like Shichimi Togarashi, there can be a variety of blends to choose from. In fact, there are so many ways of mixing together all the herbs and spices that make up this popular condiment that a definitive origin mixture has proven illusive to historians and chefs alike. What we do know, however, is that it has been a staple in Arab cuisine since medieval times and only continues to increase in popularity worldwide.

Health benefits: Za’atar contains various properties that can help soothe inflammation, increase energy levels, clear the respiratory tract and can also be added to food as a preventative if you feel a head cold coming on – so keep it in stock during winter’s dreaded cold and flu season.

Common uses: It makes for great seasoning on meat and vegetables or sprinkled over hummus. Za’atar is often eaten with labneh (a drained yogurt that forms a tangy cream cheese) and is sometimes served with bread and olive oil for breakfast in Jordan, Palestine, Israel, Syria and Lebanon.

The dish I made: Za’atar Roasted Tomatoes

Taste: Funnily enough, sumac is usually the star of za’atar blends. Dried sumac often makes up a significant portion of the mixture, along with toasted sesame seeds, thyme, oregano, marjoram and salt. In reading up on it, I’ve come across references to it being called “slightly sour and nutty” in taste, which I didn’t find was the case in my experience. This could be attributed to the fact that there is no “right way” to make za’atar and, while I definitely found it to be nutty in taste (“woodsy” is what I said to my husband), I noticed a hint of lemon (albeit much more herbaceous in taste) which makes sense given the sumac connection.

Za’atar also pairs well with chickpeas, like in this Smoky Chickpeas on Grilled Toast with Poached Eggs and Za’atar recipe.

4. Moringa

Brief history: Earlier this year, I’d gotten into a conversation about moringa with the lovely lady I buy my loose leaf tea from here in Toronto, so I was thrilled to discover it’s trending upward in culinary culture as it gave me an excuse to introduce it in this experiment. Moringa oleifera, also known as a drumstick tree, is native to India, Pakistan and Nepal. It’s fragile leaves are the most popular part of the plant and can be eaten whole in salads or dried and ground up to drink as tea or used in soups, curries and sauces. According to some sources, in developing countries the leaf powder is sometimes used as soap for hand washing.

Health benefits: It’s time for kale and matcha to move over and make room for a new supergreen superstar. Moringa leaves contain significant amounts of vitamins B, C and K, as well as protein and other essential nutrients. Despite being caffeine-free, it’s nature’s natural energy booster. It’s even been likened to a “miracle tree.” According to a study from the US National Library of Medicine, moringa trees have proven to be remarkably drought-resistant, making them a “critical nutritional resource” in areas affected by climate change.

Common uses: Dried into tea leaves, or have the powder sprinkled into yogurts, juices and smoothies.

The dish I made: Moringa Tea

Taste: Although it smells like a peppery version of green tea, don’t let your nose fool you. Despite a slightly bitter taste on the first sip, it reminded me a lot of, well, salad. It’s like plucking the leaf off a tree and dropping it directly into your tea mug. My tea lady sings the praises of moringa, telling me that as a child growing up in India she would often eat the leaves as a midday mini-salad snack.

5. Harissa

Brief history: This Tunisian hot chili spice typically consists of roasted red peppers, serrano peppers, coriander seeds, garlic paste, saffron and olive oil – so it’s definitely only for those who like it hot. Harissa is sometimes referred to as “Tunisia’s main condiment” and it’s the North African country’s biggest export. It’s posited that chili peppers were first introduced to Tunisians during Spanish occupation in the 16th century, so it’s accurate to say the condiment has been a main cuisine staple in the area for ages.

Health benefits: It’s usually made with red chili peppers that are rich in vitamins E, C, K, B6, iron, magnesium and copper, which means it’s high in both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties as well as provides relief from symptoms of rheumatism, osteoarthritis and head colds. In addition, it has been known to boost metabolism.

Common uses:  Traditionally served alongside stews and couscous dishes, harissa can also lend its spicy taste to roasted veggies, salad dressing, dry rubs, hummus or sprinkled on eggs for a fiery breakfast.

The dish I made: Harissa Chicken with Roasted Chickpeas

Taste: Every bite is like fire and garlic, and I loved every minute of it, even as my tongue felt like a flame. Fully aware that this would be considered the spiciest spice on this list – Shichimi Togarashi paled in comparison – I was cautious with how much harissa I sprinkled over my chicken. I kept the roasted chickpeas harissa-free just to give my mouth a break in between bites. I’d recommend using it only if you’re craving a hot dish. But trust me when I say it’s worth the literal sweat that will pour off your brow.

Start enjoying some of harissa’s great health benefits with this Harissa-Marinated Chicken Skewers with Couscous recipe this weekend.

6. Turmeric

Brief history: Bold and beautiful, turmeric is a flowering plant from the ginger family whose roots are used for cooking purposes. A native to India and Southeast Asia, it’s a stunning addition to any dish thanks to its deep orange-yellow colouring. Although many begrudge its innate ability to stain just about anything in its path – farewell, Hudson’s Bay dish cloth – its rich flavour more than makes up for that ruined wooden spoon or your discoloured fingertips.

Health benefits: There are plenty of healthy positives to introducing more turmeric into your diet, although it bears mentioning that it’s the curcumin (the bright yellow chemical produced by the flowering plant) in the turmeric that does all the heavy lifting, and contains significant anti-inflammatory properties and is a rich source of many vitamins and minerals, including lowering the risk of heart disease, potentially helping prevent certain cancers and soothing arthritis pain.

Common uses: Toss it with roasted vegetables, sprinkle it over frittatas, add it to rice, use it in soups, sip it as a tea or blend it in a smoothie. The possibilities are endless, really.

The dish I made: Fast-Grilled Garlic Shrimp with Turmeric Rice

Taste: Despite the fact that it looks like ginger’s identical twin, turmeric tastes nothing like its relative. Its earthy-sweetness is far milder. Some have said they’ve noticed a bitter edge to turmeric, but I didn’t pick up on it even after dousing my rice in it.

Curious about trying it in a drink? Whip up this caffeine-free Turmeric Latte the next time you’re feeling thirsty.

And the winner is …

My biggest takeaway from this assignment is that even for someone like myself who enjoys a variety of spices, herbs and other flavours, I’ve merely scratched the surface as to what is available and how it can be incorporated into my weekly meal planning. If I had to choose a favourite from the six spices I recently tried, my pick would be Shichimi Togarashi for the mere fact that it blended so beautifully with the other ingredients that made up the sesame chili oil. I love a spice that you can clearly taste but doesn’t overpower all the other rich flavours in the dish.

How to cook rice on stove

How to Cook a Perfect Pot of Rice on the Stove

Confession time: Years ago, I received a rice cooker as a gift that I’ve used guiltily only when the gift-giver in question comes for dinner. The rest of the time — whether I’m cooking rice to accompany a hurried weekday dinner or as the base for a leisurely simmered-all-day weekend cooking project — I turn to a trusty pot and a stovetop burner. Want to learn how to cook rice with a no-fuss, no-mess method? Look no further than this recipe that will turn out a pot of fluffy, perfect rice every time.

The perfect pot of rice is easier than you think.

The perfect pot of rice is easier than you think.
Thinkstock

The Right Equipment to Cook Rice

I find up to two cups of uncooked rice will be just fine in a medium-sized saucepan, while anything more is best prepared in a larger pot. Similar to pasta, you’ll be using a boiling liquid as a cooking medium, so make sure you have enough room for bubbles to rise without boiling over. A lid with an adjustable steam vent is nice, but not crucial — you can always prop the lid open with a wooden spoon or pair of chopsticks. The flat wooden paddle found in Chinese or Japanese supermarkets is made specifically for this purpose (and the ones with a straight edge are perfect for stirring the bottom of the pot).

How to Cook Jasmine Rice: A Basic Method

There are as many methods of cooking rice as there are cultures that use it, so keep in mind this is the way that works for me, but it’s not the only one by far: pilafs and pilaus, risottos and biryanis all use different techniques for speciality dishes.

1. Pour your rice into a pot. (Up to one and a half to two small coffee mugs will adequately feed two people). Rinse the rice in cold running water, drain the excess water, then repeat this twice or until the water in the pot is clear when you agitate the rice.
2. Add enough liquid to cover the rice by about an inch. Use a ratio of 2:1.
3. Cover the pot, place it on a burner set to medium-high and bring the water to a boil.
4. Once the liquid boils, lift the lid and give the rice a thorough stir, making sure you get the areas at the bottom. Turn the heat down to low (just above minimum). Keep cooking the rice on low for about 20 to 25 minutes, until the rice is tender, and has lost that wet look.
5. Fluff the rice with the paddle.

This method creates light grains of rice across the top of the pot and a crisped rice crust along the bottom and sides. You can stir those crunchy bits — prized among some cultures — into the rest of the rice for textural variation, or toast and enjoy it later for a snack.

You can vary this basic method to a wide range of rice options:

How to Cook Sushi Rice

I prefer the pleasant fluffiness and slightly sticky texture of short-grain sushi rice, pairing it with everything from spicy stir-fries to a silken stew. Use the above method, reducing the water to a 1:1 ratio. When the rice is cooked, add a tablespoon of seasoned rice vinegar (add two tablespoons if you will be using the rice to make sushi) and a sprinkle of furikaki flakes (a Japanese rice seasoning mix that can consist of sesame seeds, seaweed, dried egg or bonito and other crunchy goodness) to taste.

How to Cook Basmati Rice

For those looking for a little more structure in their grains, long-grain varieties such as basmati, are delicate and slightly perfumed options that retain their slender shape when cooking. Using the method above, reduce the water to a 1:1.5 rice/liquid ratio. Some basmati rice recipes will benefit from a short soaking period for softer rice — a purely optional step.

How to Cook Brown Rice

Brown rice, which can be either short or long grain, adds fibre and whole grain goodness to your diet. Although brown rice generally takes longer than white rice to cook (typically, an additional 15 minutes or more), the simmering time can be minimized with a brief toasting in butter first, which emphasizes the grain’s natural nuttiness. Before beginning the method above, melt four tablespoons of butter or margarine in a  pot on medium-high heat, then stir in the brown rice. Toast for a couple of minutes while stirring, then add the liquid and proceed with the method above.

Rice Flavour Variations

If you’re pairing rice with other dishes, using water is fine. Add creaminess with some coconut milk, use chicken broth to give it a little pep (the concept behind recently trendy Hainanese chicken rice) or use some mushroom stock if you’d like a little umami heartiness.

There it is; simple rice in about 30 minutes, without needing to pull out specialized equipment and without too much fuss. For more ideas on how to cook rice, check out our 16 Best Rice Recipes for Dinner and Dessert.

Chef Michael Smith’s Pro Tips for Perfect Rice, Every Time

It’s often the simplest foods that can be the most challenging to make. Take rice, for instance. The grain is common on dinner tables around the world but often turns out too mushy, underdone or just plain boring. To help, Food Network Canada Chef School’s Michael Smith makes nice with rice as he walks you through how to cook a perfect pot of rice to accompany any meal, plus shows us how it can star as the main course, with his best rice tips, preparation techniques, ratios and recipes.

How to Cook Rice

We asked Michael how long to cook white rice and how much water to use, and he gave us an easy to remember rice cooking rule.

“[The] simplest possible way to cook rice is: to measure out, one cup of rice to two cups of water. Put that in a small pot, bring it to a simmer.  [Add a] touch of salt, bring it to the simmer, turn down the heat to maintain the barest of simmers. Put a lid on it and walk away for 20 minutes.”

Before serving up your perfect rice, Michael offers this rice-cooking trick only chefs know.

“Just let it rest before you take the lid off. Ideally a 10 minute rest before you remove the lid. Then you’re ready to serve. You don’t need to fluff it.”

Varieties of rice, like short-grain brown rice and black rice can take upwards of 50 minutes to 1 hour to cook, but the ratio of water to rice stays the same.

For extra-fluffy, quick-cooking rice varieties that take just 15 minutes to cook up, you can lower the quantity of water to 1½ cups of water to 1 cup of rice, as shown in Michael’s recipe for perfect basmati rice. 


Get the recipe for Michael Smith’s Basmati Rice here.

Rice Cookers vs. Stovetop

You can use a rice cooker or pot on the stovetop to make great rice. Michael adds, “Anything that gets you in the kitchen and cooking real food is fine by me.”

So, whether you love the old-fashioned method or the high-tech approach, fluffy and tender rice is within reach. Michael thinks the Instant Pot (a pressure cooker) for rice is an awesome timesaver. These pressure cookers allow wholegrain rice, like brown rice, red rice and black rice cook faster, making them weeknight-friendly.

Washing Rice vs. Not Washing Rice

Rinsing or washing rice a few times in cold water for varieties like basmati, jasmine and other medium- to long-grain rice helps keep the grains individualized, which leads to a fluffy pot.

Starchier rice, like arborio, most commonly used in risotto and rice pudding, doesn’t need to be rinsed or washed, as the outer starches are important for a creamy dish; the exception to this is short-grain sushi rice and sticky rice, which should be washed before cooking.

Michael Smith’s Top Rice Tips

Overall, the best rice comes with patience. Being sure to properly measure at the beginning with a 2:1 water to rice ratio, no peeking under the lid when it’s cooking and letting the rice rest for 10 minutes before serving, are the top takeaways here.

How to Add Flavour to Plain Rice

Rice is a blank canvas, ready for any flavour you add to it. Whether used as a base for a richly spiced curry or as a standalone fried rice supper, rice can handle spices, seasonings and sauces like a champ.


Get the recipe for Michael Smith’s Golden Rice Pilaf here.

To flavour plain (but perfect) white rice, try cooking it with coconut milk in place of some of the water, along with slivered ginger and garlic. In the same vein, vegetable or chicken stock can be used in place of water to boost flavour. Upon serving, a drizzle of herb-infused butter or chili oil will make your rice really pop. Soy sauce or tamari add an Asian flair to white or brown rice, along with a splash of rice vinegar and sesame oil. While saffron threads, as featured in this recipe from Michael Smith, add earthiness and a beautiful yellow hue. Other ideas to bedazzle your rice include curry powder, Tex-Mex spices, garam masala, Italian seasoning or try cinnamon, cumin and raisins for a Moroccan twist.


Get the recipe for Michael Smith’s Saffron Almond Rice here.


Get the recipe for Michael Smith’s Southwestern Rice here.

You can even turn last night’s risotto into a crispy rice cake or deep-fried delight known as arancini. Risotto itself takes to creamy, bold add-ins well, as showcased in Michael’s bacon and blue cheese risotto recipe.


Get the recipe for Michael Smith’s Apple Pie Brown Rice here.

And don’t be afraid to bulk up your rice with vegetables, fruits (apple pie brown rice, anyone?), beans, cooked proteins, toasted nuts and more. When it comes to rice, how you make it, serve it and dress it up is up to you.

Give your fluffy rice something to hold onto, and serve it up underneath Michael Smith’s recipe for curried, vegetable-filled Golden Aloo Gobi.

Seared Salmon and Crispy Tofu Poke Bowls

The bowl of the moment is most certainly the poke bowl, coming to your kitchen straight from Hawaii.  A spin on the traditional fish salad,  the poke bowl is typically composed of raw ahi tuna, seaweed and rice with a few simple, versatile garnishes. It’s lighter, fresher fare that makes a fun lunch or dinner.

Ahi tuna and sushi-grade salmon is a challenge to come by in regular grocery stores, and specialty markets can be expensive. But, you can make a poke bowl at home that suits your locale and budget by searing some wild salmon, or using vegetarian-friendly tofu. Experiment with the vegetables in this bowl, like avocado and steamed greens, or even some juicy fresh mango.

Enjoy these abundant bowls for a taste of warm Hawaiian sunshine.

Poke-Bowl-5

Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Total Time: 25 Minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

Bowl Components
2 cups cooked short grain brown rice or sticky white rice
1 diced cucumber
1 diced carrot
1 diced cooked or raw beet
1 diced roasted red pepper
1 cup finely shredded kale
1 sheet nori (seaweed)
1 fresh red chili, thinly sliced
Black or white sesame seeds

Dressing
2 Tbsp sweet white miso
2 Tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar
1 Tbsp hoisin sauce
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp sesame oil

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Seared Salmon Poke Bowl
4 oz (per serving) fresh wild salmon (skinned or skinless)
1 tsp black or white sesame seeds
2 tsp coconut oil

Crispy Tofu Poke Bowl
4 oz (per serving) extra-firm tofu, cubed
1 tsp black or white sesame seeds
2 tsp coconut oil

Directions:

Seared Salmon Poke Bowl
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Press sesame seeds into top of salmon. Add oil to hot pan followed by salmon, seed side-down. Sear for 2 to 3 minutes; flip and cook until desired doneness (about 30 seconds to 1 minute for medium-rare). Transfer to a plate. Remove skin from salmon (if it has it) and flake into large pieces. Reserve.

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Crispy Tofu Poke Bowl
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat tofu with sesame seeds. Add oil to hot pan followed by tofu. Sear for 1 to 2 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Transfer to a plate. Reserve.

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Assembly
To large serving bowls, add a mound of rice. Add your vegetables of choice, leaving a space for desired protein. Add salmon or tofu (or both) to bowls, sprinkle with sesame seeds and garnish with chili. Serve warm or chilled drizzled with dressing.

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Looking for more creative takes on sushi? Try making this shareable sushi pizza.

Easy Lentil and Vegetable Curry

Curries are a meatless-Monday staple. They’re quick to make and filling, plus it’s a great way to use up all those vegetables lying around your fridge — we like to call it the “clean out the fridge” curry! It doesn’t sound too glamorous, but it’s definitely delicious. There really are no rules when it comes to what you can add to the pot, all we suggest is starting with some fragrant spices.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 4-6

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Ingredients:
2 cups brown & wild rice mix (or basmati rice)
3 ½ cups water
1 Tbsp vegan butter
3 Tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp garam masala
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger
½ cup onion, finely chopped
6 cups chopped veggies of your choice (red pepper, carrot, cabbage, broccoli, etc.)
1 cup dried red lentils
2 cups vegetable stock
1 can full fat coconut milk
1 cup frozen shelled edamame or peas
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground pepper

Garnish (optional):
Coconut yogurt
Chives, finely chopped

Directions:
1. In a pot bring rice, water, and vegan butter to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer, cover the pot with a lid and cook for 45 minutes.
2. Meanwhile in a large, deep pan heated to medium, add 2 Tbsp of coconut oil and cumin seeds, coriander seeds, turmeric, chili flakes, and garam masala. Toast the spices for 6 minutes until fragrant.
3. Lower the heat so the spices don’t burn and add minced garlic, ginger and onions, and cook for 2-3 minutes stirring frequently until the onions are translucent and soft.
4. Add another Tbsp of coconut oil and all your veggies and cook for 8-10 minutes until they just start to get soft, but are still bright in colour.
5. Add lentils and stir frequently for another 5-6 minutes, allowing the lentils to toast up and absorb some moisture.
6. Bring the heat back up to medium and gradually stir in vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and cover with a lid for 10 minutes.
7. Add coconut milk, lime juice, sea salt, ground pepper and any frozen vegetables you want to add. Stir well to combine. Cover with a lid and cook for another 20 minutes.
8. Serve over rice and garnish with a dollop of coconut yogurt and finely chopped chives.

See more from hot for food on their YouTube channel.

Quick and Easy Kimchi Fried Rice

Kimchi, that gorgeously-pungent, Korean fermented cabbage condiment that’s ridiculously satisfying and so addictive to eat. Thanks to the palate-crushing combo of spicy and sour and just the right amount of crunch, you’ll be looking for ways to add it to just about everything.

In this dish, I take advantage of all that built-in flavour to create a hearty bowl of fried rice that requires almost no added seasonings. With just a few fresh garnishes, leftover rice gets an umami-flavoured adrenaline shot.

Here, I’ve made it two ways. With a sunny egg that’s fried in sesame oil until crispy, and with a quick fry-up of ground chicken infused with garlic and ginger.

kimchi

Ingredients:
3 cups leftover steamed rice (3 cups), or freshly made rice, completely cooled
1 cup chopped kimchi
2-3 Tbsp Korean red pepper paste (gochujang)
3 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 green onion, chopped
1 Tbsp roasted sesame seeds
1 sheet of roasted seaweed, shredded

Directions:
1. In a large non-stick pan or wok, heat vegetable oil. Add the kimchi and stir fry for about one minute.
2. Add rice and gochujang and stir frequently with a wood spoon for 5-8 minutes. Add sesame oil and remove from heat.
3. Top with chopped green onion, seaweed and sesame seeds to taste.

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Kimchi Fried Rice with a Sesame Fried Egg

Ingredients:
4 eggs
2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 green onion, chopped
1 Tbsp roasted sesame seeds
1 sheet of roasted seaweed, shredded

Directions:
1. Heat the oil in a pan and fry eggs one at a time until desired doneness. Remove from heat.
2. Place fried egg over kimchi fried rice and garnish with chopped green onion, seaweed and sesame seeds to taste.

kimchi_chicken

Kimchi Fried Rice with Ginger Chicken

Ingredients:
1 pound ground chicken
3 Tbsp vegetable oil, divided
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
2 shallots, minced

Directions:
1. Place garlic, ginger and shallots with 1 Tbsp vegetable in a blender and mix until chopped but still chunky.
2. Heat remaining oil in a large skillet and fry garlic/ginger mixture until fragrant, about 1 minute.
3. Add ground chicken and cook, breaking up chicken with the back of a wooden spoon and cook until browned, about 12-15 minutes.
4. Add chicken to kimchi fried rice and garnish with chopped green onion, seaweed and sesame seeds to taste.

BonnieMo Bonnie Mo is a Toronto-based editor and the face behind Food Network Canada’s Food Fetish column. She’s also a contributing editor over at slice.ca.

Chicken Curry Fried Rice Ready in Under 20

Chicken_Curry_Fried_Rice

My dad is one of those cooks who looks at an empty fridge, claps his hands and can make a meal from almost nothing. With habitual ease, he pulls from the fridge first, then moves to the cupboard, back to the fridge and then to the spice cabinet. The result is always a delicious meal bursting with bold flavours — my dad isn’t one for delicate tastes.

Chicken curry is his ol’ time classic. He rarely repeats any dish he makes, but his curry is one that we always asked for. I’ve taken the basic gist of my dad’s chicken curry and made it my own by turning it into a fried rice dish. Fried rice is something you throw together on a Sunday night when you want to clean out your fridge. I make a version of it almost every week. Also, it’s super easy to shovel into your mouth while sitting in front of the TV watching True Detective intensely.

This chicken curry fried rice is simple and very flavourful. I use coconut milk to get a really nice creamy texture. If you don’t want to buy a whole can — if you won’t end up using it for anything else — feel free to substitute the coconut milk with some whipping cream (35 percent). This recipe calls for lots of curry powder so make sure it’s a kind that you like! Curry powders are all different. Try to find a nice bright yellow one that is mild on the hot scale. Switch out the string beans for cauliflower or even potatoes! Whatever you got in the fridge will work!

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Makes: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 18 minutes

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 red onion, diced finely
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1lb (454g) boneless skinless chicken thighs or breast, cut into 1/2” strips
4 to 5 tablespoons mild yellow curry powder
1 teaspoon salt
200g green string beans, cut into 1” pieces
3 large eggs
3 cups cooked basmati rice
2/3 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
fresh black pepper, to taste

chopped cilantro
plain yogurt
Sriracha, optional

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Directions:

1. Heat the sesame and canola oil over medium heat in a large wok or skillet.
2. Add the diced red onions and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes until the onions are translucent and have softened.
3. Stir in the garlic and ginger and continue to sauté for a minute or so until fragrant.
4. Add in the strips of chicken along with the curry powder and salt. Toss to combine.
5. Cook for 6 to 7 minutes until the chicken has cooked through make sure to toss every few minutes so the chicken cooks evenly.
6. Stir in the green beans and cook for about a minute.
7. Push the chicken and green beans to the outside of the wok to create a well in the center. Crack the eggs into the center of that well and scramble using a wood spoon.
8. Scramble for about 2 minutes until the eggs have cooked through. Try not to incorporate any of the chicken or green beans.
9. Once the eggs have been cooked, add the rice and coconut milk and mix everything all together. Be sure to thoroughly mix leaving no rice white! The rice should be a beautiful deep yellow.
10. Stir in the peas and continue cooking for a minute or two.
11. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and season with fresh black pepper.
12. Turn the heat off and spoon a good heap of fried rice into each serving dish.
13. Top with chopped cilantro, a good dollop of cooling yogurt and a drizzle of Sriracha. Enjoy!

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100x100_Danielle-Oron Danielle is a chef, bakery owner, and food blogger who thinks she’s Korean, but is actually Israeli. Also, Danielle does not eat like a lady.