Bhutanese Red Rice Pilaf

You can make this ahead and just reheat it with a glob of butter to bring the sheen back to the rice grains. This rice pairs well with chicken stews and vegetable curries and makes a colorful side to a plate of grilled chicken or vegetables. The recipe is adapted from The City Cook: Big City, Small Kitchen. Limitless Ingredients, No Time: 90 Recipes So Delicious You'll Want to Toss Your Takeout Menus by Kate McDonough (Simon & Schuster 2010).

Makes 4 servings

1 cup Bhutanese red rice

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup finely minced yellow onion or shallot

1 1/2 cups chicken stock (homemade or boxed, not from a bouillon cube), at room temperature or warmed

2 small or 1 large sprig fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Rinse the rice with cold water. Drain completely, shaking off any excess water.

In a large (about 3 quart) saucepan or a saute pan with a cover, melt the butter over medium heat until the foam subsides. Add the onion and cook until soft and transparent, 1 to 2 minutes, keeping the heat low so it won't brown.

Add the rice and stir to coat with the melted butter. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, over medium heat. Your goal is to cook the rice for 1 to 2 minutes, not to toast it, but to have the hot butter adhere to the surface of the grains. It's at this point when the rice begins to sound dry and scratchy as you stir it.

Add the warm stock, thyme sprigs and bay leaf. If you're using an unsalted stock, add 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Cover and gently simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes. It's done when all the stock is absorbed and the grains of rice are tender but still chewy. If you want the grains to be softer, add 1/3 cup more stock and cook for a few minutes longer.

Fluff the rice with a fork and remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed.

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