Rice is a commonly served side dish in Middle Eastern cuisine and the more aromatic varieties like jasmine and basmati are the most popular. Basmati is a slender, long grain rice that's typically associated with Indian cuisine. The name itself is Hindi for "fragrant." Native to the Indian subcontinent, it's now grown and exported from India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.
Rice cooked in Middle Eastern recipes is most often done as a pilaf. Meaning it's cooked in a stock instead of plain water and usually has added vegetables and/or spices. Typically, onion and garlic are sauteed in olive oil until translucent or even lightly caramelized. The basmati or jasmine rice is then added and sauteed for a few minutes in the mixture. Then various spices and chicken or vegetable stock are added.
This fabulous side dish is full of nutty flavor. The already nutty flavor of the basmati rice is enhanced with some pine nuts to show just how much you can do with rice.
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1/4 cup yellow onion (chopped)
- 1/2 clove garlic (peeled and minced)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- Soak the basmati rice in cold water for approximately two hours prior to preparing the dish. Drain thoroughly.
- In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the minced garlic, pine nuts, and chopped onion. Saute for a few minutes until the onions and garlic are tender.
- Add the rice to the saucepan and mix well. Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and cover. Allow to simmer for approximately 20 minutes, fluff with a fork and serve hot.