Saturday, May 15, 2010

RECIPE - Jambu Rice (Arroz de Jambu)

Brazilians normally eat rice every day, and enjoy flavoring their rice with onion, garlic, greens, seafood, cheese or other flavoring agents. Perhaps it's the fact that rice is on the place 365 days a year that explains such popular side dishes as rice with broccoli, rice with cheese, rice with shrimps, rice with leeks and innumerable other combinations.

In the state of Pará in northern Brazil rice is combined with the local green called jambu, discussed in the preceding post on Flavors of Brazil, and served as a side dish with meats, fish dishes, poultry, just about anything. The bitter flavor of the jambu and it's anesthetic-tingly effect on the mouth and throat make jambu rice one of the more unique of all Brazilian rice dishes.

It's unlikely that jambu will be found in your local supermarket, and substituting any other ingredient will mean the loss of the physiological effect of this green, but I'm including the recipe because it's an interest one, it's typical of the cuisines of the basin of the Amazon river, and because it can be made very successfully with watercress, which will give the proper bitter taste, the mouth-tingling effect notwithstanding.
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RECIPE - Jambu Rice (Arroz de Jambu)
Serves 4

1 bunch jambu leaves (watercress can be substituted)
3 cups salted, boiling water
1 cup long-grain white rice
1 Tbsp. neutral vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small onion, finely chopped
salt to taste
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Wash the jambu thoroughly, then pull the leaves from the stems and discard the stems. Briefly blanch the jambu leaves in the boiling water, then remove them, reserving the water. Refresh the jambu in a sieve under running cold water. Coarsely chop the jambu, then reserve. In a heavy saucepan with a lid, heat the neutral vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the rice, and stir-fry for a few minutes, or until all grains of rice are coated with oil and are transparent. Add 2 cups of the water in which the jambu was blanched, bring to a boil, cover the pan, and cook over low heat for 20-25 minutes, or until the rice is tender and dry. Remove from heat and leave in covered pan.

Meanwhile, in a large heavy frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Saute the garlic and onion, until just browning, but not burnt. Add the chopped jambu leaves and olive oil, stirring briefly, then add the cooked rice, stirring gently to mix all ingredients together without breaking the grains of rice.

Serve immediately.

Recipe adapted and translated from Cozinha Regional Brazileira by Abril Editora.

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