Thursday, September 23, 2010

RECIPE - Duo of Red Rice and Minted White Rice

In this recipe the humble grain red rice, which some call a weed, is elevated to stardom by well-known Brazilian chef Mané Young. Mané is chef de cuisine at Casa Jordão restaurant in the mountain resort city of Campos do Jordão, Brazil. Campos do Jordão, if it were in India, would be known as a "hill station"; that is, a resort in the mountains where tourists can go to enjoy a respite from the intense summer heat of the cities in the lowlands. The yearly average daily high temperature in the resort is 20C (68F) and at night the yearly average daily low is 9C (48F). These temperatures are unusual in Brazil, and throughout the year tourists come to Campos do Jordão for a breath of fresh, cool air.

Chef Young is an innovative chef, and has been one of Brazil's strongest proponents of using local and traditional ingredients to create a contemporary Brazilian gastronomy. He has created several dishes combining the formerly-disparaged red rice (arroz-da-terra, arroz vermelho) and other ingredients to lift what might be a pedestrian grain to a best-supporting-side-dish role on his guests plates. This recipe employs red rice and minted white rice to make a dish that has both visual and gustatory appeal.

(As Brazilian red rice is not available outside the country, you can substitute Wehani rice very successfully elsewhere.)

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RECIPE - Duo of Red Rice and Minted White Rice
Serves 4

3 Tbsp. (50 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
4 Tbsp. (50 gr) butter
1/4 medium onion, finely chopped
1 cup long-grain white rice
1 cup red rice
1 cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup green onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup mint, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. creme fraiche
2 Tbsp. whole milk
Salt to taste
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Cook the red rice in 4 cups water by the absorption method. Remove from heat and reserve.

Cook the white rice in 1.5 cups water by the absorption method. Remove from heat and reserve.

In two separate frying pans, heat the olive oil and the butter over medium heat, until the oil is hot and the butter is melted, but not browning or smoking. In the frying pan with olive oil, add the chopped onion and saute until golden brown. Then add the cooked red rice and the milk. Salt to taste, stir to mix, remove from heat and reserve. In the frying pan with butter, add the chopped parsley, green onion and mint and immediatley add the cooked white rice and creme fraiche. Stir and cook very briefly, then remove from heat and reserve.

In a serving bowl or platter, or in a mold, combine the two rices decoratively (see photo for an example). Serve immediately.

Recipe translated and adapted from Gula magazine

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