February 26, 2012

Lemongrass and Coconut Brown Rice

I am not a fan of prepared food.  As busy as I am, I want to cook every part of my meal.  One of the only prepared foods in my pantry is 90 second microwavable rice.  Don't get me wrong, I love rice but I don't have the patience to cook it most nights and it pretty much tastes the same to me (horrible, I know).  Pasta take 12 minutes, couscous takes 5 minutes, and this rice takes 90 seconds.  So why would I waste time on a 45 MINUTE rice?  This is why:

Brown rice cooked in coconut milk has the consistency of risotto with the sweet taste of coconut.  I seasoned my rice with a stalk of lemongrass, an ingredient used in asian cooking that tastes like a slightly spiced lemon.  It can be found in asian markets, but I got mine from a friend in my bocce league.  I used my coconut milk can to bruise the lemongrass enough to tie it into a knot.  Saveur did a great video tutorial of this process here.  The bruising releases the flavor and the knot allows the lemongrass to fit in the pot to infuse into the liquid while the rice is cooking.  I finish the rice with a lime juice and cilantro.  It is a delicious change from plain rice and pairs well with spicy dishes.

In terms of preparing the rice, I used the directions found on the package.  Thus, your cooking times and amounts may change.  To thicken up the rice at the end, I stirred it uncovered for 3-5 minutes.

Lemongrass and Coconut Brown Rice
1 cup long grain brown rice
2 1/2 cups liquid (1 13.5 oz can of coconut milk + water)
1 stalk of lemongrass, bruised and knotted
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
juice of half a lime
salt and pepper

Rinse your rice thoroughly with water prior to use.  To a medium sauce pan, add the rice, coconut milk, water, and lemongrass knot.

Bring to a boil for about 15 second, stir quickly, then cover and reduce the heat to low.  Simmer for 45-50 minutes, until the rice is just done.

Uncover and let sit for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the cilantro and lime juice then season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve up with your favorite spicy dish!  Even though this takes about an hour from start to finish, it is a set and forget kind of side.  Worth it, I promise!

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