March 22, 2011

Lemon-Sesame Rice

I needed a rice dish to go with the wonderful Thai Ribs I made recently, preferably something that also had a Thai feel and flavor to it.  Nothing I could find in my cookbooks or online really quite fit the bill, so I made up one of my own. 

My idea was to make some rice that was strong with sesame flavor, due to roasted sesame seeds and a bit of sesame oil, as well as a bit of lemon undercurrent.  I figured I could get the lemony quality I wanted by mixing in some lemon zest and a bit of lemon juice at the end.  Since I wanted a Thai-flavored dish, jasmine rice was a natural, and after some consideration, I decided cooking the rice with some chunks of ginger and sprinkling the finished rice with a bit of cilantro would round out the dish.

This turned out even better than I'd imagined.   The rice was fragrant and delicious, with a strong roasted-sesame presence and an accent of lemon.  It also looked great, and the sesame seeds provided some nice variety in texture as well.

This one's a keeper.  No doubt about that.

Lemon-Sesame Rice

yield = 4 servings

1/4          cup sesame seeds
1 1/2       jasmine rice
1             one-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into thin discs
1             teaspoon Asian (dark) sesame oil
1/4          teaspoon salt
2 1/2       cups water
1             tablespoon lemon zest
1             tablespoon lemon juice
2             tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Spread sesame seeds evenly across bottom of a small, dry skillet.  Dry-roast the sesame seeds on medium-low heat, stirring often, until they have turned golden brown.  Transfer sesame seeds to a small bowl and set aside.

Add rice, ginger, sesame oil, salt and water to a large saucepan over high heat.  Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low, letting the rice simmer until all the water is absorbed.  This should take about 15 minutes.  Stir the rice once, about halfway through that time, to make sure the flavors blend evenly.  Remove from heat.

Remove and dispose of the ginger discs.   Stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice and sesame seeds.  Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with cilantro.  Serve and enjoy.

Storage Tip:
When preparing leftovers for later, and especially when preparing to freeze them, use a removable marker to label and date the container.   This might seem like a no-brainer, but we used to not take the couple minutes necessary to add this step, and then often we couldn't tell what was in the various containers when we were looking for something to take for lunch.  Dating the container tells you when something is past it's time.

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