Posts tagged: Rice

Perfect Pantry: Grains

This is the first in a series of articles on how to stock the perfect pantry. This post will be updated from time to time to add additional information. Grains typically have long shelf lives, commonly 2-4 years, so stocking up on a variety of grains is a good pantry habit.



Polenta is cornmeal that has been boiled in water. It is widely used as a staple of Italian cuisine. It can be used as is, grilled or fried. Prepared polenta can be found at most grocery stores.



Arborio is an Italian short-grain rice. The rounded grains are firm, creamy, and chewy when cooked. Arborio has a high starch content. It has a starchy taste but blends well with other flavors. It is primarily used to make Risotto.

  • 1 cup rice, 3 cups water, yields 3 cups cooked rice


Basmati is a variety of long grain rice, grown in India and Pakistan notable for its fragrance and delicate, nuanced flavor. India and Pakistan are the largest cultivators and exporters of this rice. The grains of basmati rice are longer than most other types of rice and are available in both white and brown varieties. Cooked grains of Basmati rice are characteristically free flowing rather than sticky, as with most long-grain rice and can be identified by its fragrance.

  • 1 cup rice, 1 3/4 cups water, yields 4 cups cooked rice

Cooking tip: Soak rice in water for 20 minutes before cooking to maximize grain elongation.


Jasmin rice, sometimes known as “Thai fragrant rice”, is a long-grain variety of rice that has a nutty aroma and a subtle and pandan-like flavor. Jasmine rice is originally from Thailand. The grains will cling when cooked, though it is less sticky than other rices.

  • 1 cup rice, 1 1/2 cups water, yields 3 cups cooked rice


Sushi rice is a short-grained, Japanese rice. It is usually cooled to room temperature before being used. Sushi rice has a consistency that differs from long-grain strains such as those from India. The essential quality is its stickiness. Rice that is too sticky has a mushy texture; if not sticky enough, it feels dry.

  • 1 cup rice, 1 1/4 cup water, yields 3 cups cooked rice



Couscous consists of spherical granules made by rolling and shaping moistened semolina wheat and then coating them with finely ground wheat flour. The finished granules are about one millimeter in diameter before cooking. Traditional couscous requires considerable preparation time, therefore, a more-processed, quick-cook couscous is suggested for the pantry. Traditionally couscous is served under a meat or vegetable stew. It can also be eaten alone, plain, flavored, warm or cold.

Tip: Fluffier and Whiter Rice

If you’d like your rice to be fluffier and whiter, add a tsp of lemon juice to every quart of water.

Cajun Shrimp and Rice

This dish was inspired by the dish I cooked on my profile photo shoot. I wanted to make it a little more authentic Cajun style.

Serves: 4


1/2 lb Shrimp peeled, deveined and cut into 1/2 sized pieces
6 oz Boudin (Canjun style if available)
1/2 cup long grain white rice
1 bell pepper coarsely chopped
1 cup coarsely chopped onion
3-4 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon cayenne
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon course ground pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cups chicken broth


Add olive oil, minced garlic, chopped onion and bell pepper to a saute pan over medium to medium high heat. Remove boudin from casing and cut into 1/2 inch slices. Add the boudin to the saute pan with the paprika, cayenne, salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder. Saute for 5 minutes until boudin is well heated. Add rice and cook an additional 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add broth and cook an additional 10 minutes, stirring frequently,  until rice has absorbed the broth. Added shrimp 3-5 shakes of Tabasco and cook 3 minutes more or until shrimp is cooked and has a nice pink shade.


For a main dish, leave shrimp uncut serves 2.

Spicy Vegetable Basmati Rice

Great side for seafood and pork dishes. Spicy but not too spicy for most people.


1 chopped medium green bell pepper
1 chopped medium red bell pepper
1/2 chopped medium red onion
1/2 chopped medium white onion
1-2 chopped Anaheim pepper
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon course ground pepper
1 tablespoon ground cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup Basmati rice
2 teaspoons hot sauce (Tabasco recommended)
2 cups chicken broth


Bayou Blast Center Loin Chops with Spicy Vegetable Basmati Rice

Bayou Blast Center Loin Chops with Spicy Vegetable Basmati Rice

Add peppers, onions dry spices, garlic and olive oil to sauce pan over medium heat. Cook 5 minutes stirring frequently until vegetables are soft.
Add rice and cook for an additional 5 minutes stirring frequently.
Add chicken broth and hot sauce and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook for an additional 20 minutes, stirring once or twice during this time.
Uncover and cook for an additional 8-12 minutes until rice is thoroughly cooked and broth is absorbed or reduced. Fluff with fork and serve.


Most long grain white rices can be substituted for Basmati rice.

Sea Food Trio Paella with Lobster, Scallops and Shrimp

One of my favorite ways to prepare paella. It makes me wish I lived on the coast so I could get the proteins fresh all the time.


2 6 to 8 ounce lobster tails
1/2 pound bay scallops (may substitute colossal scallops)
1 lb shrimp 30-40 count
4 oz Chorizo
2 medium red bell peppers (or 1 large)
2 medium green bell peppers (1 large)
1/2 medium white onion
1/2 medium red onion
3-4 cloves of garlic
1 1/2 cup white basmati rice
10 oz can of diced tomatoes with green chilies
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Italian Flat Leaf Parsley


Peel and devein shrimp.
Seed and devein bell peppers cut into 1/2 inch strips
Chop onions
Mince garlic
Cut lobster tails through the shell crosswise in 1-inch lengths
If using colossal scallops instead of bay scallops, quarter
Mince parsley as needed
Quarter lemon and limes as needed

Cook lobster. Add butter to medium skillet and melt over a medium heat. Add the lobster tail pieces to the pan and cook through, about 6 minutes, turning once. Remove the lobster meat from the shell and roughly chop. This can usually be done when the rice is in the oven.


Sea Food Trio Paella

Sea Food Trio Paella

Preheat oven to 375.

In a large saucepan or paella pan over medium-high heat, heat the oil and add the onion, the garlic, the peppers, the saffron and the chorizo. Cook for 6 minutes or until vegetables are soft and chorizo is browned.

Stir in the rice, tomatoes and tomato paste until well mixed and cook for an additional 6 minutes. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Cover and place the saucepan in the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring once or twice, until rice is fully cooked.

Return the saucepan to the stove top and add the lobster, scallops and shrimp. Steam the seafood for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest for 10 minutes before plating.

Plate with the chopped parsley and a lemon and a lime wedge.


Feeds an army!

The seafood amounts can be adjusted as long as the basic total weight stays close to 2 1/2 lbs.

Image | WordPress Themes