Friday, November 8, 2013

Butter & Garlic Seasoned Rice

I love making seasoned rice - pilaf style - where I cook them on slow heat, submerged in loads of water. Prior to drowning them in water, I fry them up with seasonings so the water they drown in is very, very flavorful. The flavor, during slow cooking, sinks into the rice.
It was a rainy fall afternoon today and I cooked up this delicious, buttery, aromatic pilaf to accompany Chicken Jalfezi that I had cooked earlier this week.
The secret to this recipe is Country Crock vegetable spread (used in place of butter) and Market Pantry's Steak Seasoning.


  • Long Grain Basmati Rice, 3 cups, soaked for 1/2 hour
    (used: Long grain, low G.I., Laxmi rice, soaked for 2 hours), soaked for 1/2 hour 
  • Market Pantry Steak Seasoning, 3 tbsp
    (alternate: 1 tbsp each of coarse black pepper, paprika powder, garlic powder)
  • Country Crock vegetable spread, 4 tbsp
    (alternate: butter 4 tbsp)
  • Ginger-Garlic paste, 3 tbsp
    (alternate: 1 tbsp ginger powder, 1 tbsp garlic powder OR 1 tbsp chopped ginger, 1 tbsp chopped garlic)
  • Cumin, 2 tbsp
    (alternate: cumin powder, 1 tsp)
  • Whole red chili pods, 2 crushed
  • Cloves, 5-6 pieces
    (alternate: clove powder, 1/4 tsp)
  • Cinnamon, 1" long stick
    (used: a pinch of cinnamon powder)
  • Green chili, 1 finely chopped
  • Fried onion, 3/4 of a large onion
    (alternate: ready to use fried onions, 1 cup)
  • Salt
  • Vegetable oil (used: Canola), 3/4 cup
  1. In a large cooking pot (the deeper the better) add oil, ginger-garlic paste, crushed red chili pods, Market Pantry Steak Seasoning, cumin, cloves, and cinnamon. Fry until the white ginger-garlic paste turns golden brown. Keep the heat a high-medium to avoid burning.
  2. Drain the rice, add them to the frying contents.
  3. Add Country Crock vegetable spread or butter, chopped green chili, and fried onions. Fry the rice well for a good 2 minutes. The onions will begin to color the rice slightly brown. 
  4. Add water (normal temperature) to the rice, slowly, there is a certain level to be reached in the cooking pot for the pilaf to be cooked properly.
    NOTE: Water level needs to be 2 cm higher than the rice. Make sure the rice are settled evenly to calculate the proper height of water above them. 
  5. Add salt. Give a good stir.
    NOTE: Salt is added in tablespoons. It is always half the number of tablespoons as the cups of Basmati rice used. For 3 cups rice in this case, add 2 tbsp salt.
    For Laxmi low G.I. rice, salt is the same number of tbsp as the rice and half more. In this case it will be 3 1/2 tbsp.
  6. Bring the contents to boil on high heat. As contents begin to boil, reduce heat to a low-medium and cover the pot with a lid. 
  7. PILAF COOKING: Pilaf is cooked on a simmer. The contents should be boiling gently in a covered cooking pot. Do not remove the lid because the steam is required to cook the rice and make them increase in size. Ideally, the pilaf is ready when all the liquid dries up. 
  8. RESCUE INSTRUCTIONS: If the water level above the rice was set perfectly, the water will dry up just in perfect timing for the rice to be done. If; however, the rice is done and there is still liquid, the pilaf needs to be rescued before the rice begin to split and go sticky/mushy. To rescue, uncover and fry contents on high heat. Stir from deep under the pot's base to avoid rice from burning or sticking. 
  9. RICE CHECKING: When the pilaf is ready, a rice grain will be soft enough to break into three parts. It will not be sticky and moist, but oily and strong enough not to become mushy. The rice grains should not stick to one another and form clumps and clusters.
  10. Garnish with chopped green chilies and chopped cilantro leaves.
I recommend a good yogurt dip to go along with this pilaf. I served this as a side dish to a chicken gravy dish.

If chicken is added to this pilaf, it can be a good main dish. It is required to boil the chicken with seasoning and ginger-garlic paste first until one cup chicken stock remains. This stock can be added along with the water to the pilaf. The boiled chicken pieces can be added when rice is being fried with onions and butter and the rest of the spices. 

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