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Since there are over 40,000 varieties of rice in the world, one would be hard put to claim that Basmati is one of the very best.  But this long-grained rice from India has many fans–perhaps on account of two of its characteristic features:  an attractive fragrance and the fact that its cooked grains do not stick together.

If there is a sauce somewhere about on the plate to go with it, Basmati is very fine unadorned.  Mixed with bits of browned garlic, butter and parsley, however, the rice is equally good with plain grilled meat or a dish that has little or no sauce to spare for anything but itself….such as the Fried Filet of Sole with Oranges and Fresh Tomatoes it accompanies in one of the diplomatickitchen’s Lunch Menus: Simply Delicious Combinations.

The quantities of butter and garlic in this dish are not negligible… they are, in fact, key attractions.  A little more or less garlic is a matter of taste.  But butter has a reputation.  For years vilified as an enemy to a body’s health, butter has become a guilty pleasure and synthetic and butter ‘flavored’ substances the exemplary substitutes for it. 

In all fairness to butter, a word from a knowledgeable source in its favour would not be out of place.  As organic gardener and one-time head of the Department of Nutrition Education at Columbia University’s Teacher’s College, Joan Gussow advises, “I trust cows more than chemists.”

Parslied Rice with Browned Garlic Butter (for 6 – 8 people)

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 3/4 cups of Basmati rice:  Jasmine Rice or Carolina Rice are somewhat stickier substitutes and if the rice is going to be moulded and then turned out onto plates for serving, the clinging tendency of their grains will not be a disadvantage.
  • 3 and 1/2 cups of water
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 6 Tablespoons of Butter
  • 8 cloves of garlic, minced
  • about 3/4 cup of parsley, measured by putting the parsley in a liquid measuring cup…mince the parsley after measuring it
  • fresh ground salt and pepper for seasoning

Optional Garnish Ingredients:

  • A bottled, roasted red pepper, cut into strips:

  • a couple of Tablespoons of chopped parsley:

Equipment:

  • a pot for cooking the rice:  the photographed rice was cooked in a 2-quart size pot with a lid
  • a large bowl for cooling and drying out the rice
  • a small saucepan for browning the garlic
  • a buttered ovenproof dish of any shape for reheating the rice:  the rice in the photos is reheated in a 1 and 1/2 quart souffle dish
  • Optional:  Two 1/2 cup sized ramekins, custard cups or small bowls for shaping the rice before turning it out onto plates 

1.  Pour the water and rice into the pot and add the salt.  Bring the water and rice to a boil over medium heat.  Then reduce the heat to medium low so that the water simmers gently, cover the pot and cook the rice for 18 minutes.  The rice grains will be tender and separate:

2.  Turn the rice out into a bowl to cool and dry, covered with a cotton towel or napkin:

3.  Preheat the oven to 375 F.  In a small saucepan, melt the butter.  Add the minced garlic and continue cooking over medium heat until the garlic browns.

4.  Add the browned garlic, butter and parsley to the bowl of rice:

5.  Mix them well with the rice and season it with fresh ground black pepper and salt:

6.  Spoon the rice into the ovenproof dish:

7.  Cover the dish with aluminum foil.  The rice may be made in advance and set aside at room temperature.  Shortly before serving, heat the rice in the oven at 375 F for 15 minutes.

Optional Serving Suggestion:

1.  Spoon the rice into a 1/2-cup size ramekin, cup or bowl: 

2.  Press down on the rice with a second ramekin of the same sort to help the rice stick together:

3.  Turn the moulded rice out onto each plate:

4.  Garnish with a twist of roasted red pepper and sprinkle with some more parsley:

Alternatively, for a buffet or an outdoor lunch or dinner, the rice may be served straight from the baking dish:

A Note:  For useful information on different types of rice and how to use them, diplomatickitchen recommends: ricegourmet.com.

A Second Note:  Parslied Rice with Browned Garlic Butter is served with the Main Course of the Lunch MenuSimply Delicious Combinations.

© Elizabeth Laeuchli, the diplomatickitchen, 2011

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