If you were stranded on a desert island and could only bring two spices with you, what would they be?
For me, this answer is simple: smoked Spanish paprika and cumin. The rich color, intense flavor, and incredible fragrance of smoked paprika makes my heart swoon, and the complex acrid flavor of cumin makes me weak in the knees. Without these two spices, my kitchen would seriously suffer. So would my taste buds! They make everything taste good, working wonders on roasted vegetables, meats and poultry, and grain dishes.
My most recent spiced rice dish exhibits my adoration of smoked Spanish paprika and cumin. It also displays my love for the coriander plant, combining both the dry ground seeds and the fresh leaves (a.k.a. cilantro). These herbs and spices enliven simple ingredients and create a wonderfully flavored dish that accentuates any meal.
Spiced grain dishes like this one are a great staple for your weekly meal rotation. They are easy to prepare, affordable, nutritious, and wonderfully satisfying. If you have a rice cooker, making grain dishes is even easier, as you can simply flip the switch, walk away, and return to find perfectly cooked rice. I hardly ever cook rice on the stovetop anymore!
yield: 6 servings
The rich, alluring flavor of smoked Spanish paprika flavors this dish. It is easy to prepare and very delicious, making it the perfect side dish for just about anything. The flavors are especially good with Mexican or Spanish inspired meals, grilled chicken or tilapia flavored with lime juice and chile powder, or Mexican chorizo. For a quick meal, top hot paprika rice with a fried egg - keep the yolk soft for an extra delicious twist - and serve with sauerkraut.
- 1 1/2 cups brown basmati rice
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
- 1 small carrot, peeled and finely chopped
- 6 small garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 3 cups water, broth, or mix (I did half and half)
- 3/4 tsp unrefined salt
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 tsp smoked Spanish paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 2-3 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro, or more to taste
- unrefined salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
- optional garnishes: extra virgin olive oil, chopped cilantro, smoked Spanish paprika
Soak rice in 6 cups of water for 6-12 hours. Drain rice in a fine colander, and discard water. Rinse rice very well. Place rice in a rice cooker with vegetables, broth/water, olive oil, salt, smoked paprika, cumin, and coriander. Stir together, then place cover on rice cooker and cook per manufacturer's recommendation.
If you don't have a rice cooker, do the same thing but place in a pot on the stovetop. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer. Let cook about 45 minutes, until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.
Remove cover and toss rice with a fork. Add fresh cilantro to hot rice and stir, seasoning with salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl, and if desired, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with additional chopped fresh cilantro and a dusting of smoked paprika. Serve.
Store leftovers in a well-sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
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