About a year ago I bought Discovery of a Continent, Marcus Samuelsson’s cookbook sold at Starbucks. It seemed interesting to me, but I never bothered to cook anything out of it. Until now. I made a lemon-olive chicken with Ras al-Hanout rub served with a side of red rice. I can’t say I’ve ever cooked anything African ever. I rarely even eat it. This has to be the most flavorful thing I have ever made. It makes me realize how often Western cooking is rather staid relying on the same handful of spices, used in the same handful of ways. I loved this meal, especially the rice. But be warned: spicy.
I can’t write out all the recipes because I don’t have that kind of time, but here’s the recipe for the red rice. I can’t recommend it enough.
- 1/2 cup peanut oil
- 1 small red onion, sliced
- 1 jalapeno, fine chop (remove seeds and ribs to lower the heat quotient)
- 2 tsp shrimp powder (no idea where to find such a thing; Samuelsson suggest 1 tbsp of tomato paste in substitution)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 cup short grain rice (I used medium grain to no ill effect)
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 thyme sprigs (you know how I feel about thyme right now)
- 1 cup tomato juice
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup loose pack cilantro, rough chop
1. Heat the peanut oil in a large saucepan over high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the onion and cook until translucent, 5-7 minutes. Add the jalapeno, shrimp powder and garlic and saute for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to low, stir in the tomatoes and chili powder, and cook for 10 minutes, or until the oil separates from the tomatoes.
2. Add the rice and stir to coat. Stir in the salt, thyme, tomato juice and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 mintues.
3. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cilantro. Replace the cover and let sit for 10 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed.