Basic Dish Spiced Up: Inspired by the Plainness of Rice.

Do you ever find yourself in dire need of something to just charge you up? And not from drugs children, of course not. I don’t mean a high, the kind that takes away your consciousness, type of way. I have those moments where I tell my desk mate at work that I am feeling like I just want to do something different, something epic. Maybe to describe it a little further, it’s a sudden hollow and nudging feeling that overwhelms me, and I feel like there’s much more I am meant to be doing than I am at that particular moment.

It mostly occurs to me when I am seated at my desk, working on something on my computer. Maybe, because that is my comfort zone. There’s something about doing things from the comfort of my desk, I get a lot done for work and for myself and I get a lot of my boxes ticked. But given my disposition, I know there’s more impact I can make when I am out there networking and interacting with people and having conversation with them than I have with my bum planted on my seat. And this feeling is like a thorn that keeps poking at me reminding me that I should be up and about, because that’s outside my comfort zone. That I should not be as comfortable as I am.

It’s not like I usually get an answer that helps me shake off the feeling. I just voice it and then let it slide. But today I chose to write about it. I still don’t have an answer to that feeling, so it remains as that, a feeling, but I hope that one day I will voice it and then know what to do with that exposé.

That aside, it’s been a while since I did a basic dish spiced up post and today, I’ll do rice! Because if I was to think of what food describes me best, it would be rice. I love rice for its plainness, convenience and versatility. That in just a few minutes you can just boil your rice with some little oil and a pinch of salt to taste and it’ll sit white and pretty in the pot and taste really good while at it. Rice has been my go to starch on so many occasions and for so many reason, because it was the best paring, because I was lazy, because it was the quickest to make, because I was craving it, because it was left over or just because it was there. When you make rice so many times, its whiteness can become monotonous even for the people you’re cooking for. And sometimes grown-ups (just like children) need motivation to eat the same thing, and that motivation could just be by spicing it up and adding a pop of color.

Rice

 

 

First, let me make a confession today. I don’t know how to make Pilau. It’s one dish that I would love to learn how to make. I at least know two people who make bomb Pilau, so I should call them up for a cooking date. I never liked it at first because of the whole spices. I once bit into a black pepper seed and I swore that I hated it forever because of how yucky and bitter it was. And that was how I have never bothered to learn how it’s made. But now that I am older and wiser, I think it’ll be a bonus for me when I prepare and cook legit Pilau for my people. Before I call one of the two, are there any willing teachers here?

On weekdays, I ensure that whatever it is I am cooking can be prepared and cooked within an hour (and say 30 mins on top max), so that I can have some time to enjoy being at home. There’s many ways to make your rice, sometimes, I fry it or boil it. Just depends on what I feel. So for this one, I boiled it.

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Rice
  • 2 Cups of Water
  • ½ tbsp of salt
  • ½ tbsp of Pilau masala/Tumeric
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  •  ½ cup of sweet corn
  • 2 Carrots – Grated

Recipe

I put the water in a sufuria/pot and let it boil then put in some coconut oil, salt and Pilau masala/Tumeric to taste to taste. I then added the grated carrots followed by the rice and on medium to high heat let the combination simmer.  When the water had set, I added the sweet corn and mixed it up, then let it simmer completely on very low heat.

You could buy canned sweet corn (which is even more convenient), or sweet corn that’s on the cob then remove it (which is more work for you). Of course you know which one I go for mostly, the former. When the corn is made right it retains its juice and when you chew on it releases all its flavors – God, it tastes so good on rice!

You can add Tumeric if you want that yellow color on your rice. Although I’m not a huge fan of turmeric on rice, I like it white, so I literally use a dollop of it if I need to.

Rice and Pork

For the Pork Chops

I salted the pork chops then pan fried them with Olive Oil for all of 2 minutes on each side first to lock in the juices. I pre-heated the oven for – 2000, got the oven tray ready by covering it with foil paper, and spraying some Olive Oil over it.

I then placed the pork chops on the tray and place it in the oven for about 25 minutes each side. Then I made a glazing sauce in a bowl, using the pork juice, honey, black pepper, Spanish paprika, some ketchup and sweet chili sauce. Brushed the sauce over the pork chops and then let it cook for another 10 minutes for each side. Then the glaze will be used as the soup, sprinkled on the rice. It carries a lot of flavor.

Rice and Chicken

 

For the Pan Fried Chicken

I boiled the chicken thighs (together with some salt and garlic cloves) for about 10 minutes for it to cook. Then put a table spoon of coconut oil in the pan and added some ring-chopped onions and the boiled chicken, sprinkled some black pepper on it and let it fry for about 5-7 minutes on each side until it started browning and was sure the insides were completely cooked, because raw chicken is an absolute no for me.

I’m always make sure that our meals are accompanied by vegetables, it’s not optional. So this can be accompanied by fried spinach or stir fried vegetables – as long as the plate has some green in it.

Also the good thing with rice is that even after some is left over, you can do many things with it, like make some Chinese rice 🙂

Stay Inspired,
Kawi