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Fast and Fancy Middle-Eastern Rice
I made the following rice dish to accompany lamb chops last night. I think it falls into the pilaf category. Even if it doesn't technically fit, though, the results are similar. Please note that I used a rice cooker with a removable aluminum pot. The recipe would change if you were using a different rice-making technique, though not the ingredients. Besides, everyone should have a rice cooker: they save time and stovetop space:
• Coat the bottom of the rice cooker's pot with olive oil and place it on a stovetop burner at the lowest possible setting • Add liberal portions of chopped cilantro and garlic (I used the redoubtable Israeli frozen cubes of each that Trader Joe's sells, in order to save time) • Stir and add crushed red pepper and cumin • Turn off the heat and add the rice you have measured out to the pot • Mix the contents of the pot until the cilantro is evenly distributed and every grain of rice is coated with a sheen of oil • Chop some lightly salted cashews until they are the consistency of the sprinkle topping on an ice-cream sundae • Add the cashew pieces to the pot and mix thoroughly • Add a few handfuls of raisins to the pot and mix them in as well • Add the water you would normally use for that amount of rice (i.e. don't add extra water) or perhaps eve reduce the amount very slightly • Cook the rice in the rice cooker and enjoy the delicious aroma coming from the pot • When the rice is done, spoon it out onto a plate and mix in pieces of crumbled feta to taste • Serve lamb chops over top of the rice with a little mint jelly and perhaps a few pieces of fresh mint as well • Bask in the gustatory goodness
I think this may be my best rice concoction yet. Cashews were an inspired choice, if I do say so myself. Please note that the salt that they and the crumbled feta provide takes the place of any salt you would otherwise add to the dish.