Rice is one of the world’s staple foods eaten by virtually every culture. Asia consumes approximately 500 pounds per person each year! But we’re talking about refined white rice which is considered a cheap filler with very little nutritional density.
Brown rice, on the other hand, is good for you. It is a whole grain, which means that only the outer husks of the kernel have been removed leaving the germ, bran and endosperm in tact. And there is scientific evidence that suggests that whole grains may help combat cancer and heart disease as well as help control blood sugar levels. Plus, it’s full of fiber.
The only negative to making brown rice is that it can take up to 55 minutes to cook. But, it’s so much better for you than white rice and all good things take time. I mean, Rome wasn’t built in a day…
One of the tricks to making a great rice dish is to saute the rice in olive oil or canola oil first. I’m really not sure what it does, but I can tell you that it’s a secret of the Mexican restaurants and they always make a perfectly fluffy rice every time. And it’s what I do now, too.
I love the nutty flavor of brown rice the texture has a great bite to it. But rather than make just plain old brown rice, I am feeling the need to jazz it up a bit, so I’ve decided to make some cilantro rice. Plus, I’ve got some cilantro in the fridge that I need to use, so it’s a great fit.
Cilantro rice lends itself as a side dish for Mexican or other tropical-type entrees, like Cuban or Puerto Rican. Yesterday I made a big pot of pinto beans al estilo Heather and David’s grilling up a gorgeous Edelen Farms grass-fed Porterhouse, which will look great on the plate against the green rice. Oh and I’ve still got a bag of Zamudio Farms’ fresh spinach to wilt.
No matter how you prepare your brown rice or what you serve it with, know it’s a much healthier choice than white rice.
This traditional rice is what you'll find on "dressed up" plates of food in Mexico. White rice is the norm but they bring out the cilantro rice for special occasions. Easy to make and so flavorful, this rice definitely dresses up a meal. The bright color and nutty texture combined with the essence of cilantro is hard to ignore. You could use white rice in place of the brown rice, and cook for 15 minutes.
- 1 1/2 cups cilantro
- 2 cloves garlic peeled
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil or canola oil
- 1/4 cup minced yellow onion or green onion
- 1 cup brown rice
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Combine cilantro and garlic in blender with 2 cups of water and puree until smooth. Set aside.
In a heavy sauce pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat and, when it shimmers, add the onion and cook until softened, about 2 minutes.
Add another 1/2 tablespoon of oil and let it heat thoroughly. Then add the rice and salt and stir to coat. Cook until the rice becomes opaque, about 3-4 minutes.
Puree the cilantro mixture again to mix it all up in case the cilantro and garlic have separated from the water, then carefully pour it into the sauce pan and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce heat to low so rice is at a simmer.
Cover and cook until rice is tender and all the water is absorbed, about 45-55 minutes, or however long indicated on the package. Turn off the heat and let rice rest covered for 5 minutes.
Fluff with a fork and serve.