It was 1785 when English poet William Cowper wrote his famous, multi-volume poem, “The Task,” and announced to the world that “Variety’s the spice of life, That gives it all its flavour.” (This quote comes specifically from Book II, “The Timepiece.”) And while no one can argue that variety and diversity may be the spice of life, it is specifically the spice that makes life most memorable.
Even the slightest contact with a rosemary bush and the permeating aroma inspires the possibility of rosemary roasted potatoes or a plump chicken lovingly rubbed with copious amounts of rosemary-lemon-garlic-butter and roasted to perfection.
Turn Up the Turmeric
It’s almost impossible to cook without herbs and spices. Imagine making spaghetti sauce without oregano or basil? Chili without the mandatory hint of cumin? And I can’t even fathom huevos rancheros without an accent of cilantro. Herbs and spices give food an immediate sense of place, build flavor and enhance the nutritional profile without adding excess calories.
Delving into the pungent world of spices, it is likely you know turmeric as the reigning queen. This yellow spice splashes sun-kissed color onto everything it comes into contact with and beckons rays of health and wellness.
The vital ingredient in golden milk, turmeric also plays a starring role in lots of Indian dishes including curry, dal and soups. But what I can’t get enough of is turmeric in rice. Ground or freshly grated, adding turmeric to rice will make you forget about plain white rice forever.
While the color is simply stunning and will brighten even an already sunny day, the soothing flavor reminds us of turmeric’s rich cultural roots spanning thousands of years back to India and connects us to the incredible health benefits.
Calming. Anti-inflammatory. Helps lower cholesterol. Prevent heart disease. Filled with antioxidant properties, curcumin is the healing substance of turmeric that also lends its citrine color.
But don’t just stop at the turmeric the next time you cook rice. Use a combination of coconut milk and water and you’ll swear you’re in the islands. The golden rice with the scent of coconut will melt in your mouth and take you on a well-seasoned culinary adventure that will be yours to savor.
Rice is a staple that needs to be in every kitchen pantry. Whether a batch of chicken (and rice) soup is in order or if the dog gets sick, you can have rice on the table in 20 minutes. Leftover rice can be a vessel for all of the remaining vegetables left in the refrigerator when it is magnificently turned into vegetable fried rice that everyone loves. The addition of turmeric gives this rice a sun-kissed hue while the coconut oil and coconut milk give it just enough richness and flavor to make it unforgettable. Serve with a stir fry, curry or dal or with grilled meat and vegetables. This recipe can easily be doubled to ensure there's plenty for leftovers.
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 cup organic jasmine or basmati white rice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup organic coconut milk combo of solid fat and milk
- 1 cup water
Place saucepan over medium-high heat and add coconut oil so it melts. Once oil is hot, add the rice and stir well to coat the kernels. Continue sauteing the rice for about 3 minutes, stirring as needed so it does not burn. Add the ground turmeric, salt and pepper and continue to stir to coat.
Add the coconut milk and water and bring to a boil.
Once the liquid is boiling, turn down the heat, cover and cook for 15 minutes, or until the water has evaporated. Then turn off the heat and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork and serve.
Refrigerate any leftover rice.