As you may know, if you know me, I love rice. As a kid, whenever Mom would ask me what I wanted for dinner, the chances are high I'd say "rice." I like more elaborate rice preparations, but I also like rice as a simple accompaniment-- when it's well prepared. (Which often means, well enough salted). I admit, though-- it helps if a little special care has been given its preparation. (See the coconut water rice elsewhere in this collection). So I appreciated this Ottolenghi rice preparation, from "Plenty More." It's subtle-- it's a white 'side rice,' neither a pilaf or a rice salad-- but pretty yummy.
5 short cinnamon sticks, each about 2 inches (I used 2 1/2 longer sticks, broken)
10 whole cloves
shaved rind of 1 lemon
1 T lemon juice
25 fresh curry leaves or 35 dried curry leaves
400 g basmati rice, rinsed, and soaked in water for 15 minutes, then drained well
1/4 c butter or olive oil or a mix
salt and white pepper
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Put the cinnamon sticks, cloves, lemon rind, curry leaves, 1 1/2 t salt, and 1/2 t pepper in a saucepan. Cover with 2 3/4 c water and place over high heat. As soon as the water boils, remove the pan from the heat.
Spread the rice out in a baking dish or roasting pan approximately 9 1/2 x 12 inches (I used an 11 x 13 and it was fine). Cover with the boiled water and aromatics, stir well. Lay a piece of parchment paper over the surface of the water and cover the dish with aluminum foil. Cook in the over for 25 minutes, then remove and leave to sit, covered, for 8-10 minutes.
Just before serving, melt fat in a small saucepan. When melted and/or very hot, carefully add the lemon juice and swirl to mix. Pour over the hot rice and fluff. Serve at once.