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04/14/2011

~ Mel's "Jazzed Up" Jasmine Rice w/Pineapple ~

6a0120a8551282970b01538dd79147970b-800wiSometimes in Melanie's Kitchen a recipe gets developed or created because:  while cooking one food item I am presented with some wonderful "leftover" prepped ingredients that I want to find a use for.  This is one of those recipes.  After developing my Thai-Style Turkey Patties w/Grilled Pineapple Bites (a delicious appetizer which I will be posting as soon as grill-weather arrives in Happy Valley), I had some leftover cilantro, green onion, peanuts and pineapple.  I was serving my ~ Honey-Sesame Pork w/Ginger-Garlic Sauce ~ (which can be found in Categories 3 & 13 and is pictured above and below) as the main course that night, to follow my yummy new appetizer. "Jazzing up" the jasmine rice I was steaming in my Zojirushi electric rice steamer (to serve with the pork), using the leftover ingredients and a couple of pantry ingredients, turned a bold experiment into a glorious, new, Thai-style rice side-dish all of its own!

PICT1435 A bit about Jasmine Rice:  Jasmine rice is a polished, long-grain, silky, white rice known for its fragrance, aroma and scent.  It was named after the sweet-smelling jasmine flower of Southeast Asia and as jasmine rice cooks, it releases its perfumy scent.  When properly cooked it is soft, white and fluffy.  Its very distinctive flavor perfectly complements all Asian fare.  

PICT1436 Prior to cooking, it should be rinsed under cold running water.  Place it in a colander and while the water is running, move it around with your fingertips until the water running through it comes out clear.  Set the colander aside and let it drain a bit, about 5-10 minutes, before cooking it.  Leftover, cold jasmine rice also makes fantastic fried rice (a recipe I'll share with you soon), so don't be afraid to steam a little extra!  

Jasmine rice is sometimes compared to Indian basmati rice, which is also a fragrant, long-grain white rice, however, basmati is aged before being sold and has a delicious, nuttier flavor.  While both rices cook the same (using less water than conventional long-grain white rice) and produce fluffy, slightly-chewy grains, I personally do not use them interchangeably.  I prefer to use jasmine rice exclusively when we are eating Asian fare and use basmati rice exclusively when I am serving Indian or Middle Eastern fare.  If you don't cook a lot of Asian food, I suggest you purchase your jasmine rice in a small quantity at the grocery store, as it is at its best if used within 6-8 months after purchasing it. This being said, for a fraction of the price, you can do as I do and purchase the rice in 5- 10- or 20-pound bags at your local Asian market.  No matter what quantity you are are purchasing, be sure that it is authentic and a product of Thailand! 

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6  cups uncooked jasmine rice, rinsed under cold running water and drained

1  13 1/2-ounce can coconut milk, shaken or well-stirred (1 3/4 cup)

2  6-ounce cans pineapple juice (1 1/2 cups)

3 1/4  cups water

2  tablespoons sesame oil

2  tablespoons Golden Mountain seasoning soy sauce or Thai seasoning soy sauce

2  cups very thinly sliced green onion, white and light green part only

2-4  thinly sliced Thai chile peppers, more or less, to taste

4  tablespoons minced, fresh ginger

1  20-ounce can crushed pineapple, in 100% juice with no sugar added

1  cup coarsely chopped, unsalted peanuts, lightly toasted (reserve 1/4 cup for garnish)

1  cup minced, fresh cilantro (reserve 1/2 cup for garnish)

1/2"-3/4"-thick, cored and grilled pineapple slices (optional)

PICT1274 ~ Step 1.  Prep the peanuts as directed, placing them in a small baking pan as you work.  Roast on center rack of preheated 350 degree oven, until lightly toasted and fragrant, 10-15 minutes, stopping to toss with a spoon about every 3-5 minutes.  

Remove from oven and set aside to cool completely, about 25-30 minutes.

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~ Step 2.  Using the cup/measure from the rice steamer, place rice in steamer.  Do not use a standard, Pyrex-type 1-cup measure.  Using the same measuring cup, measure and add the coconut milk, pineapple juice and lastly, water, until 6 1/2 cups of total liquid has been added to the rice. Briefly stir, close the lid and turn the steamer on.  While rice is steaming:

PICT1286 ~ Step 3.  In a 10" skillet, place the sesame oil and soy sauce.  Prep the onion, chile peppers and ginger as directed, placing them in the skillet as you work.  Over medium-high heat, saute, stirring constantly, until the vegetables are slightly cooked through and flavored by the sesame oil and soy sauce, about 1-1 1/2 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside until the rice completes the steaming process. When rice has finished steaming:

PICT1300 ~ Step 4.  Open the lid of the rice steamer.  Using a long-handled spoon, quickly but thoroughly fold/stir in the sauteed vegetable mixture, followed by the crushed pineapple, 3/4 cup of the toasted peanuts and 1/2 cup of the minced cilantro (reserving the remaining peanuts and cilantro for garnishing the finished dish).  

PICT1303This is a closeup picture of the stirred/folded together rice. Transfer the rice to a large serving bowl or platter and garnish with the remaining peanuts and cilantro. Serve immediately.  

To "jazz up" your "Jazzed Up" Jasmine Rice recipe even more, and serve it in individual portions:

PICT1442 ~ Step 5.  Place a 2 1/2"-round x 1 1/4" deep ring mold on top of a 1/2"-3/4"-thick slice of grilled pineapple.

Note:  Pretty much all fruit tastes better when it has been grilled and if you don't have a grill, a grill pan will work just as well.  Grill as many slices as you want, until lovely, golden brown grill marks appear, about 1 1/2-2 minutes per side, depending upon how hot your grill or grill pan is.

Firmly pack warm rice into mold, to the very top and let rest about 30-60 seconds.  Pressing down on the rice with your fingertips, slowly lift the ring mold from the rice.  Garnish each portion with some minced cilantro and chopped peanuts:

PICT1420 Melanie's "Jazzed Up" Jasmine Rice:  Recipe yields 16 cups or enough to accompany a full recipe of my Honey-Sesame Pork w/Garlic-Ginger Sauce, about 1-1 1/2 cups per person.

Special Equipment List:  8" x 8" x 2" baking pan; cutting board; chef's knife; electric rice steamer; 10" skillet, preferably nonstick; long-handled spoon; grill or grill pan (optional); 2 1/2" x 1 1/4"-round ring mold (optional)

Cook's Note:  When I am serving Asian food that requires serving rice as a side-dish, this is usually my first recipe choice.  Everyone just adores it.  Leftovers reheat perfectly in the microwave oven... even the grilled pineapple slices!

PICT0007Extra Cook's Note:  To make plain, steamed jasmine rice in an electric rice steamer:  using the cup/measure from the rice steamer, place desired number of cups of rinsed jasmine rice in the steamer. Add an equal amount of water, or a 1-to-1 ratio of rice-to-water, + 1/2 cup (Example:  6 cups of rice/6 1/2 cups of water).  Briefly stir the rice, close the lid and turn the steamer on.  Do not uncover or stir during the steaming process.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2011) 

Comments

S.M.! Thanks for the nice comment... this is my family's FAVORITE Asian-rice recipe!

Looks yummy and well garnished! Great job!

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