My daughter loves rice. Probably inherited that from my side of the family, we definitely are rice eaters. A fact that is certainly due to growing up in a rice production country. Daily used, this grain is a king ingredient in any Lusitanian kitchen and no doubt that Portugal is the biggest consumer in the European Union.
Rice can be used as a side dish for almost any meal or subsist as a main dish by excellence. It is good added in soups, cooked together with vegetables, meat, fish, beans, nuts and dried fruits and even served sweet as a dessert. It is well known the traditional “arroz doce” – sweet rice. Meat eaters would devour a chicken or rooster rice stew and will never get tired of duck rice. The original wild duck rice from the North city of Braga is a good example of a famous Portuguese dish, not to mention the “Arroz de Cabidela” or even “Sarrabulho”, also typical from the Minho region.
And then, there are the salted cod rice and the tomato rice, like this one I did recently. Oh, but if we start talking about rice with fish or shellfish, there are amazing dishes, like rice with shrimp, lobster, crab and I can’t forget my mother’s octopus rice. By the way, my very first food post was featuring nothing less than rice.
Naturally gluten-free, this ancient grain is a great friend of people with gluten-intolerance or celiac disease. Plus, the use of herbs and spices create distinctive increased flavors depending on what is being cooked with the rice. In this particular vegetarian rice, I used turmeric, responsible for that strong yellow color that brings memories from the far East Portuguese colonies and the spice trade during the Portuguese Empire. So, yes we call rice a friend. Thank you Asia for being the place where rice began its delicious culinary journey.
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large sweet onion, chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 large tomatoes, chopped
- 1 cup green peas
- 1 zucchini, chopped in longitudinal little stripes
- 2 cups basmati rice
- 2-3 cups water
- 1 Tbsp herbes de Provence
- handful fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp sea salt
- In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over high heat and add the chopped onion and minced garlic.
- Reduce to medium-high heat and cook until the onion starts to golden, shaking the pan once in a while (this will take about 10 minutes).
- Add the tomato and cook more 5 minutes, to let release the juices, reducing to medium-low heat.
- Add the green peas and shake the pan to coat.
- Add the zucchini, washed and striped in half longitudinal length and then into small stripes and finally in small pieces horizontal (or chopped accordingly to your preference).
- Stir about 2 minutes and add the rice, previously washed.
- Add the water, 2 or 3 cups depending how much water the tomatoes had released.
- You can keep adding water during cook time if needed.
- Season with the herbes de Provence, fresh chopped parsley, turmeric and salt.
- Allow to cook over very low heat about 8 minutes, covered.
- Remove from heat and let it rest for about 5 minutes, covered.
- Serve right away.