If no one has given me a challenge for a Sunday meal, I am left to find one for myself. I keep track of everyone who has “liked” one of my dishes and—when I have time—I run through their sites looking for inspiration and ideas. One such site is Linda Creation, which introduced me to Goan cuisine.
While I rarely copy the original recipe, what I find gives me a starting point to explore. Looking at what others call the same thing gives me the outline of a dish. Linda’s jeera rice recipe was super simple, others made the dish overly complex. I picked and chose to make something of my own that fit the bill.
With some recipes you steam the rice and then toss it in the toasted spices—restaurant style. Others fry the spices first and then cook the rice in the same pot—like a pulao. For this dish I did both, half cooking the rice in a lot of water—to wash away the surface starch—and then tossing it with the other ingredients, before baking it to tenderness.
Karl’s Goan Jeera Rice
1 Jalapeño (see step 1)
1 cup basmati rice
2 whole star anise
1 inch cinnamon stick, unbroken
1 half inch coin of ginger
2 Tbs. coconut oil (you may use ghee)
1 Tbs. cumin seeds
¾ cup low sodium chicken broth (vegetable broth for Vegan)
salt to taste
1. Starting from the small end of the pepper, slice half of the Jalapeño into rings.
Tip: Reserve the pepper rings for garnish.
2. Remove the seeds and mince the rest of the Jalapeño, reserve for later.
3. Bring three cups of water to a boil in a medium pot and stir in the rice.
4. Add the star anise, cinnamon, and ginger to the pot.
5. Boil the rice for 15 minutes and drain into a large strainer, set aside.
Tip: This first boil removes most of the surface starch, so your grains of rice come out separately, rather than sticking together in a lump.
Note: Discard the star anise, cinnamon, and ginger.
6. Rinse out the pot and add the ghee over medium heat.
7. Add the Jalapeño and sauté for one minute.
8. Add the cumin to the pan and toast until fragrant, another one or two minutes.
9. Add the broth and return the rice to the pot.
Tip: Check the seasoning and add salt if needed.
10. Gently fold the spice into the rice.
Tip: Try not to break or mash the grains of rice while you are mixing then together.
11. Tightly cover the pot and reduce the heat to low.
Tip: Place a clean towel over the pot before you put the lid on. This gives you a tighter seal and absorbs the steam and keeps the moisture from beading on the lid and dropping back onto your rice.
Optional: For a more attractive presentation, transfer the rice mixture to a Pam-ed covered casserole and smooth it out with a spatula. Bake, covered, in a 350º F oven for 10-15 minutes, until all of the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Serve in the casserole.
12. Steam the rice until tender, another 10-15 minutes.
13. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with the Jalapeño rings.