I never feel like people like to cook rice unless of course they are from a country or region where it is a staple. I will say it took me a while to get the hang of it. Even after culinary school, because I didn’t cook rice often, it was a struggle. It seemed like it would either be a gooey mess, or dry and not cooked all the way through. Some recipes seemed to work one time and the next they failed.
It wasn’t until I started to look for a rhyme and reason that it started to get better for me. I stopped buying different brands, types and kinds of rice for regular use and narrowed my selection down to two. I use medium grain brown rice from Lundberg farms in California and a kapika short grain white rice from Japan. For other dishes such as risottos or paella I use carnaroli.
For those not familiar with kapika it is a process where by the rice is polished using the grains themselves to remove the outer husk which also allows for greater water absorption. What I like about the kapika process is you do not need to rinse the rice before it is cooked and it has a stickiness to it that allows you to be able to eat it with chopsticks if you choose. Still there is more to kapika then just chopstick usability, there is the chew. It has, for me, the perfect chew it is tender with a spring.
I cook brown rice using a method that is wildly different from how I cook any other rice. I always parboil it in large quantities of lightly salted water, drain it and cool it much like you might pasta. They I use it in applications like fried rice, casseroles and pilafs.
I usually by larger quantities of white rice then brown. I love brown rice but brown rice can go rancid if left sitting around or because of lower turnover in the store, the rice is already old and needs to be used up before it goes south. It has an acrid smell to it when it is old. White rice like white flour has a longer shelf life.
Obviously brown rice is better for you because it is a whole grain but I am certain white rice is more soothing to my stomach.
For this recipe I could simply enjoy sitting at the table and eating it all on its own. I need no other dish alongside it but if it is going to be a side dish roast chicken is a real good choice as is rabbit.
My absolute favorite condiment for this dish is the gelatinous stock (not the chicken fat) that forms on the bottom of the roast chicken pan. If you have it available stir some of it in to the rice after it has cooked but before serving.
Serves 4 to 6
2 cups kapika rice
2 3/4 cup vegetable broth
1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup shallots, sliced into very thin rounds and separated
peanut or safflower oil
2 teaspoons fresh chives, minced
2 teaspoons parsley, minced
1. Place the rice into a 3 1/2 quart enameled Dutch oven with a heavy lid. Add the vegetable stock and a pinch of salt. Bring the broth to a boil over high heat. Immediately turn down the heat to simmer and put the lid onto the pot (I weight the lid with a two pound weight but that is up to you). Set a timer for 20 minutes.
2. While the timer is running place a 2 quart sauce pan over medium high heat. Add a 1/2 inch worth of oil to the pan. Once the oil is to temperature, you can test this by dropping in a shallot ring it should drop to the bottom then come back to the top all in slow motion, add the shallots. It won’t take long for them to brown so don’t leave the stove. Once they are brown remove them from the pan with a metal slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate and season them with salt and pepper. Set aside.
3. When the rice timer goes of quickly lift the lid and add the peas. Don’t stir them just leave them on top to steam. Cover the pot and set the time for 10 minutes.
4. At the end of ten minutes remove the lid to the pot and with a fork fluff the rice which will also stir in the peas. Bowl up the rice, sprinkle on the herbs and finish it with the shallot garnish. Serve.