Cardamon Rice

6 Cups Cooked Rice

There’s nothing more basic or delicious than fragrant white rice, particularly when you toss in a few smashed pods of cardamom. I prefer the fluffy long-grain varieties such as Basmati and jasmine, which are sold in Asian markets. The cooking time varies depending on the rice, so test the rice for doneness and cook until JUST tender. It will continue cooking even after being removed from the heat.

2 cups long-grain rice
3 pods cardamom, smashed with the flat side of a knife
3 1/4 cups water

  1. Put the rice in a bowl and, using your fingers as a rake, rinse the rice under cold running water to remove some of the talc. Drain the rice in a strainer.
  2. Put the rice, water, and smashed cardamom in a heavy, 2-quart saucepan with a lid. Heat, uncovered, to the boiling point. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until the water has evaporated and craters appear on the surface. Remove from the heat and fluff lightly with a fork to separate the grains. Serve, or, if using for fried rice, spread the rice out in a thin layer on a tray. Let cool completely, cover with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator overnight.

© Copyright Nina Simonds 2008

Shrimp-Veggie Fried Rice

Serves 4

1 pound baby shrimp
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
1 medium onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 bunch scallions, white and green parts chopped and reserved separately
3 carrots, grated
4 ribs celery, cut into 1/2-inch dice
6 cups shredded kale, 1/4-inch thick, stems and center ribs removed
5 cups leftover, cooked brown rice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Canola oil

Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat.  Add about 2 tablespoons of oil and swirl to coat the pan. When the oil shimmers, add shrimp, season with salt and pepper and stir-fry just until pink. Remove shrimp to a plate. Add a touch more oil and add the garlic, ginger, onion, scallion whites, carrots, celery and kale and stir-fry until softened, about 2-4 minutes. Add the rice and shrimp and toss thoroughly until heated through. Add the soy sauce and toss. Correct the seasonings and transfer to a platter and garnish with scallion greens. Serve immediately.

copyright 2008 Ming Tsai

Toasted Sesame Green Beans

This is a transcription of “Quick Bites: Toasted Sesame Green Beans,” dated May 13, 2008.

Nina: Hi, this is Nina Simonds from Spices of Life. Today we have some toasted sesame green beans, they’re string beans. And I have about 1.5 lbs. of green beans here. What you want to do, with either your fingers or a knife, is top and tail the beans. Rinse them lightly. Drain them. What we’re going to do is to actually microwave them, or steam them. We’re going to flavor them with a little bit of toasted sesame oil. You do want it toasted so that it’s dark and fragrant. We’re just going to toss the green beans in the sesame oil and water so that it gives it a little bit of flavor. Then, we’re going to them in either a pie plate or some other type of heat-proof dish. We’ll cover them with a little bit of plastic wrap so that they steam in their own juices. These are going to steam in the microwave for 7-8 minutes, and we’re going to sprinkle them with toasted sesame seeds. So there you have it, toasted sesame seed green beans from Spices of Life.

Sauteed Chicken With Cherry Tomatoes

A Great Chicken Dish

This dish is equally good for family or guests. I serve it with steamed rice, but my father loves it over mashed potatoes. A simple salad or vegetable on the side is nice, but not essential.

Six Servings

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts *

4 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped coarsely

6 shallots, peeled and chopped coarsely

1 ½ pounds cherry or grape tomatoes, or 2 pints, rinsed and drained

1 ½ tablespoons dried oregano

¾ cup dry white wine

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  1. Heat a 12-inch skillet, a Dutch oven, or a casserole with a lid, pour in the oil, and heat until quite hot, about 400 degrees. Line the pan with a batch of chicken breasts and fry over high heat until golden brown on one side, about 2 ½ to 3 minutes. Turn over and brown on the other side. Remove with tongs and continue browning the remaining pieces.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium, add the garlic and shallots and sauté until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add the cherry tomatoes, oregano, white wine, salt and pepper to the pan and sauté, uncovered about 4 to 4 ½ minutes, shaking the pan, from time to time. Arrange the chicken in the pan, cover, and cook about 10 to 12 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  3. Scoop the chicken out onto a platter and serve with rice or over mashed potatoes.

*You can substitute boned chicken thighs for the boned breasts. Cook as directed in steps 1 and 2, then add the seared thighs and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until cooked. Serve as directed.

© Copyright Nina Simonds 2008

Disclaimer: Herbs, foods, and other natural remedies are not substitutes for professional medical care.
For a specific health problem, consult a qualified health-care giver for guidance.