Did I tell you how much I love the simple and satisfying food? This Vietnamese style rice recipe defines simple and satisfying. And gluten free, and vegan, and really delicious, 30 min savoury dish you can enjoy as a side or on its own.
Ever since my interest in garlic sprouted I look out for books dedicated to cooking with this indispensable ingredient and a few weeks ago I bought one called “GARLIC A book of recipes“, by Helen Sudell (available on Amazon). In her book, Helen gathered basic, but essential information and advice about how to deal with garlic, as well as 30 very tempting looking dishes. The one that caught my attention was garlic and ginger rice with coriander.
This simple Vietnamese style rice shaded a new light on a bit forgotten in my kitchen ingredient. Actually, I do make mushroom risotto reasonably often, but this Vietnamese style rice really works best with the long grain rice and not the popular risotto, short or medium grain rice like Arborio, Carnaroli or Vialone Nano.
There are many methods and tips when it comes to cooking rice, which depend on the intended texture of the dish, but mostly they depend on the cook: rinse rice once, rinse until the water is almost clear, don’t rinse at all, the amount of water that the rice cooks in, cooking time, take the lid off versus absolutely don’t take the lid off during cooking, stir, don’t stir, and more. I’ve decided some time ago that risotto rice, for example, unlike rice used for fried rice dishes, should not be rinsed before cooking. In my humble opinion, it is a bit of shooting yourself in a foot if you expect your risotto to be creamy, but rinse the valuable starch off beforehand. I’d always rinse any other rice, especially if I want to make a dryer, Vietnamese style rice.
In the Vietnamese cuisine, rice is a soul of the meal and, if served on the side, it is often steamed and plain or flavoured with ginger, garlic and coriander. These three work well together and add a lovely aroma to simple and plain rice.
With a little addition of turmeric, lovely, sweet peas, and a generous sprinkle of white pepper I adapted Helen’s version and created my own, even healthier and richer version of the Vietnamese style rice. The rice is fried at first and then boiled. The final texture is light, dry and slightly sticky. It is a simple yet tasty dish, which can become a delightful meal on its own or complement other vegetable, delicate fish or white meat dish.
Andrea from Viet World Kitchen, who wrote an interesting article about preparing and cooking the perfect rice, says: “The cooked rice should be soft but not mushy. It should taste clean and sweet and have a wonderful fragrance. Rice is a wonderful canvas upon which you can put other textures and flavors. It should be great on its own (…), but also be ready to play nice with other dishes.”
Despite of some negative comments about Andrea’s method of cooking rice I agree with how she sees the perfectly cooked rice. I guess there are many well working methods to the rice madness!
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- 4 garlic cloves - finely chopped
- 25g fresh root ginger - finely chopped
- 2 tsp ground turmeric
- ¼ cup fresh or frozen peas
- 1 cup (185g) long grain rice, rinsed several times and drained
- 800 ml vegetable stock
- 5 tbsp fresh coriander (cilantro) - finely chopped
- 2-3 tbsp fresh parsley - finely chopped
- 1 tsp fine sea salt (or to taste)
- 1 tsp ground white pepper
- Heat the oil in a deep pan, drop the heat to low and gently fry garlic and ginger for 2 minutes. Sprinkle turmeric over the garlic and ginger and cook all together for another 30 seconds.
- Stir in the rice and allow it to absorb the flavour for 2-3 minutes and get well coated in the fragrant oil.
- Pour in the stock, stir the content of the pan, bring to boil, stir again and then reduce the heat back to low. Cover the pan and let the rice cook slowly for about 15 minutes before adding the peas and half of the coriander. Stir the rice and cook for another 5-7 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed.
- Turn off the heat, gently fluff up the rice, mix in the rest of the coriander and the parsley, cover and leave to infuse for 5 minutes before serving.