Though the Middle East has many specific regional and national cuisines, one item ties them all together: aromatic spices. Middle Eastern cooking also features many ingredients in common, like pita, honey, sesame seeds, sumac, chickpeas, mint and parsley.
There's nothing mystifying about preparing converted rice, as this recipe will demonstrate. My general rule is to boil the grain with about twice as much liquid for about 10 to 12 minutes, until the water level is about equal to that of the rice and little bubbly holes have appeared. Then I reduce the heat to the lowest level, cover, and simmer until tender.
Converted rice, my choice for most pilafs, has been parboiled or steamed before being milled into white rice. This process drives most of the nutrients into the rice kernel, making it the healthiest of the white rices. The grains remain fluffy and separate during cooking and don't become gummy. Converted rice takes a few minutes longer to cook than other types and requires a bit more water. Unlike some other grains, it need not be set aside after cooking to reach maximum fluffiness.
1-1/2 cups converted rice
2-1/2 cups water
2 tbsp. butter or olive oil
1. Place all ingredient in a nonstick saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir, and let the mixture cook uncovered over medium heat.
2. When the water level is equal to that of the rice, and little bubbly holes have appeared in the rice, cover and reduce the heat. Simmer until done. The total cooking time is about 25 minutes. If the water has evaporated but the rice still seems a bit hard, sprinkle with a few spoonfuls of water and simmer for 5 more minutes.
The Arabian Delights
by Anne Marie Weiss-Armush
$15.00 / paperback
Lowell House, 1994
Recipe reprinted by permission.
from Kate's Global Kitchen
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This page modified January 2007
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