Seasoned rice dishes, embellished with all kinds of tidbits, are popular in rice cultures everywhere. Most Asian varieties are prepared from leftover cold cooked rice that is fried, then seasoned and mixed with other ingredients. The Spanish-style paella probably derives both its name and its preparation from the pilaus and pilafs of India, Persia, and the Middle East. In these, raw rice is sautéed with aromatics, then cooked in seasoned liquids to which other ingredients may be added. This paella is on the Spanish model, although some Asian ingredients make an appearance.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 or 5 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon finely minced gingerroot
1 teaspoon ground annatto (achiote)
1 cup long-grain rice
3 ounces cured chorizo, diced
2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 cups chicken or fish stock
1 tablespoon fish sauce
Several good grinds of black pepper
1/2 to 3/4 pound fresh shrimp,
peeled and deveined
1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
Pimiento-stuffed olives and
sliced hard-boiled egg, for garnish (optional)
1. Heat the oil in a medium, heavy saucepan and sauté the onion, garlic, and gingerroot over moderate heat, stirring, until the onion wilts and the mixture becomes aromatic.
2. Stir in the annatto and mix well, then add the rice and the diced chorizo and cook, stirring, for a few minutes.
3. Add the tomatoes, stock, fish sauce, and black pepper. Mix well, bring to a simmer; then cover and cook over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes.
4. Stir in the shrimp and the peas, then cover and continue to cook over low heat until all the liquid has been absorbed and the shrimp have turned pink, about 5 to 10 minutes.
5. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Spoon the paella into a serving dish or platter and garnish with the olives and hard-boiled egg, if desired.
The Meeting and Mating of
Ethnic Cuisines—from Burma to Texas in 200 Recipes
By Elisabeth Rozin
Viking Press, June 1999
Hardback, 288 pages, $27.50
Recipe Reprinted by permission.
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