This starts out being made like risotto but ends up like regular rice: I sauté onions and garlic in oil, toast the rice, and then add the hot cooking liquid – all of it at once – and then I cover the pot and leave it alone over low heat. And yes, I’ve tried making this without heating up the cooking liquid before adding it to the rice, but it ends up taking more time to cook and the rice comes out more separate.
Yeah, it’s a little more laborious than plain rice, but not that much more so if you do some prep in advance. Besides, it’s way better than plain rice and therefore totally worth the extra effort.
Green Rice (Rice with cilantro and roasted peppers)
1 large poblano pepper
1 small Serrano or Jalapeno pepper
1 cup vegetable broth
2 handfuls cilantro leaves, chopped (I have small hands, this is probably just one large handful for a normal size person, or more like 1/3 cup packed)
½ small white onion, finely chopped (about ¼ cup)
1 large garlic clove, minced
2/3 cup basmati rice
¼ teaspoon salt
1 scallion, finely chopped (dark and light green parts only)
Juice from ¼ lime (about 1 ½ tablespoons)
Roast the poblano and serrano/jalapeno peppers. (I do this by broiling the peppers for 15-20 minutes, flipping them over halfway through. I don’t have a gas stove, but if I did, I would roast them by holding the pepper with tongs and sticking them into the flame.) Put the roasted peppers into a large bowl and seal it tightly with plastic wrap. Let the peppers sit until they are cool, which will take at least 15 minutes. Peel the peppers (don’t run them under water to do this – you will lose a lot of the flavor), remove the seeds, and coarsely chop them. (A few notes: 1) You can do this up to a few days in advance, it will definitely save you a good amount of time when it comes to cooking the rice. 2) If your poblanos are spicy – sometimes they are, sometimes they aren’t – you might want to omit the Serrano/jalapeno pepper. 3) You can just proceed with the recipe with fresh peppers if you’re short on time, but roasting the peppers gives the dish a great depth of flavor and you should definitely do it if you have the time.)
Put the chopped peppers and vegetable broth into a saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Add half the cilantro to the mixture, then puree it either in a blender (make sure you take the center cap out and loosely cover it with a towel when you turn on the blender) or in 2 batches in a narrow container using an immersion blender (be careful that the mixture does not splash up – it will burn, believe me, I know).
Heat the oil in the same saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the rice and cook for 2-3 minutes to toast the rice. Add the hot vegetable broth mixture and salt, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the rice is soft, about 15-18 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Mix in the remaining cilantro, scallion, and lime juice.