Sharing the Bingo Bounty

August 13, 2010

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Scallion Ginger Rice

Scallion Ginger Rice

The Suz is an *avid* Bingo player–usually attending two games a week, sometimes three.  Not church-lady bingo where you play for money…ok, pennies…but bingo for prizes.  Prizes appropriate for her crowd….which could be anything from a new comb to a king size candy bar to the jackpot prize of a $5 gift card for McDonald’s.

That’s right: McDonald’s!  So you can see why she wants to be in-it-to-win-it! *smile*

About a month or so ago there was something a little more exotic on the prize roster—a small herb starter kit.  This one was cilantro.  And yes, you guessed it: The Suz won!  Considering other players went home with the likes of combs and candy bars and gift certificates for french fries, you might imagine she was a bit disappointed to have won something so…healthy.

But Suzy is nothing if not resourceful.  She took that ‘negative’ and quickly turned it into a ‘positive’ – by presenting it to me the next time I came to visit, telling me she had won it for me.  “For your cooking. ”  And that we needed to plant it in the yard so it could start growing.

Way to go Suz!  Way to garner good will…and perhaps get me to offer you a comb or candy bar or trip to Mickey D’s in return! *smile*

So plant it we did…and while it did grow–despite complete neglect–there were only a few stems and leaves ready for harvesting by my next visit.  But Suzy could not be deterred, we needed to use it in that night’s dinner.  And I for one was not going to disappoint The Suz.  I mean, how could I after she was sweet enough to give me such a great prize?

During the “growing period” we had done a bit of research for which recipe(s) we could use our soon-to-be-bountiful cilantro crop…and had come across this recipe for Ginger-Cilantro Rice from Bon Appetit.  Since we didn’t have *quite* the 1 1/3 cups cilantro called for…we made some significant changes to the recipe.  (This also greatly helped with the fact that my mother is one of those people to whom cilantro tastes like soap…but she was going to have eat the dish prepared with Suzy’s special bingo cilantro plant no matter what….so the reduction of cilantro from 1 1/3 cups to 2 tablespoons was, for Mom, a very welcome change.)

Ginger in the Rice

Ginger in the Rice

One of the other major changes was to leave out the minced ginger at the end.  And why—even though we’re using rounds of ginger in the boil *and* still leaving the word ginger in the title, would we do that?  Oh, I’ll tell you why:  it’s because Carolyn “doesn’t like bits of ginger in things.”

Um, what, Carolyn?  You’re CHINESE, for pete’s sake!  That’s like, un-Asian.  It’s like, me–with an Italian mother–taking a stand against tomato sauce.  In other words, completely ridiculous!

But…I always say, people are allowed to like/not like what they will….and though I don’t always *like* it, I do try to accommodate whenever possible….so yes, wonderful, selfless me, let the minced ginger go.  Only a bit begrudgingly.  [Um….Carolyn, I think you owe me a DQ for this.  A *big* one.]

We upped the amount of scallions and made the cilantro the accent (instead of the other way around, as in the original recipe)…upped the garlic (this was a mistake, see note* at the bottom)…left out that ‘distasteful’ minced ginger…decreased the oil…..and all in all ended up with something great.

It *looks* great–the white rice flecked with the little bits of green—and it was delish with that night’s simple roasted chicken.  I could imagine having it with pork or fish or alongside a kabob…ooh, I want to try it with beef-and-vegetable kabobs next…I think that would be spectacular!  But really, the layered, yet fresh, taste of this rice would be welcome most anywhere.  Especially in summer.

So lots of tinkering and the stretching of that precious cilantro left us with a beautiful and delicious and versatile side dish…..

All inspired by one girl’s smart turn around of the unwanted bingo prize.

Scallion Ginger Spice Paste

Scallion Ginger Spice Paste

Based on the Ginger-Cilantro Rice recipe from Bon Appetit June 2010

Scallion-Ginger Rice

1 cup Long-Grain White Rice
2 inch hunk Fresh Ginger, peeled and cut into eight slices
2 cups Chicken Broth (Or one 14 1/2 can of Chicken Broth and 1/3 cup water)
1 Garlic Clove (*resist* the urge to use more, trust me, you’ll regret it if you do.  See Note*)
6 Scallions, sliced
2 TBS Cilantro
1 TBS Canola Oil
1 TBS Sesame Oil
2 teaspoons White Wine Vinegar

Combine rice, ginger, broth and a pinch of salt in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil, stirring often.  Cover and reduce heat to low.  Simmer until rice is cooked and almost all of the broth is absorbed, 15-18 minutes (or according to your rice’s directions.)  I like to have a bit of liquid left when the rice is done–not too much, mind you—but enough to help keep the rice soft and moist while it stands, waiting to be served.

While the rice is cooking, put the garlic clove in a mini-chopper or food processor and give it a blitz.  Add the scallions and cilantro and buzz til nicely chopped.  Add the canola oil, sesame oil and white wine vinegar, and whiz to combine.  Season the scallion paste with salt (or garlic salt) and pepper to taste.

Transfer the rice to a serving bowl.  Discard the ginger slices.  Mix in the scallion paste and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

*Note:  Do NOT do as I did and up the fresh garlic.  Three cloves was *way* too much.  The herbs/garlic/oil aren’t cooked, they’re added at the end, which gives this a nice, fresh flavor….but I wasn’t thinking and the fresh garlic is really exponential once you go past one clove.  Feel free to add Garlic Salt or Powder for more garlic taste,  as I do.

Spice Paste on Ginger Rice

Spice Paste on Ginger Rice

Based on the Ginger-Cilantro Rice  recipe from Bon Appetit  June 2010

Scallion-Ginger Rice

1 cup Long-Grain White Rice
2 inch hunk Fresh Ginger, peeled and cut into eight slices
2 cups Chicken Broth (Or one 14 1/2 can of Chicken Broth and 1/3 cup water)
1 Garlic Clove (*resist* the urge to use more, trust me, you’ll regret it if you do.)
6 Scallions, sliced
2 TBS Cilantro
1 TBS Canola Oil
1 TBS Sesame Oil
2 teaspoons White Wine Vinegar

Combine rice, ginger, broth and a pinch of salt in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil, stirring often.  Cover and reduce heat to low.  Simmer until rice is cooked and almost all of the broth is absorbed, 15-18 minutes (or according to your rice’s directions.)  I like to have a bit of liquid left when the rice is done–not too much, mind you—but enough to help keep the rice soft and moist while it stands, waiting to be served.

While the rice is cooking, put the garlic clove in a mini-chopper or food processor and give it a blitz.  Add the scallions and cilantro and buzz til nicely chopped.  Add the canola oil, sesame oil and white wine vinegar, and whizz to combine.  Season the Scallion Oil with Garlic Salt and Pepper to taste.

Transfer the rice to a serving bowl.  Discard the ginger slices.  Mix in the scallion oil and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

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Filed Under: Recipe, Savory, Sides

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