A West African vermicelli and rice recipe stirs up Rice-A-Roni recollections
Energetic time:15 min
Whole time:35 min
Servings:4 to six
Kacouchia talks about how the dish was a favourite of hers rising up in Ivory Coast in West Africa and says she added spinach to the rice-vermicelli combine when she began making it for herself.
I’m going to warn you, the connection could appear tenuous, however right here is the place her story instantly took me:
After I was in highschool, my mother began working outdoors the house. Because the oldest of three children, I used to be tasked with cooking dinner for my siblings a couple of nights every week. No less than as soon as every week, that meant I made what turned my specialty: rooster with barbecue-flavored Shake ’n Bake with sides of canned spinach (doused in vinegar) and a box of Rice-A-Roni.
In case you’re not conversant in Rice-A-Roni — properly, I’m fairly shocked as a result of I thought of it one of many main meals teams till I used to be about 20, however right here’s a primer: It’s rice with damaged vermicelli in it. You saute them for a pair minutes till the pasta browns, then add a seasoning packet and water to cook dinner it. Fairly easy.
The nights I made that meal, I at all times thought the rooster was advantageous, however I beloved the rice, and I used to combine the spinach into it on my plate. I knew just about nothing about cooking or the cuisines of assorted cultures, however I at all times favored how the feel of the pasta was slightly totally different than that of the rice, after which how the spinach added a distinct dimension to the pairing.
I can’t bear in mind the final time I purchased a can of spinach, a lot much less a field of Rice-A-Roni, however studying this recipe put the style of that mixture in my mind in a method that left just one choice: I needed to make it.
You may guess the place that is heading. It was terrific. Kacouchia, who writes that the dish she loved as a toddler originated in Lebanon earlier than being adopted via West Africa, doesn’t name for browning the vermicelli, so I tamped down my impulse to try this. Curry powder and ginger add persona to the broth, and wilting the contemporary spinach into the rice codifies the non-public choice I developed a long time in the past.
The cashews fill the protein function from the rooster in a method that makes a variety of sense for the way in which I prefer to cook dinner currently. I haven’t completed it but, however I’ve even thought of embellishing the roasted nuts with a dry barbecue seasoning, and possibly hitting the ultimate dish with a touch of vinegar, barely bending Kacouchia’s reminiscence simply sufficient to fulfill my very own.
Possibly I’ll do this someday when my brother and sister come over for dinner.
Joe Yonan will return in Could.
Vermicelli Rice With Spinach and Cashews
NOTE: If utilizing common spinach, roughly chop it.
Storage: Refrigerate for as much as 4 days.
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- 1/2 cup unsalted cashews
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced or finely grated
- 1 1/4 cups white rice, ideally basmati or jasmine, rinsed till the water runs clear and drained
- 4 ounces vermicelli or angel hair pasta, damaged into 1-inch items (about 1 cup)
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon grated contemporary ginger
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon advantageous salt, or extra as wanted
- 3 cups no-salt-added vegetable broth, divided (may additionally use homemade)
- 1 pound child spinach (see NOTE)
- 2 teaspoons chopped contemporary flat-leaf parsley
In a big, dry skillet over medium-high warmth, toast the cashews till they develop into darkish brown in spots, about 2 minutes. Preserve the pan transferring, as they will burn rapidly. Switch the cashews to a bowl.
Return the skillet to the stovetop and scale back the warmth to medium. Add the oil, adopted by the scallions and garlic, and cook dinner, stirring, till softened, about 3 minutes. Add the rice, vermicelli, curry powder, ginger, sugar and salt, and stir to mix. Add 2½ cups of the broth and improve the warmth to excessive to carry to a boil. Cowl the skillet, scale back the warmth to medium-low, and cook dinner till the broth is absorbed and the rice is usually cooked via, about 10 minutes.
Add the spinach, a handful at a time, and stir it into the rice till it begins to wilt. Preserve including handfuls of spinach till it’s all included, then add the parsley and the remaining 1/2 cup of the broth. Cowl and cook dinner till the spinach is wilted and the rice is totally cooked, one other 3 minutes.
Serve scorching, with cashews sprinkled on prime of every portion.
Per serving (1⅓ cups), based mostly on 6
Energy: 379; Whole Fats: 14 g; Saturated Fats: 2 g; Ldl cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 347 mg; Carbohydrates: 59 g; Dietary Fiber: 4 g; Sugar: 4 g; Protein: 12 g
This evaluation is an estimate based mostly on accessible substances and this preparation. It shouldn’t substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s recommendation.
Tailored from “Vegan Africa” by Marie Kachouchia (The Experiment, 2022).
Examined by Jim Webster; electronic mail inquiries to [email protected].
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