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Curry and Rice: Edamame and Rice with Curry

Edamame, Curry and Rice

The history of rice cultivation is fascinating. Scholars still debate about just where rice was first cultivated.  Many believe that rice was first cultivated in a domestic form in Asia, probably in China. As far as that date that occurred, some scholars say about 12,000 years ago, others say about 4,000-5,000 years before Christ. There is evidence that by around 1000 or 2000 BC much of Asia including India had refined methods for growing rice. It’s hard to say then when Curry and Rice was invented, but I’m sure glad it was!

How did Rice get to the Middle East?

It’s not clear exactly how rice came to be grown in the Middle East, but we do know In the Middle East and parts of the Mediterranean, rice became an important crop by about 300 BC.  Rice was grown in southern Iraq and today, in Egypt, rice is grown in the Nile Delta. In Palestine rice came to be grown in the Jordan Valley. It’s also grown inn Saudi Arabia.

Curry and Rice with Edamame(Shelled frozen soy beans)

This is a variation of a delicious recipe from friend and colleague Susan Parker of Susan’s Natural World. If you live near her Cincinnati shop you’ll find anything you need to make this curry and rice recipe.

Curry and Rice with Edamame

Curry and Rice with Edamame

Edamame contains vitamin A, C, calcium, iron, protein and fiber.

1-1/2 cups Basmati or Jasmine brown rice, rinsed and drained
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped, about a cup or so
Up to 1 tablespoon curry powder – start with a teaspoon and go from there
4 to 4-1/2 cups broth, either vegetable or your favorite
2 cups shelled edamame, steamed and set aside
Chopped parsley and Parmesan cheese for garnish (opt but good)

Film pan with olive oil (a couple of tablespoons).  Cook garlic, onions and curry powder for a couple of minutes, until onions start to soften.  Stir in rice and 4 cups broth. Bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer, cover and cook 30-40 minutes or until rice is cooked. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
Stir steamed edamame in to the curry and rice and garnish with cheese and parsley.

Serve this curry and rice dish as a side or a great vegetarian main course.

Rice is an important grain in Middle Eastern meals.

I know that people from this part of the world have eaten rice for thousands of years, simply because of the multitude of recipes using rice. In Lebanese cooking, rice is a staple on our tables. And in the Middle East, cooking rice is almost an art form.

Rice helps to make dishes stretch.

It forms the filling in so many dishes, like dolmathes, stuffed grapevine leaves that contain lamb and rice. All of my stuffed vegetable dishes contain rice as a filler of sorts, and  the chicken and lamb stews I make always contain rice as the starchy part of the meal. Rice is as important as bread in this cuisine. And today rice is the staple food for half of the world’s population.

Middle Eastern rice is always prepared fluffy, never sticky like sushi or risotto rice. Most of these rice dishes use long grain or basmati rice.

How is rice prepared as a side dish?

In my cooking, very simply – in a sort of pilaf or molded dish.  Middle Eastern rice dishes often contain garlic, olive oil, raisins and pine nuts.

How is the best way to cook rice?

Usually a 2 to 1 ratio – for every cup of rice, 2 cups of liquid.  Bring the liquid to a boil, add the rice, lower to a simmer, cover and cook until fluffy. White rice cooks more quickly than basmati or brown rice.

What are the health benefits of eating rice?

Brown rice is the most healthful, since only the chaff is removed. Brown rice is high in fiber, is good for your heart, and can help prevent weight gain since you feel full after eating it. White rice is typically fortified with iron and B vitamins.  Rice contains protein, but it’s not a complete source, so that’s why we add beans to a rice dish.

What about wild rice?

That’s not a true rice, but a type of grass. It’s considered gourmet and is very a bit pricey.

This Curry and Rice dish uses Curry powder which is a blend of Indian spices: turmeric, cumin, coriander, cardamom, etc.

Regular brown rice or white rice can be substituted for the basmati/ jasmine. Read instructions on box for amount of liquid needed and cooking time.

Substitute frozen peas, thawed and lightly cooked, for the edamame. Or toss in your favorite cooked vegetable.

To steam edamame: Put in microwave safe bowl, cover with water and cook on high 3-4 minutes.

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