A little while ago, Alex went through a phase that Evan couldn’t understand. Every time he’d come over around a meal time it seemed Alex was at the stove boiling a pot of white rice. “Want some”? he’d offer, reaching for bowls. When the kernels were perfectly cooked, he’d spoon out a little less than a cup. It’d get a slosh of good Spanish olive oil. A dash of soy sauce. A knife’s slick of sweet chili sauce. A thumb’s crunch of Fleur de sel, and half a dozen turns of the pepper mill.
It was maddeningly ideal. Hot white rice sauced just right, and taken instantly, spreads the same inner stillness and imploding comfort that a bowl of macaroni and cheese does. Same painkilling side effect that two fingers of Scotch might. Maybe it gets a shake of spice or a slap of micro herbs, either way the idea’s the same. Now white rice is the pox on both our houses – its what our constant companions want, it’s what we want, every meal – and it makes more adventurous cooking as tempting as taking out the trash in an ice storm. Stay inside and boil some rice.
Just Right Rice Bowl
1 cup basmati rice
2 cups filtered water
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 pinch of fresh chives
2 pinch of fresh mint
2 pinch of minced ginger
2 spoon of chili sauce
2 teaspoons of ground black pepper
2 pinches of fleur de sel, or maldon salt
1. Combine your rice and twice its volume of water in a 2-quart pot and agitate with your hands to rinse off extra starch for 1 minute. Dump the rice into a fine mesh strainer and rinse out the pot.
2. Combine cleaned rice and water in a 2-quart pot and place on medium heat. Add sesame oil. Once the water hits a boil and threatens to bubble-over, turn low and cover. Cook this way for about 12 minutes or until water is all but gone and rice kernels lose all crunch, but before mushiness strikes. Let sit a minute or two, still covered but removed from heat until ready to eat. Fluff it with a fork.
2. Mince the ginger, mint and chives (on a tiny bias) and set aside.
3. Spoon rice into 2 bowls. Dress each with olive oil, soy sauce and top with chili sauce. Garnish with herbs.
Soundtrack: The Clash, “Straight To Hell Boy”
Beverage: Echigo Stout