Like most of my recipes, this is another one of those that came out of a look in the fridge for inspiration. I had some roast chicken left from a Sunday dinner and needed to transform it into a meal for my son. The fridge was looking a bit bare otherwise so I needed to improvise a meal from whatever little I could find.
That’s when I remembered a savoury rice dish I used to be served in school in Brazil. It used to be my favourite school dinner. I have to say it came out rather tasty considering the last minute improvisations. My son ate lots with clear enjoyment. I tried to use a small amount of rice to make sure the dish was not overly loaded with carbs and the protein value was still good when balanced with the rest of the ingredients.
In Brazil, we boil the rice in just enough water so that all the moisture is absorbed by the time the rice is cooked. This way it’s not necessary to drain rice before serving. We also like to cook rice with plenty of garlic for flavour. Try it and let me know your comments 🙂
Here it goes then:
Two chicken upper thighs – if you don’t have the meat ready, you can boil some chicken (thighs or breast). You can then take the meat off the bone to use it in the dish and use the water you boiled it in to cook the rice.
2 ripe tomatoes
6 cloves of garlic
1/2 packet or a handful of green beans thinly sliced
1 diced carrot
2 handfuls of uncooked rice
Butter to sauté the vegetables
Peel the garlic, roughly cut it into chunks and mash it in a mortar & pestle with salt and pepper until it turns into a paste. Put it to one side. Wash a handful or two of rice and leave it to drain (I use a thin sieve for that). Then chop the tomatoes into very small squares. Start by lightly frying the garlic in some butter. After 2 minutes or so, add the tomatoes and let it fry until some of the liquid from the tomatoes starts to evaporate. Wait until nearly all the moisture is gone, but don’t let it go dry or burn. Meanwhile, debone the meat and chop it into small pieces. Boil about 1 cup of water in the kettle and leave it aside. Add the rice to the garlic and tomatoes and fry for other 2 minutes or so (keep an eye and stir often to avoid burning at the bottom). If necessary, add another knob of butter. Chop the rest of the vegetables, mix the meat and mix it all with the rice. Add enough boiling water to just cover the rice and cook without a lid in high heat for 5 minutes. After that, turn the heat right down and cover with a lid. Leave it to simmer until the water has been completely absorbed and the rice is soft. It shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes or so. In case the rice is still hard, add little bits of boiling water and simmer with the lid on, keeping a close eye. To check if it’s ready or not burning, use a fork to dig into the bottom but avoid stirring.
Until you get experienced with cooking rice this way, it’s best to be cautious and add little bits of water at a time rather than put too much water at once and overcook the rice before all the moisture can be absorbed.
Once you get the hang of cooking rice like that, you’re going to love it!