Kara-age Chicken & RockSugar’s Fragrant Rice

March 25th, 2012  |  Carbs, Cluck cluck, Family Dinner, Side Dishes  |  1 Comment

I should probably be embarrassed to tell people that I subscribe to the LA Times for one reason and one reason only---the once-a-week Food section.  For the last two years, Thursday is the day I look forward to most primarily because I get to open up the paper and see what wonderful new recipes they're dishing on and check out reviews on the all of the fabulous restaurants in and around Los Angeles that I will never actually get to dine in (we live by my husband's strict rule of not eating anywhere outside of a one-mile radius from our house).  As far as he's concerned, driving to Los Angeles for food would be the equivalent of taking a helicopter to San Francisco for dinner--it ain't gonna happen.

But back to my precious Food section...

About 3 weeks ago there was a little note therein that said the Food section would be no more.  From now on, they were going to incorporate food into a lifestyle edition that would come out on Saturdays.  What?  How dare they!  The audacity...the gumption... the gall.   I made up my mind I would cancel that paper immediately {then got side tracked by a million other things} until the Saturday paper arrived.  I'll admit, I wanted to see what was in this "Saturday" section, even though I was still plenty ticked.  So I opened it up, apprehensively at first, and couldn't believe how awesome it was.  All of the food stuff was still in there, AND a few added surprises about homes and gardens that I thoroughly enjoyed perusing while having my morning coffee.

The first recipe that caught my eye was for RockSugar's festive rice.  If you don't know this about me already, I LOVE rice.  It is my carbohydrate of choice and if any other person in my family shared the same affection for it, we'd have it on the dinner table every night!  I love the way it absorbs so many different types of flavors and when I spotted all of the unique spices in this recipe, I couldn't wait to try it.

This was on of those dishes that I could NOT stop eating.   An hour after dinner was over, I was still sneaking bites straight out of the skillet, refusing to toss ANY of it in the garbage and refusing to wash the pan until I couldn't force down another single grain.  Rice has that effect on me, but this rice in particular was just pure amazingness.  It tasted a little bit Indian, a little bit Thai with the coconut and lemongrass, and the anise-cinnamon-cardamom combination really took it to the next level.

I served the rice with some delicious battered chicken bites.  My friends at Kikkoman sent me some of their new coating/batter that's infused with soy and ginger so I simply chopped up three chicken breasts, coated it in the Kara-age and fried it for about 4-5 minutes.  Following the recipe and serving suggestion on the box, I set up dip bowls with LIME flavored Ponzu sauce.  I don't normally care much for Ponzu, but this lime version was fantastic!  In truth, it completed the Kara-age chicken and I'm not so sure I'd take a bite without giving it a dip first.   I'm looking forward to trying the Kara-age with shrimp next time; it was such an easy, quick and delicious dinner--the perfect accompaniment for RockSugar's rice!

I could go on and on about this meal, but instead I'll just share the recipe so you can go get some spices and condiments that you may not already have on hand!

I adapted the rice recipe slightly because the original was for 8-10 people and I was only cooking for the two of us.

Ingredients:

1 cup jasmine or basmati rice
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 small cinnamon stick
1 whole star anise
1 green cardamom pod, lightly crushed
1 whole clove
1 small lemongrass stalk, cleaned and bruised
1/4 cup finely diced white onion
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
3/4 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 cup toasted almonds {or cashews} for garnish

Directions:

Rinse the rice in a colander and place it in a large bowl.  Add enough water to cover the rice by 1 inch and soak it for 10 minutes.  Drain well and set aside.

In a small, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat until hot.  Add the cinnamon stick, star anise, cardamom, clove, lemongrass and white onion.  Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the turmeric and stir for 10 seconds to incorporate.  Stir in the coconut milk, water and kosher salt, and continue cooking until the liquid comes to a simmer, about 5 minutes.  Immediately add the drained rice.  Stir gently until the liquid comes to a simmer again, 3 to 5 minutes.

Reduce heat to low and cover the pot with a lid.  Continue to cook over very low heat until the liquid has evaporated and the rice is cooked through, 8-10 minutes.  Remove from heat and gently fluff the rice.  Remove the spices, top with toasted nuts and serve immediately.

Bon Appetit!

One thought on “Kara-age Chicken & RockSugar’s Fragrant Rice

  1. Hi Amy,

    I’ve been enjoying your blog and checking out all your wonderful dishes this morning. Thank you for such a fabulous meal last night. Mike and had so much fun and thoroughly enjoyed meeting all your family! The kids are adorable!
    I love to cook so I’m going to have fun with this!

    Thanks again,

    xo,
    Mike & Jill

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