Letter from Nigeria

Moushumi from Lagos, Nigeria, writes:

“Dear Kurma, I take the liberty to address you by your name. I live in Nigeria and was first introduced to your recipes while on my visit to Sydney in 1998. Long back indeed!

Thanks for all the great recipes and tips. There are many times when I just wonder if you had a tip for my query while cooking and where I could check for it. Anyway, Here is Lagos, it is not possible to buy your books or have them shipped to me. So for now have to depend on you to give me a nice recipe for Tomato Rice. I remember seeing it in one of your books in a Sydney store in 1998! Thanks so much in advance.”

My reply:

Hello Moushumi,

Here’s my favourite tomato rice, simple and flavoursome.

juicy tomatoes:

Tomato Rice with Herbs

This simple combination of rice, boil in a 2-litre/quart saucepan over herbs, and tomato with an Italian flavour can also be used as an alternative stuffing for baked peppers.

PREPARATION TIME: 5 minutes
COOKING TIME: 25 – 35 minutes
YIELD: enough for 4 persons

1 cup basmati or other long-grain white rice
1 3/4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped fine
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon yellow asafoetida powder
1 cup firm tomatoes, cut into 1.25 cm (1/2-inch) cubes
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

Wash, drain, and dry the rice.

Bring the water, salt, paprika, tomato paste, and basil slowly to a boil in a 2-litre/quart saucepan over moderate heat.

Heat the olive oil in a non-sticking 2-litre/quart saucepan over moderately low heat. Saute the asafoetida in the hot ghee. Add the rice and stir fry for about 2 minutes or until the rice grains turn whitish.

Pour in the boiling water. Stir, raise the heat to high, and bring the water to a full boil. Immediately reduce the heat to low, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and gently simmer, without stirring, for 15 – 20 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender and flaky.

Remove the rice from the heat and allow it to steam for 5 minutes with the lid on. Finally, fold in the tomatoes and fresh parsley and serve immediately.

Posted by Kurma on 22/4/06; 3:24:24 AM

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