08 March 2016

Cilantro-lime rice

Here is my interpretation of Chipotle's cilantro-lime rice. In Persian cuisine, we have several herbed rice dishes such as: Sabzi-polo (rice with assorted herbs), Shivid-polo (rice with dill), Baghali-polo (rice with dill and fava beans) and so many others. Given this heritage, I guess I am well-qualified to present my Persian influenced cilantro-lime rice. 

When cooking herbed rice, the main challenge is keeping the dish visually appealing by not letting herbs (cilantro here) fade from a vivid dark green color to a pale, almost yellowish, green state. The other issue in this particular example and in terms of flavor is  creating a bright, but not dominating, citrus flavor without making the dish too acidic.        

2 cups of Jasmine rice
4 cups water
100 gr (3.5 Oz) Cilantro-lemon puree (recipe follows)
2 TBSP vegetable oil
1 TBSP salt 
1/2 Persian lime, juice

Cilantro-lemon puree:
100 gr (3.5 Oz)  cilantro ( leaves and stems)
4 ice cubes
2 TBSP vegetable oil
1/2 preserved lemon

The key to achieving a green vivid herbal color is cold!. To get that, I blended all the Cilantro-lemon ingredients and froze them over-night. Note that using preserved lemon is the best approach to achieve the desired citrus background flavor.

Boil the rice, water, oil and salt and over medium heat for 10 minutes until surface water evaporates. Stir occasionally, but not to liberally, as that will break the rice grains (Persian rule!). Squeeze the lime juice in and stir gently. Plant the cilantro cubes in different locations. 

Lower the heat, lid the pan and let steam for 15 minutes.

When cooked, stir to mix the colors and serve. Note that the center of cilantro cubes will keep their green color, giving the dish our desired green color spectrum.
The herb cube recipe above, yields twice as much as cilantro-lemon puree as the rice recipe demands. With the rest, I marinated some chicken with some lime, roasted garlic and Poblano and made Mexican chicken kebabs. Avocado Hollandaise is from here

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