It all started two months ago, when I stumbled upon a very interesting recipe on one of the first food blogs I have ever followed, cilantro lime rice by Cooking with a Wallflower. Sometimes I find recipes and I wonder how on Earth I had never come up with such ideas myself, spontaneously. I lovelovelove guacamole and I often think that my big love is mostly for the avocado, but the thing about guacamole is also the peculiar flavours of lime and cilantro that make the avocado mash special. Why didn’t I ever think of adding lime and cilantro to rice?
Fast forward to a few weeks later and I am at home enjoying a week off in the company of a dear friend from my primary school years. We’re making dinner and she’s teaching me how to make rice pilaf. A very simple version of rice pilaf, no added ingredents. Just the procedure, really, as an alternative to boiling rice. Cooking rice this way it really preserves its full flavour. We made a stir fry that night with zucchini and soy sauce, but the rice was a little too much than needed, so a small portion of cooked rice ended up in the fridge.
A couple of days later, my friend back in Italy and my boyfriend out at work, I’m in the middle of my week off bored at home. I need to feed myself, so I open the fridge and I remember that portion of cooked rice. Quick in my brain the memory of Cooking with a Wallflower’s cilantro lime rice takes shape.
Cilantro lime rice:
- 250 g cooked rice
- juice of 1/2 lime
- pinch of salt
- 2 tsp minced cilantro
- 10 g butter
- 1 tsp oil
Since the rice needed to be warmed up I figured I’d give it a quick sear, so I warmed up 1 tsp of oil and I pan-fried the rice on high heat. This needs constant stirring to avoid actual frying. When the rice has properly warmed up, remove from the heat and press the lime juice directly onto it. Add the cilantro (I used frozen minced cilantro, but freshly minced is even better), a pinch of salt and give it all a good stir. Lastly, I cut off a little chunk of butter and I buried it in the rice so that its heat would melt it. When the butter had melted, I stirred the rice some more, in order to properly distribute the melted butter all over. Voilà.
Besides preserving the full flavour of the rice, cooking it following the pilaf procedure also keeps it the perfect stickiness to be able to eat it with chopsticks. The fresh and tangy flavours of cilantro and lime really give a simple dish like plain rice pilaf an extra touch. The rice used in this dish is jasmine.
In the original recipe found on Cooking with a Wallflower there was no butter. That was my own idea. Actually, I used salted butter, because my friend seemed as obsessed with salted butter as I am, so when she was here we bought a package of extra salted butter and I’m putting it in every dish I’ve been making lately. Luckily the package is almost empty, so I will soon stop using it everywhere.