From Vegan Fire & Spice, by Robin Robertson
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From Robin: I have several favorite recipes — Pasta Puttanesca, Seitan in Spicy Orange Sauce, and Quick Red Bean Dal, among them — but if I had to choose one, Indonesian Coconut Rice would lead the list. It has a spicy-sweet flavor, textural surprises, and is easy to make, yet looks and tastes more complex than it is. It’s a fun dish to serve company, especially when you pack it into a mold (such as a bowl) and unmold it right onto the dinner plate. Like most of the recipes in Vegan Fire & Spice, you can customize the heat level to suit your taste. For me, this dish gives a spicy afterglow, but is fairly mild, heat-wise, while loaded with flavor. If you want more heat, add a minced fresh hot chile or increase the amount of hot red pepper flakes.
This exotic-tasting rice dish is traditionally topped with peanuts and toasted coconut. While the rice can be simply spooned onto a plate, when served molded, it takes on a festive appearance and looks like a party! To complete the meal, serve with stir-fried vegetables and some braised tempeh seasoned with soy sauce and Asian chile oil.
2 tablespoons organic canola oil
1 yellow onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 scallions minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon ground cloves or allspice
2 teaspoons sugar, or to taste
4 cups cooked brown rice
1 cup shredded coconut
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the onion and garlic, and cook until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add the scallions, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, mustard, red pepper flakes, cloves, and sugar, and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the rice and stir to mix evenly. Gently stir in the coconut. Season to taste with salt and pepper and heat until hot. Cover, and set aside for 5 minutes before serving.
Note: For the presentation shown in the photo, pack a portion of the hot rice mixture into a small bowl, place a dinner plate on top (face down) then flip over to unmold the rice in the center of the plate. It is now ready to be sprinkled with toasted coconut and peanuts and surrounded by stir-fried vegetables, tempeh, or other accompaniments.
Yield: Serves 4
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Recipe and Photo © 2008, featured by Vegan.com with permission of the author and publisher.