After much Googling, I’ve finally found a CSA that I think I’ll like and that I don’t have to drive 30 miles to get to. Because it’s too hot and a little backward down here, our season is actually November – April, but you can order tropical fruits, eggs, avocados and fresh herbs during the summer. So, Saturday morning I picked up my delicious, multi-colored eggs, fresh lemongrass, curry leaves, mint leaves, raw honey and just about the biggest avocados I’ve ever seen. I kid you not – these guys are at least 18 inches long and twice the width of a softball. I can’t wait for them to ripen!
So, what does any of this have to do with rice? Not much, really. But I thought it was a nice story and I did use the fresh mint in this unusual side dish. Rice is usually boring – a base for the more interesting things it’s served with – Green Curry, Ropa Vieja or Sushi. But rice can be dressed up and made into a side dish that’s as good as the main.
I grilled some local lobsters with lemongrass and curry leaf butter and wanted a rice dish that stood up to the lobster and paid its respects. I toasted some unsweetened coconut and slivered almonds then tossed them into the rice cooker with chicken stock and brown Jasmine rice. Stir in mint and cilantro and you have an exotic rice that pairs perfectly with grilled anything (and especially lobster). This is no sad side of rice – it’s jubilant and addictive and i can’t wait to make it again.
Toasted Coconut & Almond Rice with Mint
3 tbsp. unsweetened, flaked coconut
1/2 cup slivered almonds
2 cups brown jasmine rice
4 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp. fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 tbsp. cilantro leaves, chopped
Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the almonds, stirring constantly. When the almonds become slightly fragrant and just begin to brown, add the coconut. Toast until the coconut begins to brown, then remove from heat to a bowl.
Add the coconut, almonds, rice and stock to your rice cooker and cook according to directions. If you don’t have a rice cooker, place the ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a slow boil, cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 40 minutes, or until the rice is tender and fluffy.
Remove from heat and stir in the cilantro and mint. Taste and add salt if necessary.
Makes 4 – 6 servings.