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Seductions of Rice

Seductions of Rice

by Jeffrey Alford, Naomi Duguid (Joint Author)

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With a depth of passion and experience, and an ability to embrace and convey richness of place and taste, the authors of the groundbreaking Flatbreads and Flavors and the later award-winning Hot Sour Salty Sweet embarked on a far-reaching excursion to find the world's most essential and satisfying food. Along the way, they experienced firsthand dozens


With a depth of passion and experience, and an ability to embrace and convey richness of place and taste, the authors of the groundbreaking Flatbreads and Flavors and the later award-winning Hot Sour Salty Sweet embarked on a far-reaching excursion to find the world's most essential and satisfying food. Along the way, they experienced firsthand dozens of varieties of rice, offering unimaginable subtleties of taste, as well as a staggering array of foods to accompany them, all providing a simple way to get flavor and variety on the table.

Seductions of Rice is the glorious result: two hundred easy-to-prepare dishes from the world's great rice cuisines, illuminated by stories, insights, and more than two hundred photographs of people, places, and wonderful food. Cherished dishes—Chinese stir-frys, Spanish paellas, Japanese sushi, Indian thorans, Thai salads, Turkish pilafs, Italian risottos—are shared not just as recipes, but as time-honored traditions.

Seductions of Rice will change the way we eat, the way we prepare and appreciate our food. It's as easy as putting a pot of rice on to cook!

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
Sure, you've probably eaten fried rice at your local Chinese takeout place, and maybe you're a fan of rich and creamy risottos, but do you have any idea of the wide and wonderful variety of rice dishes eaten around the world? Probably not. Let Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid, authors of the award-winning Flatbreads and Flavors, clue you in to the infinite variety and appeal of rice. They traveled to the major rice-eating regions of the world and immersed themselves in the culinary culture and daily rituals to write their magnificent book, Seductions of Rice. If you're the kind of cookbook reader who opens a book in the hope of being taken on a journey to another culture, you'll find this one eminently satisfying. You'll find it even more satisfying if you love to cook great authentic food.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In their debut cookbook, the IACP and James Beard Award-winning Flatbreads & Flavors (1995), Alford and Duguid explored a wide range of ethnic cuisines using the traditional flatbreads of each as a springboard. Here the authors, who are a married couple, do the same with rice, yielding similarly terrific results. As is explained in the introduction, there are two kinds of rice dishes represented here: dishes that incorporate rice (Grilled Sticky Rice Balls; Central Asian Rice and Bean Stew) and those that are served atop or with rice (Spicy Simmered Tofu; Savory Chicken Finely Chopped). Recipes are organized in chapters by country and region (e.g., China, India, the Mediterranean, North America) and they overflow with the information gleaned by the authors who traveled far in their research, their two young sons in tow. The chapter on India recounts the days they spent observing workers in a rice stall at an open-air market, as well as recipes for Ripe Mango Chutney, Banana Salad and various pachadis (yogurt sauces differentiated from raitas because the yogurt is heated). The chapter, "Gohan, Sushi, Mochi: The Japanese Way," describes the making of miso along with a Salad of Grilled Mushroom and Fried Tofu and Soothing Tea Rice. Unexpected flavor combinations (risotto with beer, Rhubarb-Lamb Stew from Persia) add extra spark to this comprehensive exploration, illustrated by more than 200 photos, which gains depth from Alford and Duguid's personal accounts and their infectious interest in the growing of rice as well as its use (Alford and Duguid are real agricultural geeks, and they love to share facts). This is a must-have compendium for any serious cook.
This multiethnic cookbook takes the reader on a worldwide tour to discover the many nuances of various types of rice and ethnic dishes that either incorporate rice or are served atop rice. It is a fabulous resource that provides a wealth of information about the various cultures that enjoy rice as a regular part of their diet. Recipes are organized in chapters by country and region. Basic information is included about the varieties of rice that are available, cooking techniques, and the history of rice as a staple. Some of the mouthwatering recipes are: Spicy Simmered Tofu, Egg Fried Rice, Autumn Rice with Mushrooms, Green Beans with Coconut Spice, Golden Rice with Shrimp, Louisiana Pecan and Popcorn Rice, Cuban Black Beans, Spicy Cabbage, Kyoto Grilled Peppers and Grilled Red Snapper Salad with Basil. Wonderful photographs accompany this comprehensive book. When reading the parts about various cultures, one really feels a part of that society due to the authors' abilities to describe the regions they visit. This is a must purchase for any serious cook. KLIATT Codes: SA;Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 1998, Artisan, 456p. illus. bibliog. index.,
— Shirley Reis
The Washington Post
Sophisticated and amazingly well-researched.

Product Details

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8.00(w) x 10.58(h) x 1.10(d)

Read an Excerpt

Marinated Chicken Kebabs

Makes 12 to 15 kebabs; serves 6 to 8 with rice

Persian Chelo Rice is often eaten with grilled lamb or chicken kebabs. These savory chicken kebabs are marinated in a blend of yogurt, garlic, saffron, and dried mint before being grilled over charcoal or broiled. Easy and delicious. Serve these with a plate of fresh herbs (basil, tarragon, flat-leaf parsley) and Special Everyday Persian Rice, or any cooked long-grain rice. You might want to offer Oasis Salad as an accompaniment.

2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts or a combination


1 cup plain yogurt (whole milk or 2%)

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/8 teaspoon saffron threads, dry-toasted, crushed to a powder, and dissolved in 2 tablespoons warm water

1 tablespoon crushed dried mints (optional)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Cut the chicken into small pieces, 1/2-inch cubes or smaller, discarding discarding any fat or tough connective tissue.

2. Combine the yogurt with the remaining marinade ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Place the chicken pieces in a shallow bowl, pour the marinade over, and stir to ensure that all of the chicken is well-coated. Let stand, refrigerated, for at least 3 hours or as long as 24 hours.

3. Preheat a charcoal or gas grill or a broiler.

4. Thread chicken pieces onto metal skewers. Place only a few pieces of chicken on each skewer, and don't cram the pieces together tightly. (If they are packed together, rather than just lightly touching, they will not cook evenly.)

5. Grill or broil 5 to 6 inches from the heat, turning the skewers after 3 minutes, for about 10 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Grilled Beef Salad (yam neua)

Serves 6 as part of a jasmine- or sticky rice-based meal, or as an appetizer.

When we're not at home, beef is not something we prepare all that often. But if we are making food for a party, or for a summer potluck, this grilled beef yam is one of our all-time favorite recipes. We'll even splurge and get a very good cut of meat, such as the tenderloin called for in this recipe.

In Thailand, there are probably as many different versions of yam neua as there are cooks, with everyone having a different idea about how to find that perfect balance of hot, sour, sweet, and salty. So before serving, be sure to taste for yourself and to adjust the chile, lime, and fish sauce as you see fit.

1 pound beef tenderloin, at room temperature

About 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce (nam pla) or more to taste

5 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or more to taste

2 to 3 bird chiles or serrano chiles, minced

1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots

4 scallions, cut into 1/2-inch lengths

1/2 cup packed fresh coriander leaves, plus a few sprigs for garnish

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint

1 English cucumber, scored lengthwise with a fork and thinly sliced

1. Preheat a broiler or a grill. Slice the tenderloin lengthwise. Rub both sides of the meat with freshly ground black pepper, rubbing with some force to rub the pepper into the meat.

2. To broil, place the meat on a broiling rack so that the meat is 3 to 5 inches from the broiling element. Broil for 6 or 7 minutes on one side, then turn and broil for 6 to 7 minutes on the other side, or until medium-rare.

OR 2. To grill, place on the grill and cook until medium-rare, 5 to 8 minutes on each side.

3. Let the meat cool for 30 minutes to 1 hour, so that it is easy to slice. (The cooled meat can be put into the refrigerator covered and then sliced several hours later, if more convenient .)

4. Slice the meat as thin as possible with a sharp chef's knife or cleaver, cutting across the grain.

5. In a large bowl, mix the fish sauce, lime juice, and chiles. Toss in the meat, shallots, and scallions and mix to blend all the different tastes. Mix in the coriander leaves and mint. Taste the salad for a good balance between the salty fish sauce, the sour lime sauce, and the hot chiles, and adjust according to your taste.

6. Arrange the slices of cucumber around the edge of a decorative plate or platter, then arrange the salad in a mound in the center. Garnish with coriander sprigs and serve.

Meet the Author

Jeffrey Alford is a writer and photographer based primarily in northeast Thailand and Cambodia. He plants and harvests rice each year; helps raise frogs and several varieties of fish; and happily struggles along in three languages: Central Thai, Lao Isaan, and Northern Khmer. His forthcoming book, to be published in 2014, is tentatively titled How Pea Cooks: Food and Life in a Thai-Khmer Village. His earlier books, all co-written with Naomi Duguid, are Flatbreads and Flavors;HomeBaking; Seductions of Rice; Hot Sour Salty Sweet; Mangoes and Curry Leaves; and Beyond the Great Wall. Jeffrey is currently developing a series of intensive culinary tours through northeastern Thailand and western Cambodia (the Angkor Wat area) under the name of Heritage Food Thailand.

Naomi Duguid is a writer, photographer, teacher, cook, and world traveler. Her most recent cookbook, Burma, brought news of a long-forgotten part of the world and was winner of the 2013 IACP Cookbook Award for Culinary Travel and the Taste Canada Food Writing Award. Her previous award-winning titles, co-authored with Jeffrey Alford, include Flatbreads & Flavors: A Baker’s Atlas, their first book, which won a James Beard Award for Cookbook of the Year; Seductions of Rice; Hot Sour Salty Sweet, also a James Beard Cookbook of the Year; Mangoes & Curry Leaves; and Beyond the Great Wall.

Duguid’s articles and photographs appear regularly in Lucky Peach, Food & Wine, and other publications. She is a frequent guest speaker and presenter at food conferences. She is the host of Toronto’s Food on Film series and has a strong online presence (Twitter and Facebook). Her stock photo agency, Asia Access, is based in Toronto, where she lives when she is not on the road.

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