Seductions of Riceby Jeffrey Alford, Naomi Duguid
IN 1995 Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Dunguid published a cookbook that defined a new genre. "The first of its kind," raved The Boston Globe. "If you buy only one cookbook this year, make it Flatbreads and Flavors" (USA Today); "a certifiable publishing event" (Vogue); "a rich and rare effort" (The New York Time). It received not one, but both major cookbook awards the… See more details below
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IN 1995 Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Dunguid published a cookbook that defined a new genre. "The first of its kind," raved The Boston Globe. "If you buy only one cookbook this year, make it Flatbreads and Flavors" (USA Today); "a certifiable publishing event" (Vogue); "a rich and rare effort" (The New York Time). It received not one, but both major cookbook awards the year it was published.
And now, they're done it again. That depth of passion and experience and the unique ability to convey richness of place and taste that the authors brought to Flatbreads and Flavors, they bring to Seductions of Rice: an essential book about the world's most essential food.
Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid traveled to the major rice-eating regions of the world and experience firsthand dozens of varieties of rice with unimaginable subtleties of taste, as well as the staggering array of foods that traditionally accompany them. In Seductions of Rice, they bring it all home--hundreds of delectable dishes from the world's greatest rice cuisines, illuminated by stories, insights, and photographs. Chinese stir-fries served with steaming rice, smoky Carolina low-country pulaos, Japanese sushi, Indian thorans, Thai salads, Turkish pilafs, Italian risottos are shared not just as recipes, but as time-honored traditions.
But Seductions of Rice is more than a collection of fabulous recipes surrounded by a wealth of precious information. It is more than an enthralling journey with photographs--taken by the authors--of peoples and places, many of which we can barely imagine. It is a "new" way of putting food on the table that is as old as the ages.
You will marvel at how food this simple can taste this good and be so satisfying--Thai sticky rice with grilled beef salad, Indian basmati with curry, Cuban black beans and rice, Louisiana gumbo, Persian kebabs with saffron-tintted rice, Spanish paella, Mexican rice pudding. Hundreds of recipes from around the world attest to the adaptablilty of this endlessly appealing food. Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid understand our yen for these vibrant flavors and have writtten a book that satisfies our every craving.
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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.
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