This recipe was created in my ongoing quest for quick, easy, nutritious, and delicious meals to make for myself at college. It only calls for two fresh ingredients – garlic and onion – everything else is either canned, frozen, or preserved in some other way. I mixed brown and white rice together after a comment Molly made to me about how common it is to do so in Thailand (she just got back from a trip there). It creates a very nice texture to do so. It should be noted that I went on quite the quest to find non-alcoholic wine to make this with. If you make it with real wine (and are therefore, of course, of the legal drinking age in your place of residence) please please do not use cheap college wine. This is your dinner, not someone you’re macking on at a party. It’s also vegan friendly – no animals were harmed in the making of this meal.
A quick note for the final step of the recipe: you have a choice to make, based on your level of hunger and your willingness to do the dishes. You can either
- Stir obsessively, to ensure that not one grain of rice attaches itself to the bottom of your pan. This means uncovering your pot quite frequently, which means it will cook/reduce much less quickly.
- Use a nonstick pan (frankly, I think this is tantamount to option a. I don’t think nonstick coating will change the way the rice settles to the bottom and then gets exposed to the heat. YMMV, of course, and it should be noted that this is coming from someone who is afraid nonstick coatings give you cancer).
- Accept that you’re going to scrape off a layer of burnt on rice, grab a book, and enjoy life for the next twenty minutes.
I had always thought of myself a sort of option A-type, but I switched midway to option C for two reasons – first that Molly offered to do the dishes if I cooked and second that I realized that these were my choices as I was stirring, felt clever, came to type them up, and then realized that the rice had burnt on in my few minutes of inattention.
Delicious Veggie Paella
1 lb can tomatoes – I used crushed but I’m sure diced would be nice as well
1 lb can chickpeas – I usually buy Goya because it’s in the international section and makes me feel worldly
1 dry cup white rice and 1 dry cup brown rice, or any other combination of two dry cups of rice
3 cubes of vegetable boullion
4 cloves of chopped garlic
1 chopped onion
2 pounds of frozen vegetables (I used a pound of mixed corn/peas/green beans/carrots and a pound of broccoli, but whatever you have on hand will work great)
3/4 cup of white wine
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp turmeric (optional)
Salt and pepper (perhaps even some cayenne if you’re feeling fancy.)
1 tablespoon saffron or 1 tbsp Saffron Flower (Kasubha) or another tbsp Paprika
- Boil a quart of water over high heat. When it boils, add three cubes vegetable boullion and remove from the heat and stir. Add the heaping tablespoon of saffron/paprika and set aside for step five.
- Heat oil up in a large pot (this is the pot everything else will go into) over medium heat and add the chopped garlic. When it starts to caramelize, add the onions. Cook till translucent.
- Add the can of tomatoes (or a pound fresh, if you want to be classy), the dry rice, a heaping tablespoon (or two) of paprika, salt, and turmeric. Pro tip: pile up the onion on a side of your pot, pour the tomato slowly onto that. This is the best way I’ve figured out to keep from staining myself with tomato splatter.
- Stir profusely for about seven minutes.
- Pour in the vegetable/saffron broth and the wine. Add the vegetables, chickpeas, cayenne, and black/white/cayenne pepper.
- Now you should have a very water substance in your pot, between the frozen veggies, wine, and broth. That’s sort of a rice soup consistency, not a paella one. Turn up the heat a notch or two and cover, stirring based on your preference (see above). It’s either done when the rice is thick and doesn’t drip or (if you’re like me) when you get too hungry to contain yourself.
- Enjoy profusely. I certainly did! -Ashok