Tofu Scallion Brown Rice Onigiri

Eat Well Edibles Recipe

Following my husband’s recent solo visit to Tokyo I thought, what fun to match it up with a recipe.

Many aspects of Japanese culture could be summarized as a balance of precision and minimalism. The approach to food is a delicious study of these contrasts. Traditional Japanese cuisine offers dishes that are beautiful and complex yet healthy and practical, exemplifying an effortlessly natural simplicity of diverse ingredients.

Onigiri — pronounced oh-knee-gree — are portable little bundles of rice often eaten as a snack or light lunch on-the-hoof. Nigiri means “to squeeze,” which is how onigiri are formed into the classic triangles, balls or cylinders — either by hand or with the help of shaped molds.

Some onigiri are filled with tasty surprises, like sashimi-grade tuna, salmon roe, avocado, or umeboshi (Japanese sour salted plums). Some have a strip of nori (dried seaweed) at the base to keep your hands free from the sticky rice, and some are wrapped entirely in nori or fresh shiso leaves. Other onigiri are just rice, but with seasonings mixed in prior to shaping or sprinkled on top after, perhaps furikake (a mixture of sesame seeds, nori and other seasonings), sakebushi (dried salmon flakes), or yukari (red shiso powder).

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Smoked Salmon Kedgeree with Spinach, Green Peas and Leek

Eat Well Edibles Recipe

Paella, risotto, biryani, bibimbap, fried rice, arroz con pollo. The world over, fluffy grains of rice shine in familiar classics — from Spain to Japan and nearly every culture between.

A product of the British occupation of India, kedgeree takes its origin from a simple rice and lentil dish called khichari. The Anglo-Indian colonials, apparently fond of rice dishes with lots of garnishes, often served small plates of cold cooked fish, onion, and hard-boiled eggs alongside more mildly spiced versions of khichari in their homes. Eventually everything merged into one bowl, the smoked fish and/or egg replacing lentils, and kedgeree was born.

Kedgeree with salmon

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Fragrant Indian Basmati Rice Pilaf

Eat Well Edibles Recipe

I credit my family’s appreciation for global cuisines to the trip my dad made to India for work about ten years ago. Sure, we grew up eating a variety of Mexican, Chinese and some German foods, but for the most part, everything was as Americanized as it could get. We didn’t truly begin exploring traditional dishes from around the world until the months leading up to his journey. For that, I am grateful.

We covered the world in our kitchen, and Indian was our jumping off point. Spicy chillies, kaffir lime or curry leaves, assertive ginger and turmeric, fresh coconut, earthy cumin and coriander, popped mustard seeds, and fragrant cinnamon and cardamom were all unique and unforgettable new flavors. There were also new breads like naan and roti. New meat dishes like lamb curries and Tandoori chicken. New desserts like gulab jamun and halwa. And new grains like aromatic long-grain Basmati rice.

All these years later, Basmati is a pantry staple for my husband and me, and finds its way onto our table all year round. It’s especially comforting on cold nights like we’ve endured recently. The secret to this fragrant Indian pilaf is frying the spices together with the onion, garlic, chillies and ginger prior to adding the rice, giving it the right amount of heat and a wonderfully complex flavor. The finished dish is warming and satisfying.

Basmati Pilaf_ingredients

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