It is a staple food across three-quarters of the globe. It comes in an assortment of colours and is grown on every continent, except Antarctica. It is revered and respected and in many instances can be the difference between life and death. And, there are over 40,000 different varieties.
Yes, that’s right! I’m talking about rice, and Belinda Nagy’s latest Rice and Risotto is a welcome treat offering a range of “quick, simple and easy” recipes. Nagy includes a variety of vegetarian, seafood and poultry options, as well as tips on how cook the “perfect rice.”
These recipes aren’t your four simple ingredients, and thankfully nothing comes out of a bottle or a jar of instant paste. For instance, the Shrimp Soup isn’t overly complicated, but does instruct you to use fresh ingredients, including ginger and garlic and specific sauces, such as fish and soy. What would normally be a laksa (albeit without coconut) becomes a rich spiced stew like soup, with the addition of basmati or jasmine rice.
If you are in a hurry, however, the Pork Fried Rice is an easy option. Apple juice, soy, garlic, some sweet chilli and an assortment of veggies, and Voila! You have a beautiful fried rice option that looks even better when served in curling lettuce cups.
Risottos, of course, are a popular favourite, and the Asparagus and Lemon Risotto is sure to be a winter pleaser: simple yet complete, with white wine, parmesan and lemon zest. Perfecto!
Missing from this collection were options that included rice varieties and their recipes beyond what is readily available at the local supermarket. Most people are familiar with India and Pakistan’s quality basmati rice, the fragrant jasmine rice of Thailand and China, and Arborio rice from Italy. Brown rice is touted for health reasons, but where are the black and red rice recipes? Also, recipes from Cambodia, France and the Dominican Republic, as well as the Portuguese, Spanish and Vietnamese recipes abound with a range of healthy and unique dishes that would certainly enhance our ever-broadening Kiwi palate.
A great start by Nagy to compile a good collection of rice based recipes, but still plenty more to discover as you make a start exploring the truly vast rice bowls of the world.
REVIEWER: Dione Joseph
TITLE: Rice and Risotto
AUTHOR(S): Belinda Nagy
PUBLISHER: New Holland