Monday, April 05, 2010

Rice cooker couscous

I have used my old Zojirushi rice cooker for years to cook not just rice but other grains as well. The term "rice cooker" should not limit you. Israeli couscous, the pearl shaped pasta, is one my favorite other grains to cook quickly in the rice cooker.

Growing up in Hawaii, I actually thought there were exactly two kinds of rice, Japanese and Chinese. Both of them were polished white rice but the Japanese rice was stickier. Since those childhood days (in Hawaii, we refer to this period as "small kid time" or "hanabatta days"), I've eaten rices from around the world, white, red, brown, black.

In the recipe that follows, cook the couscous as directed, then add the other ingredients in the warm cycle. The steam helps to combine the flavors. Use the radishes now in your neighborhood farmers markets, if possible. Add when the dish is served in bowls.

Israeli couscous, dried sour cherries, olives and radishes
Serves 2

1 cup Israeli couscous

2 cups water or broth

Approximate measures below:

1/4 cup dried sour cherries

1/8 cup nicoise olives, pitted

1/2 tsp organic lemon zest

salt, pepper to taste, Secret Stash Sea Salts would be great here

organic radishes, diced, and radish greens, shredded

In rice cooker, cook 1 cup of couscous in 2 cups of water or broth.

On the basic models, turn on the rice cooker by setting the switch to the cooking cycle. When the cooking cycle is complete, the rice cooker will flip the switch to the warming cycle. When the warming cycle starts, add the olives and dried sour cherries and toss to combine. Let the mixture sit for at least 10 minutes, up to 1 hour.

My old rice cooker just has a heavy lid that fits snugly over the rice pot so I place a kitchen towel over the rice cooker while on the warming cycle. More sophisticated models have a sealed cover that sounds like doors on the starship Enterprise when you open the lid.

After 10 minutes or more, add approximately 1/2 tsp. lemon zest to the rice mixture and toss to combine. Dice up radishes and shred the radish greens. Divide the mixture into two bowls and top each with the radishes and greens. Serve immediately.

See Foodista for more on Israeli couscous.

Recipe adapted from The Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook: 250 No-Fail Recipes for Pilafs, Risottos, Polenta, Chilis, Soups, Porridges, Puddings and More, from Start to Finish in Your Rice Cooker, by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann, Harvard Common Press, 2003.

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