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Side Dishes

Adapted from The Healthy Jewish Kitchen
Fresh, Contemporary Recipes for Every Occasion
By Paula Shoyer, Sterling Publishing

Imagine my surprise when I learned two ways to make rice more digestible, more nutritious, and less caloric. First I discovered that soaking rice in water and an acid for at least seven hours or overnight neutralizes phytic acid, which prevents the absorption of key minerals, and soaking breaks down certain proteins, making the rice more digestible. Then researchers in Sri Lanka developed a method of adding coconut oil to the rice, cooking it as you normally would, and then chilling it for 12 hours before reheat¬ing and eating it, thereby reducing the calories in the rice by 10 percent. Clearly, these methods require planning but not much added work. The addition of herbs, spices, nuts, and fruit is my nod to those wonderful rice mixes you can buy at Machane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem. This recipe has an estimated amount of dried fruit that, when chopped, adds up to 1 cup. You can mix and match the ones you like best. You can make this recipe with 1 cup of any kind of rice (3 cups cooked) and omit the soaking and chilling if you are pressed for time.


1 cup (160g) white rice (basmati or jasmine)
2 cups (480ml) water
2 tablespoons lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons coconut oil
¾ teaspoon ground turmeric, divided
½ cup (60g) slivered almonds
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped into ½-inch (12-mm) pieces
5 pitted dates, chopped into ½-inch (12-mm) pieces
5 dried apricots, chopped into ½-inch (12-mm) pieces
3 dried figs
4 prunes, chopped into ½-inch (12-mm) pieces
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


Place the rice, water, and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Stir and cover the rice, and let it sit for at least 7 hours.
Add the coconut oil and ½ teaspoon of the turmeric to the saucepan and then bring the rice to a boil. Cover and cook the rice for a little less time than the directions on the package, or until the water is absorbed. Let the rice cool, fluff it with a fork to separate the grains, and then refrigerate it for 12 hours or overnight.
Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the almonds and cook them, stirring them often, until they are toasted and golden. Transfer the almonds to a small bowl to let them cool. Add the olive oil to the pan and add the onions. Cook the onions for 5 minutes, or until they are lightly browned.

Add the dates, apricots, figs, prunes, cumin, remaining ¼ teaspoon turmeric, paprika, and cinnamon and mix well. Cook the mixture for 2 minutes. Add the rice and cook it for 5 minutes, stirring it often and breaking up any clumps of rice. Add the salt and pepper, then taste to see if you need more. Add herbs and mix them in well.
Place the rice in a serving bowl and sprinkle the almonds on top.

Gluten-free, Vegan • Serves 4 to 6


 Recipe: Kosher, Vegan, Side Dish


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