One of my favorite things to experiment with is white rice. Simmering rice with various liquids and ingredients always makes for a delicious side dish. Let me warn you that this recipe in particular features an ingredient that people love or hate…cilantro. In fact, recent studies have shown that some people have a genetic predisposition to dislike cilantro. These people often describe the taste as being “soapy”. There’s even an “I hate cilantro” Facebook group with nearly 14,000 users and website dedicated to this genetically challenged (yes I’m biased) group.
Fortunately I have not run into any “cilantrophobes” and I can assure you that nobody in our family falls into this group, so we tend to use quite a bit of it in our cooking. Enter one of our favorite dishes – Drunken Cilantro Rice. While this dish is only made of up 5 simple ingredients, its flavor packs a punch. I had made this countless times on a stovetop, but even my largest plan can only hold 3 cups of rice. Not nearly enough when I’m having a large party. I was excited to give this a try in the Ninja since I know I could probably fit twice as many cups in there if I needed to.
I decided to base this recipe on 2 cups which results in a 6-8 servings. Feel free to double or half the ingredients if you need more or less.
Drunken Cilantro Rice
My biggest challenge doing this with the Ninja instead of a pan on the stovetop was temperature control. If you boil down the liquid too fast you'll end up with rice that isn't cooked through. If you keep opening the top you'll also lose steam needed to cook the rice effectively, so resist the urge to check it over and over again.
- Turn the Ninja on to the high stovetop setting and let it get hot. This took a lot longer than it normally takes me on the stovetop, but I expected that.
- Add a tbsp of oil. I used olive oil, but vegetable oil works fine as well.
- Add the rice and let it cook for a few minutes.
- As it starts to brown add the cilantro and scallions and stir into rice. You should be enjoying the nice aroma at this point.
- After rice is fairly brown add in the chicken broth and beer. Taste the liquid mixture and season with salt to taste. I find that it should be a little saltier than you'd like the end result to taste.
- Squeeze in lime juice and stir one last time.
- Cover and bring to boil.
- As soon as it starts boiling switch to Slow Cook high settings. On a stovetop I would normally just turn the burner to low, but I found with the Ninja that doing so did not take the heat down quick enough and I was worried the liquid would evaporate too quickly.
- Keep the lid closed for 10 minutes. Open to check there is still liquid and cook another 5 minutes or until liquid is gone.
- Place the lid back on and let it sit for a minimum of 10 minutes.
Serving - This dish has quite a bit of cilantro already but I like to top it with a tiny bit of fresh cilantro for presentation.
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