Ginger Rice Pilaf with Chickpeas
Ginger rice is a simple yet flavorful dish that is a great side for a heartier meal. It can also be served as a main component of a vegetarian meal. It has a hint of ginger spicy-ness, plus earthy-ness from the ground cumin. It’s a well-rounded dish that is sure to take a place in your regular weeknight dinner rotation.
The purpose of rinsing rice before cooking is to get rid of the extra starch. This makes a final dish where the rice grains are less clumped together. I like to use a fine mesh strainer to rinse the rice under running water. While the water is running, be sure to swish the rice grains with your hands, as this will help remove the excess starch. Drain well before moving onto the next step. I often will rinse the rice earlier in the day and let it sit on the counter to drain over a bowl.
Soaking Rice Before Cooking
I like to soak rice before cooking it, as I find that the grains in the final dish have a better, less chalky mouth feel. However, there is much debate over whether or not to soak rice! I fall firmly in the “need to soak” category for white rice. For brown rice, I usually cook it like pasta, or what’s called the drain method. Either way, if you don’t have the extra 15-20 minutes to soak your white rice, don’t fret too much. But I do find it’s an easy task while I’m gathering the other ingredients for the meal. Try it and let me know what you think!
Ginger Rice served with…
- 1 cup white rice (use your favorite variety)
- 1 inch knob fresh ginger
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 scallion
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter or extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 14.5 oz. can chickpeas
- In a fine mesh strainer, rinse rice until water runs clear. Drain well, and then put in a small bowl and cover with water. Leave to soak for 20 minutes. Drain again.
- Meanwhile, use a microplane to grate ginger and garlic. Thinly slice scallion. Drain chickpeas and set aside.
- Melt 2 Tablespoons butter over medium heat in a sauce pan with a tight fitting lid. Add grated ginger, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring often, so it doesn't burn. Let cook 3-4 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups of water (this amount may vary, use the rice package instructions to determine this) and bring to a boil. Add drained chickpeas and drained rice. Give a stir, and cover pot. Turn heat down to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes (or according to package instructions).
- After 20 minutes, remove pot from heat. Lift the lid briefly and toss 1 Tablespoon of butter on top of the cooked rice. Don't stir at this point. Cover again and let sit for 10 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork and garnish with sliced scallion.