2 1/2 cups water
1 tsp plus 1/2 tsp salt
pepper, to taste
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, stemmed, seeded and minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press
1 1/2 cups basmati or plain long-grain rice, rinsed
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced
1 medium tomato (about 1/2 cup), halved, seeded and diced small
juice from 1 lime (about 1 tbsp)
Note: A wide-bottomed saucepan with a tight-fitting lid works best for evenly cooked rice. We prefer olive oil for this dish, but butter can be used as well.
Bring water to a boil, covered, in a small saucepan. Add 1 tsp salt and season with pepper to taste; cover to keep hot.
Meanwhile, combine onion, jalepenos, oil and 1/2 tsp salt in a large saucepan. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Increase heat to medium and add tomato paste and garlic. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add rice and stir to coat the grains with oil. Cook until edges of grains begin to turn translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in hot seasoned water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until all the water is absorbed, 16 to 18 minutes.
Remove pot from heat and add cilantro and tomato but do not mix in. Lay a clean, folded kitchen towel overtop pot, underneath lid, and recover. Let stand for 10 minutes, then add lime juice and fluff rice with a fork; season with salt and pepper to taste. Great with Joshna Maharaj's flexitarian chicken and/or mushroom mole.