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With 1.75 billion inhabitants, Southeast Asia is a subregion of Asia that encompasses different countries like Southern China, Southeastern India, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and others. This region has countless languages, dialects, religions, and millennia of history behind it… this may be the reason why this region is so difficult to define!
The Flavors of Southeast Asia
Given the diversity of cultures and religions, different flavors and ingredients coexist constituting its incredible and mesmerizing cuisine. Hindus, for example, avoid beef meat and consume great amounts of dairy products like yogurt and cheese, whereas Muslims consume goat meat and different varieties of curries on a daily basis. Legumes like lentils, grains like rice or flatbreads like naan or chapati are frequently consumed, together with spices like ginger, lemongrass, chili peppers, coriander and pandan leaves among many others!
The Role of Rice
As you may know, rice is consumed in every country of the world, but it is extremely popular in Southeast Asian cuisine; this place is considered to be the home of rice, and its origin may be traced back ten thousand years back.
In China, given its humid conditions and its wet rural environment, rice was cultivated and harvested in great amounts, and it quickly became a staple ingredient in their cuisine and in the cuisine of its neighboring countries.
This historical grain can be found in many different types and, depending on how producers process them, can be either brown or white. Not only is it nutritious, but rice is also pretty versatile: it can be used to produce flour, rice syrups, milk, and even oil.
This grain also has many health benefits: a serving provides us with healthy fats, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, magnesium and phosphorus. Rice consumption may even help us maintain a healthy weight, protect us against chronic diseases, provide us with energy and restore our glycogen levels after working out. Moreover, it is a gluten-free grain and it also is easy on our digestive system… This grain has it all.
In Southeast Asia, Jasmine rice is very popular. This is a long-grain, fragrant variety of rice that is commonly used in dishes like curries. It is typically used steamed and it may also be eaten with vegetable stir-fries, or with grilled or stewed meats.
Try cooking jasmine rice at home with the following recipe, and bring some of the famous and delicious Southeast Asian flavors to your table!
Thai Curry Exquisite Rice-Based Dish
This dish can be consumed by gluten intolerants, vegans, vegetarians and even meat lovers if some animal protein, like chicken or lamb, is added.
Get ready to cook the perfect curry recipe in only thirty minutes!
- 2 cups of Jasmine rice.
- 2 carrots.
- 1 red bell pepper.
- 1 green bell pepper.
- 2 cloves of garlic.
- 2½ cups of vegetable broth.
- 1 can of coconut milk.
- 2 tbsp of coconut oil
- 1 tbsp of grated ginger.
- 2 tbsp of red curry paste.
- Juice of a lime.
- Use a large-sized pot to heat up some olive or coconut oil. Once it is hot enough, add the thinly sliced carrots together with the green and red bell peppers.
- Sautée them until they are crispy and slightly brown (3 to 4 minutes will be enough).
- Add minced garlic, grated ginger and curry paste; continue stirring all the ingredients together until the paste is fully mixed and until fragrant.
- Now let’s move to the rice: start by rinsing the jasmine rice under running water and try to drain it with a strainer.
- After doing this, add the grain to the vegetable and seasoning mixture, and stir again for about two to three minutes.
- Pour the vegetable broth and the coconut milk, raise heat to high and let it boil.
- After the vegetable-broth-coconut-milk-curry rice is boiling, reduce the heat again and put a lid over the pan. Cook it covered for about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Remove the lid and make sure all liquid has been absorbed by the rice and that it is fully cooked and fluffy enough. Add the juice of a lime to finish.
- Serve hot and enjoy!
If you want, add some toasted nuts before serving to give some crunchy texture to this delicious Southeastern dish.
Also, if you eat meat, try adding shredded chicken, you’ll love this!