Cheesy Veg’n’Rice

This is in 3 layers: rice, vegetables of your choice, cheese of your choice. It only looks complicated!

Prepare the rice. Short grain brown rice will make a stickier rice; if you make extra, you can add milk to it next morning for breakfast. Long grain brown rice is more usual. Measure out 125 ml (1/2 cup) rice per person; rinse to get rid of dust, and pick out anything non-rice. Put into a saucepan with almost twice the amount of water (this will vary with the rice; experience will tell you, so just watch over it); bring the rice and water to a boil, and then turn down to simmer for about 30 minutes. Sometimes the rice will need a little extra boiling water near the end, so check it: if it looks dry but the rice is still too chewy, add a little water.

Prepare the vegetables. My top choices are carrots (1 per person), sweet potatoes (1/2 per person) and broccoli (1/2 head per person). Rinse them and cut off anything that looks rotten; if possible, leave the skin on the two root vegetables to get that extra bit of flavor and nutrition. If you are new to knife skills, you might want to chop everything before beginning the next section, and just follow the timing.

One inch (a couple of cm) of water goes into the 2 litre (2 qt) saucepan, then the steaming basket, and put on the lid. Bring the pot to a boil; it will happen quickly. Chop the carrots into 4 cm (an inch and a half) pieces and put them into the basket over the steaming water; start timing from this point, approximately 20 minutes. Chop the sweet potatoes into similar sized pieces and add about 5 minutes after the carrots. Chop the broccoli into florets, and add 5 minutes after the sweet potatoes. Check all the veggies after another 5 or so minutes, poking them with a fork to see if they are tender enough to eat. Try not to overcook the broccoli; once that beautiful bright green is gone, it’s not so nice.

Grate some cheese, about 1 oz per person. A medium or sharp cheddar is very nice, a mozzarella melts beautifully, and real parmesan (not the pre-grated stuff) is an intense taste sensation.

Rice goes onto the plate first, then the veggies, and then the cheese. If you have a little salsa or pickles on the side, you’ve taken it up one more notch.

Good eating!

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