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Stuck-Pot Rice with Yogurt and Mango

If you know me at all, you know I have those days when I am far too lazy/pre-occupied/busy/scatter-brained just like to let the food speak for itself...through photos and recipes.  This is gonna be one of those days.  We've had a run of gorgeous get-outside-kinda-weather!  Humidity has lifted, sun is shining, sky is clear, breeze is teasing...must enjoy while we can!  Here's a little something I cooked up in the midst of all the nasty heat a few days back...yes, it required the stove to be on, but the way it was cooked (w/ a towel wrapped around the lid), no steam escaped and extra heat to add to the muggy misery.

Stuck-Pot Rice w/ Yogurt and Mango
from HTCEV by Mark Bittman

1 1/2 c. white or brown basmati rice  I used white basmati
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 c. neutral oil  I used coconut oil
1/4 c. plain yogurt, preferably whole milk
1 Tbs. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 Tbs. curry powder  I used homemade
1 medium mango, peel & chop (~1 c.)
1" pc. of fresh ginger, peeled & chopped

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and salt it.  Stir in rice and return to boil, then lower heat so water bubbles along nicely.  Cook undisturbed (white rice ~5 mins, brown rice ~15 mins).  Drain & set aside.  It'll only be partially done.  Add a sprinkle more salt and grate some pepper over it.

Put 2 Tbs. of the oil in a blender jar...add the yogurt, lime juice, curry powder, mango & ginger.  Blend until smooth.  Toss rice w/ a third of the mixture and save the rest for eating with the rice.  I had a brain fart and mixed ALL of the yogurt mixture with the rice here.  I realized once I mixed it all together.  Oops...oddly enough, it didn't seem to matter!? 

Put remaining oil in large, heavy pot with tight-fitting lid over medium-high.  Add the rice mixture, pressing it down in the pan.  I found a heat "proof" spatula/spreader to work very well for this task.  Wrap a clean kitchen towel around the lid of the pot so that it completely covers the inside of the lid, with the corners gathered on top so they don't fall anywhere near the flame!  Cover the pot to seal the rim.  The mixture will sizzle immediately.  When you smell the spices in ~3-5 mins., turn the heat down very low.  Cook, completely undisturbed, for ~30 mins., or until the rice smells toasty, but not burnt.  Remove from heat and let sit another 5 minutes.
Carefully remove the lid and cloth and turn the pot upside down over a plate.  If the rice crust doesn't come out in a single piece, use a spatula to scrape the crisp pieces out of the pan and put them on top of the rice.  Serve immediately.  Mine flipped out wonderfully...and since I used the rest of my yogurt mixture right in the rice, I just mixed up a bit more yogurt w/ some lime juice and added some extra mango chunks for serving.

This was oddly addictive.  A bit of spice from the curry powder...a bit of sweet from the mango...a bit of creamy from the yogurt...and a beautiful crisp crust that I found myself wishing could have permeated the whole of the rice. Very cooling and pleasant in a weird sort of way on a hot summer day.  I thought this was a perfect dish for beating the heat...paired with some icey cold water!  What can I say...icey cold water is delicious.

I hope...that wherever you're having a wonderful day!

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