Afghani Fried Brown Rice (recipe)

Afghani Fried Rice

This colorful and aromatic form of fried rice makes an exciting alternative to plain rice or Asian fried rices. The addition of ras-al-hanout makes it highly aromatic, and caramelized onion slices add just the right hint of sweetness.

Bayleaf Tree There’s nothing like having access to fresh home-grown ingredients. Case in point, our bayleaf tree (see left). Bayleaf is one of those flavours that I find hard to describe but I can always identify it in a dish. We use the leaves both fresh and dried, e.g. in my ras-al-hanout, in chilis and also in curries. :) Since bay leaf was also used in this recipe I thought it would be a good subject matter for this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging (hosted this time around by Susan from FoodBlogga)

Until I started researching this post I never realized that bay leaves were what Roman laurels were made from, nor did I know that the high esteem that this plant was held in continues to this day when we call esteemed individuals ‘laureates’ or receive a college degree (baccalaureate)!

I always take the bayleaf out of the dish when I am finished cooking, but with my mother it is rather hit or miss. In her words “yuh stupid enough to eat it?” :lol: … can’t argue with no-nonsense practicality like that! Gotta love West Indian moms :P

Several years ago I read that the reason for removing the leaf was because it was indigestible and would kill a person if consumed :shock: Fortunately, it turns out that that is just a myth. It is removed because it is too bitter and tough to be pleasurable to the palate. Phew! Still, common sense aside, I’ll stick to removing the leaf from my dishes nevertheless :D

From Wikipedia:

Bay leaves are a fixture in the cooking of many European cuisines (particularly those of the Mediterranean), as well as in North America. They are used in soups, stews, meat, seafood, and vegetable dishes. The leaves also flavor classic French dishes such as bouillabaise and bouillon. The leaves are most often used whole (sometimes in a bouquet garni), and removed before serving. In Indian cuisine, bay leaves are often used in biriyani.

Bay leaves can also be crushed (or ground) before cooking. Crushed bay leaves impart more of their desired fragrance than whole leaves, and there is less chance of biting into a leaf directly.

Bay Leaves

From CulinaryCafe.com

The Bay Leaf is useful in hearty, homestyle cooking. When you are making bean, split pea and vegetable soups, meat stews, spaghetti sauce, and chili, a Bay leaf can be added for a more pungent flavor. Alternate whole Bay Leaves with meat, seafood, or vegetables on skewers before cooking. Be sure to remove Bay Leaves before eating a dish that has finished cooking. The whole leaves are used to impart flavor only and are bitter and hard to chew.

Afghani Fried Brown Rice
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Serving Size: 4

Ingredients:

2 cups rice
5 tablespoons oil
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon ras-al-hanout
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt

Directions:

1. Soak the rice for 15 minutes. Wash well and drain.
2. Heat the oil in a pot and fry the onions until light brown.
3. Add the ras-al-hanout and bay leaf, and sauté 5 minutes.
3. Add the sugar and let it caramelize.

4. Add the rice and saute for 2 minutes.
5. Add salt to taste and 4 cups boiling water
6. Cook for 9-10 minutes until the rice is perfectly cooked.

Afghani Fried Rice

This post was first published July 14, 2007. It has been updated once since then.

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Passionate foodie, founder of Trinigourmet and Caribbean Lifestyle Maven. Author of "Glam By Request: 30+ Easy Caribbean Recipes"

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  • http://www.theperfectpantry.com Lydia

    You’re so lucky to have a bay leaf tree! I always have ras-el-hanout in my pantry, so I’ll give this recipe a try. Thank!

  • http://www.theperfectpantry.com Lydia

    You’re so lucky to have a bay leaf tree! I always have ras-el-hanout in my pantry, so I’ll give this recipe a try. Thank!

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    Lydia – Yeah I love seeing it (the top part is out side my bedroom window :D ) and being able to go out and pick off it whenever i want hahahaha :D Give the recipe a try, you may need to put more salt… I was reluctant to raise the level in the recipe too much as salt is such a personal / health-related thing :)

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    Lydia – Yeah I love seeing it (the top part is out side my bedroom window :D ) and being able to go out and pick off it whenever i want hahahaha :D Give the recipe a try, you may need to put more salt… I was reluctant to raise the level in the recipe too much as salt is such a personal / health-related thing :)

  • http://foodblogga.blogspot.com Susan from Food Blogga

    Hi Sarina! Thanks for the funny and informative WHB entry! You’re mom sounds like a hoot! I’ve always cooked with dried bay leaves until just recently when I purchased fresh bay leaves at the farmers’ market; I find the fresh ones more flavorful and can’t wait to try this recipe! You are so fortunate to have that lovely tree in your own yard.

  • http://foodblogga.blogspot.com Susan from Food Blogga

    Hi Sarina! Thanks for the funny and informative WHB entry! You’re mom sounds like a hoot! I’ve always cooked with dried bay leaves until just recently when I purchased fresh bay leaves at the farmers’ market; I find the fresh ones more flavorful and can’t wait to try this recipe! You are so fortunate to have that lovely tree in your own yard.

  • http://www.tastesofguyana.blogspot.com Cynthia

    Hiya, how are you? Sorry for not visiting often enough, been bogged down with deadlines and other stuff.

    What exactly is ras-el-hanout – I would really like to try this version of fried rice because it sounds so flavourful.

  • http://www.tastesofguyana.blogspot.com Cynthia

    Hiya, how are you? Sorry for not visiting often enough, been bogged down with deadlines and other stuff.

    What exactly is ras-el-hanout – I would really like to try this version of fried rice because it sounds so flavourful.

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    Susan – So glad you enjoyed this post :) My mom definitely has a no-nonsense dry sense of humour, made even funnier because she’s usually being quite serious! :lol:

    Cynthia – not a problem, I know you’re busy and all :) My internet access is intermittent which is why I don’t comment as much as I would like either :( Read you were off to Guyana to do some food photog stuff? So cool! Ras al hanout is a North African spice blend, I blogged about it in more detail here :)

    www.trinigourmet.com/index.php/ras-al-hanout-recipe/

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    Susan – So glad you enjoyed this post :) My mom definitely has a no-nonsense dry sense of humour, made even funnier because she’s usually being quite serious! :lol:

    Cynthia – not a problem, I know you’re busy and all :) My internet access is intermittent which is why I don’t comment as much as I would like either :( Read you were off to Guyana to do some food photog stuff? So cool! Ras al hanout is a North African spice blend, I blogged about it in more detail here :)

    www.trinigourmet.com/index.php/ras-al-hanout-recipe/

  • http://www.aweekinthelifeofaredhead.com A Week In The Life of A Redhea

    Wow this looks so good. I am going to have to try it this week.
    Maybe my son will actually eat rice for a change!
    Catherine, the redhead

  • http://www.aweekinthelifeofaredhead.com A Week In The Life of A Redhead

    Wow this looks so good. I am going to have to try it this week.
    Maybe my son will actually eat rice for a change!
    Catherine, the redhead

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    Week – Hi and welcome! :) I hope you and your son will like it :) Adjust the seasonings at the end, it may need more salt :) I also have tons more rice recipes, maybe there is something there that your son will like… rice is great! :D

    www.trinigourmet.com/index.php/category/rice/

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    Week – Hi and welcome! :) I hope you and your son will like it :) Adjust the seasonings at the end, it may need more salt :) I also have tons more rice recipes, maybe there is something there that your son will like… rice is great! :D

    www.trinigourmet.com/index.php/category/rice/

  • http://kalynskitchen.blogspot.com Kalyn

    Sarina, this recipe really looks like a winner. I agree, you’re so lucky tohave your own laurel tree. I bet it smells wonderful. And now I am feeling guilty because I still have not made any of this spice blend even though I saved your recipe months ago!

  • http://kalynskitchen.blogspot.com Kalyn

    Sarina, this recipe really looks like a winner. I agree, you’re so lucky tohave your own laurel tree. I bet it smells wonderful. And now I am feeling guilty because I still have not made any of this spice blend even though I saved your recipe months ago!

  • http://caribbeangarden.blogspot.com Nicole

    Just thought I’d let you know I found out last year that what we call bay leaf is actually the bay rum tree leaf. bay laurel is the European bay lea.

  • http://caribbeangarden.blogspot.com Nicole

    Just thought I’d let you know I found out last year that what we call bay leaf is actually the bay rum tree leaf. bay laurel is the European bay lea.

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    Nicole – that’s really interesting! it gets really confusing how often the same terms are applied to different things :)

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    Nicole – that’s really interesting! it gets really confusing how often the same terms are applied to different things :)

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  • Divine

    I made this yesterday for a dinner party and everyone loved it, I had fresh bay leaf also and the aroma filled the house, thanks for the post!!

    • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

      Nice! :) I’m so glad it worked well for you and your friends :) i love how aromatic it is too! :)

  • Divine

    I made this yesterday for a dinner party and everyone loved it, I had fresh bay leaf also and the aroma filled the house, thanks for the post!!

    • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

      Nice! :) I’m so glad it worked well for you and your friends :) i love how aromatic it is too! :)

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  • Bernie

    I'm a "wing it" type of cook, and I "winged" this recipe tonight. I also ended up eating the whole pot of rice (small pot, fortunately). Yet another flavour combination to file away for future use. WOnderful!!!! :)

  • Bernie

    I'm a "wing it" type of cook, and I "winged" this recipe tonight. I also ended up eating the whole pot of rice (small pot, fortunately). Yet another flavour combination to file away for future use. WOnderful!!!! :)

  • nks

    where do i buy the ras-al hanout?? And usually in Afghani restaurants you find the rice to be super brown in color so would the ras-al hanout caramelize the rice as well??

  • nks

    where do i buy the ras-al hanout?? And usually in Afghani restaurants you find the rice to be super brown in color so would the ras-al hanout caramelize the rice as well??

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