This recipe was the first one that my mother decided to try from my copy of The Good Home Cookbook: More Than 1000 Classic American Recipes. Since then she’s made it at least twice a month and I never tire of it. Smoky, spicy, and heavily herbed it is almost a main dish by itself
“Arroz verde, “ or green rice, is not as well known as Spanish rice, but it is an equally good choice to accompany Mexican food. Fresh cilantro and parsley lend the rice the green color and distinct herbal flavour.
Although the recipe calls for cilantro, we use a very similar (but much more pungent) herb called culantro or, in the local parlance, shadon beni or bhandhania. This herb is one that goes freely near our house so we just go outside with some clippers whenever we want some! A little goes a long way which is why the end results are probably not as ‘green’ as they would be if cilantro was used.
Because chadon beni is such a wonderful ‘wild weed’ I thought I would share some more information about it here, as well as submit this post to the Wild Weeds food challenge.
Eryngium foetidum (also known as Bhandhanya, Chandon benit, Culantro, Fitweed, Long coriander, Mexican coriander, Wild coriander, Recao, Spiritweed, Sawtooth, and Saw-leaf herb), is a tropical perennial and annual herb in the family Apiaceae. It is native to Mexico and South America, but is cultivated worldwide.
E. foetidum is widely used in seasoning and marinating in the Caribbean. It is also used extensively in Thailand, India, Vietnam, and other parts of Asia as a culinary herb. This variety of coriander dries well, retaining good color and flavor, making it valuable in the dried herb industry. It is sometimes used as a substitute for cilantro, but has a much stronger taste.
Medicinally, the leaves and roots are used in tea to stimulate appetite, improve digestion, combat colic, soothe stomach pains, eliminate gases and as an aphrodisiac.
Shadon beni is a key flavouring in Trinidad’s Green Seasoning, and also a popular condiment on various fried street foods, not to mentioned Fried Fish n Bake. Recently a reader asked me to post a recipe for Shadon Beni sauce so look forward to that in the near future, until then … enjoy the following recipe for Green Rice
Serving Size: 4
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno chile pepper, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsely
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup long-grain white rice
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat
2. Add the onion and jalapeno and saute until softened, about 3 minutes
3. Add the garlic, cumin, salt, cilantro, and parsley and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds
4. Remove from the heat and transfer to a blender with 1/2 cup of broth.
5. Blend until smooth and set aside
6. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet over medium heat
7. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until translucent, 1 to 2 minutes
8. Add the herb puree and cook, stirring, to evaporate most of the liquid, about 2 to 3 minutes
9. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups broth, stir, cover, an reduce the heat to medium-low
10. Simmer, without stirring, until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes
11. Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes
12. Fluff with a fork and serve, garnished with additional cilantro