Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Pilaf de ciuperci

“Mushroom rice”

Rice dishes were introduced to Romania during the period of the Ottoman occupation and are still fairly popular today in home cooking. Most Romanian stores will have several varieties of rice for sale: long grain, short grain, wild rice, and even boil-in-the-bag rice. This rice dish is cooked in the oven, which, if you are not in a hurry, tends to be quite a fool-proof way of preparing it, reducing not only the risk of the bottom of the pan burning as it so often does when cooked on the hob, but also the temptation to over-stir the rice, bashing the starch out of it, and causing it to become excessively sticky. Like many Romanian dishes, I find the quantity of oil to be perhaps a little too generous, so I will generally reduce the quantity by half; 3 tablespoons will usually do for the quantities below. The recipe is also good for periods of ‘post’ when religious Romanians fast, omitted animal products from their diet in the lead up to celebrations such as Easter, essentially a vegan diet.

Servings: 3-4
Time: 60 minutes

2/3 cup of rice
1 medium onion
300g of mushrooms
100ml of oil (olive or vegetable) or 3 tablespoons (lower-fat version!)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups (500ml) of water
A handful of chopped parsley

1. Preheat the oven to about 210C.
2. Chop up the onion reasonably finely.
3. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof pan with a lid.
4. Add the onions to the oil and cook on a medium heat until they are soft and turning golden in colour.
5. Chop the mushrooms up, as coarsely or as finely as you like – I do them in rough chunks about 1cm square.
6. Wash the rice and add it to the onions and, stirring, allow it to cook gently for a minute or two.
7. Add the mushrooms to the onion and rice and, stirring from time to time, fry for about 5 minutes until the mushrooms decrease in size.
8. Add the two cups of water, mix well, put on the lid, and place in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes. Check from time to time to make sure it hasn’t dried out – if it has, add a little more water.
9. Cook until the rice is soft and edible and the water has been absorbed. If it has cooked but there is still a little too much moisture, just leave the lid off the five minutes or so.
10. Check the seasoning, mix in some of the parsley, empty into a serving bowl, and sprinkle the remaining parsley on top.
11. Serve hot or cold.


Dilip said...

Hi there

Very interesting recipe. What kind of rice is best for this and where can one find it.

Can I make this with Basmati rice



Dilip said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Romfoody said...

Hi Dilip,

There's no reason why you couldn't make it with Basmati, it's all a matter of personal preference. Here they more commonly use regular rice (long and short grain are typically available) although I've noticed in recent years wild rice, Basmati rice and other types appearing in the shops.