Sunday, December 14, 2014

Basil-Mint Fried Rice

How many variations of stir-fry can this lady make? Hmmm... Probably a few more. Rice and veggies are always in my kitchen.

From left to right: Mint, cilantro, and basil.
There are a few details that set this stir-fry apart from the others. The most obvious is the addition of fresh basil, mint, and cilantro after cooking. If you ever have a chance, do try Thai basil (you just might have to grow it yourself). It's peppery, anise-y, spicy basil flavor is delicious in stir-fry but in my case, I used good ol' Genovese basil. 

In order to make the flavors more integrate, I also chopped the vegetables very small. This way you get a bit of everything in one bite.

Frozen basil cubes
Fresh herbs are fantastic when available but are not always a feasible option. I found a few vendors at my farmer's market who had an abundance of basil at prices I was willing to pay. I washed the basil and let it dry. Then I put the leaves in my mini-food processor with enough olive oil to get things moving. I pulsed the basil, adding a drizzle of oil as needed, until the basil was basically a paste. Then I spooned the basil paste into ice cube trays. The oil is necessary because basil will turn black if frozen on its own. I was concerned about the basil absorbing any scents from the freezer so I wrapped the ice cube trays in plastic wrap. Once the basil cubes were frozen, I removed them from the ice cube trays and placed them in a freezer bag. 

These are very simple to use. I just drop one or two into the pan of whatever I'm cooking right at the end, whether that's stir-fried rice, pasta, or tomato sauce. Enjoy!