Enjoy of a bowl of warm, chewy red rice interlaced with sweet tomatoes and sprinkled with pistachios and avocado for color and crunch. Simplicity at its best, every bite is hearty and earthy.
By Mariela Alvarez Toro
This recipe I am sharing today was our first meal out while camping. We had just driven out of a gray, quaint Portland, and into the coast through a thick rain forest. Our camp was located along Oregon’s Dunes. Having left behind a beautiful drive through some of the most dramatic landscapes of Oregon, we set out to explore the shore for several hours, then start what would become our routine for the next several days: set up camp by assembling our tent then unpacking the sleeping bags, start collecting kindling to build a fire, then, finally setting up “the kitchen” for dinner.
This night’s menu revolved around red rice (new discovery I am in love with), canned tomatoes, pistachios, and avocados. As this was the first dinner, I was uncertain about how long everything would take to cook, and if it would even taste any good. But I knew I had to make it work, as we were both tired and hungry. After some trial and error with our little burner I had a nice pot of rice, water, and salt coming to a simmer on a patch of grass by the fire. Within forty-five minutes we found ourselves devouring a bowl of warm, chewy red rice interlaced with sweet tomatoes and sprinkled with pistachios for color and crunch. Just thinking about this recipe makes me hungry. Simplicity at its best, every bite is hearty and earthy. Delicious!
- 1 cup of rice of choice (brown, red, or white)
- 2 ½ cups of water
- 1 pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. cumin powder
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- ¼ cup shelled pistachios
- 1 handful of cilantro, optional
- Pinch of flaky sea salt for serving, optional
- 1 avocado, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt, optional
- Place water, rice, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and pinch of salt in a pot. Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium and cook until most of the water has been absorbed. Cover pot and cook for 20-30 minutes over low heat.
- Adjust cooking time depending on the type of rice you are using (longer, about 30 minutes for brown or red rice, or shorter, 15-20 minutes for white rice). Taste for seasoning and doneness after this time has passed.
- If rice is not done, add half a cup of water at a time until and continue to cook over low heat until rice is soft with a little bit of a chew.
- Add canned tomatoes and cumin powder into rice pot. Stir, then cook over low heat for another 5-7 minutes.
- When ready to serve add remaining tablespoon of olive oil, pistachios, cilantro if using, and a pinch of flaky sea salt. Serve in a bowl with avocado slices.
Recently graduated with from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. She has recently completed "People in Food-Space", an ethnographic study on the cultural production of taste in space. She has also examined post-soviet food production systems and housing projects in Havana, Cuba. Originally from Puerto Rico, Mariela has been living in the United States for eight years. She has involved herself in both teaching and practice, while writing on food at tastyplan.com. Her goal as a food writer is to cook creatively, using the best ingredients to find new flavor combinations every day.