JJ Johnson's Rice Recipes!

September 27, 2023

Mhmmm! Chef JJ Johnson gives us the best rice recipes 🍚

​​With typical Nigerian flair, this fried rice is packed with big, bold flavors and lots of spice. It’s a convenient one-pot meal, whether you use a cast-iron skillet or a wok. In Nigeria, this kitchen sink–style fried rice would typically be bursting with prawns, shrimp, or liver, but I prefer the taste
of ground lamb (substitute plant-based ground meat, chicken, or beef, if you prefer). Make sure you sauté the spices for a minute or two before adding the rice, to pop the flavors.
1⁄2 pound ground lamb
1 teaspoon kosher salt (preferably Diamond Crystal)
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly
ground black pepper
1⁄3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1⁄4 cup vegetable oil
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, roughly chopped
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and roughly chopped
2 scallions, sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons curry powder
1⁄2 teaspoon dried thyme
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1 chicken bouillon cube (such as Maggi brand), crushed
4 cups chilled cooked
long-grain white rice
1⁄3 cup frozen corn
kernels, defrosted
1⁄3 cup frozen peas, defrosted

For the Nigerian Lamb Fried Rice:
1. Put the lamb in a medium bowl, season with half the salt and the black pepper, and stir in half the parsley.
2. Add half the vegetable oil to a large cast-iron skillet or wok set over medium-high heat. Crumble the ground meat into the pan and cook, breaking up any clumps with a potato masher or wooden spoon, for about 8 minutes, until well browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a plate and set aside.
3. Add the remaining vegetable oil to the pan, then add the onion, carrot, bell pepper, scallions and garlic and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, until the onion is softened and lightly colored. Add the curry powder, thyme, white pepper, and crushed bouillon cube and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes, until thoroughly incorporated and fragrant.
4. Add the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, until the rice is heated through. Add the corn and cook for 1 minute, then stir in the browned lamb and cook for about 6 minutes, until well blended. Add the peas and cook for several minutes, until the peas are tender and the rice is lightly caramelized, and the edges are crusty.
5. Stir in the remaining chopped parsley and serve right from the pan.

This is a classic recipe for one of my favorite rice desserts. If you like rice pudding, this tropical treat will knock your socks off with its creamy, fresh sweetness. Don’t skip soaking the rice—it hydrates the grains, reduces the cooking time, and keeps the rice from becoming too sticky to manage. The rice is then wrapped in cheesecloth and steamed. You can adjust the amount of sugar to your sweetness preference.
2 cups glutinous rice
One 14-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
1⁄3 cup plus 3 tablespoons light brown sugar, or to taste
Kosher salt (preferably Diamond Crystal)
2 large ripe mangoes, pitted, peeled, and diced
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

For the Thai Sticky Rice:
1. Put the rice in a large bowl, cover with water by several inches, and let soak at room temperature for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
2. Drain the rice and mound it in the center of a large square or cheesecloth. Fold the cheesecloth over the rice so it is completely enclosed. Fill the bottom of a steamer with about 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Place the wrapped rice in the top of the steamer, set it over the water, and cover tightly. Reduce the heat to a simmer and steam the rice for 15 minutes if it soaked overnight, 20 minutes if the soaking time was shorter.
3. Using two large wooden spoons or other sturdy utensils, flip the rice bundle over and continue to steam the rice until it is tender but still chewy, 15 to 20 minutes.
4. While the rice is steaming, in a small saucepan, bring 1 cup of the coconut milk to a simmer over medium-low heat. Whisk in 1⁄3 cup of the brown sugar and a pinch of salt, stirring until dissolved. The coconut milk should taste sweet and slightly salty; adjust the salt if needed. Remove from the heat.
5. Transfer the cooked rice to a large bowl and pour the coconut milk mixture over it. Stir well to combine, cover, and allow the rice to rest until all the liquid is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, rinse out the saucepan and return it to medium-low heat. Add the remaining coconut milk and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. Whisk in the remaining 3 tablespoons brown sugar and a large pinch of salt. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.
7. To serve, spoon the rice into serving bowls, preferably clear ones, alternating layers of rice with the mango. Drizzle the sweetened coconut cream over the top and garnish with the toasted sesame seeds.

When I was a kid, my grandma would make cool, creamy horchata that I’d drink using a cinnamon stick as my straw. This variation on the traditional Mexican rice beverage adds passion fruit nectar, which I love for its sweetness with a hint of sour. Horchata has a milky thickness just shy of eggnog, and a sweet nuttiness from the condensed milk and almonds. Chill it overnight (or for at least 8 hours) to meld the flavors, then strain it for the best texture. For a more velvety texture, line the sieve with cheesecloth before straining the horchata.
2 cinnamon sticks, crushed or broken into small pieces
1 cup long-grain white rice, rinsed (see page 12)
1⁄2 cup unblanched whole almonds
4 cups water
1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
One 12-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
Two 12-ounce cans evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup passion fruit nectar
Ground cardamom, for garnish

For the Horchata:
1. Combine the cinnamon sticks, rice, and almonds in a blender jar and blend for 1 minute, or until finely ground—stop before the mixture turns pasty. If it sticks to the sides or bottom of the blender jar, stop and scrape down with a rubber spatula.
2. Pour in 2 cups of the water, the sugar, condensed milk, and evaporated milk and blend for 3 minutes, or until smooth. Pour the mixture into a
1-gallon container with a lid and stir in the remaining 2 cups of water and the passion fruit nectar. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or, preferably, overnight.
3. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large pitcher. Serve in tall glasses over ice, garnished with a sprinkle of ground cardamom.

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