Achiote (also known as annatto) gives the spice blend that flavors, and colors, this pilaf a beautiful ochre hue and a distinctive earthy taste. Make sure to buy it powdered, as the whole seeds are very hard and can be difficult to break down at home. Paired with garlic and onion powders, dried oregano, and just a hit of crushed chili powder or flakes, the mix yields a seasoned rice that goes well with just about everything. Pair it with seared steaks and mixed greens or flaky grilled fish and summer squash.
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tsp. dried oregano
tsp. achiote (annatto) powder
tsp. garlic powder
tsp. onion powder
tsp. bird chile powder or crushed red pepper flakesPilaf and Assembly
Tbsp. unsalted butter
cup jasmine rice, rinsed until water runs clear
tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt
Chopped tender herbs (such as parsley or cilantro) and lemon wedges (for serving; optional)
Whisk together 1½ tsp. dried oregano, 1 tsp. achiote (annatto) powder, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1 tsp. onion powder, and ¼ tsp. bird chile powder or crushed red pepper flakes in a small bowl.Pilaf and AssemblyStep 2
Melt 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add seasoning blend and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup jasmine rice, rinsed until water runs clear, and cook, stirring often and reducing heat if needed to keep spices from scorching, until grains are coated and opaque around the edges, about 2 minutes.Step 3
Pour in 1½ cups water and add 1 tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt; stir to combine. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Cook until water is completely absorbed and rice is tender, 15–18 minutes. Remove pot from heat and let rice sit (still covered) 5–10 minutes.Step 4
Uncover rice and fluff gently with a fork. Transfer pilaf to a platter and top with chopped tender herbs (such as parsley or cilantro) if desired. Serve with lemon wedges if desired.
Recipe adapted from The Simple Art of Rice by JJ Johnson (Flatiron Books). Copyright © 2023
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