This is a no-fuss weekday quickie meal that I whipped up a few nights back. Not much of a recipe here, just throwing together of a bunch of ready made, quick cooking ingredients to make something tasty. I usually try to avoid rice and stick to whole grains or light dinners during the night. But sometimes you just feel like eating rice, its a comfort issue. I've been enjoying it all my life and its tough to totally remove it from my menu and I definitely don't intend to do any such thing either. Now and then its possible to trick your mind though. All your senses play a role in the act of eating and its not just the taste-buds going on a overdrive. So by substituting rice with rice shaped pasta, orzo, I can get myself to think it is rice, if only for a few moments before I taste it :)
I use orzo quite often, any pasta for that matter, because I love it and sometimes I am just too lazy to cook rice and a side dish separately. With pasta you can toss together some veggies, a mix of spices and end up with a wholesome meal. Its a lot quicker and offers much more flexibility to me, I get to use up a lot of veggies- fresh, frozen or leftovers, and use a mix of condiments that I would otherwise not use with white rice. Here I used a Nasi goreng curry paste, its a condiment used for making Malaysian style fried rice with the word itself meaning 'fried rice' in Malay. My grandmother lived in Malaysia and Singapore for quite a few years and I have heard many stories from her of her life there. Part of those stories was also the food she enjoyed and Nasi Goreng featured prominently, atleast it was one of the words that stuck. The moment I saw this curry paste on the grocery store aisle, I picked it up so I could try it out and tell her about it. So here's the faux fried rice I made with it, faux, since there is no rice involved :)
- 1 cups - Orzo
- 3/4 cup - Mixed vegetables - I used frozen thai style veggies: beans, sprouts, chestnuts, carrots and broccoli
- 1/2 tsp - Oil
- 1 tsp - Nasi goreng paste or any Thai curry paste
- 1 tsp - Soy sauce (optional)
- 1/2 tsp - thai chilli paste (optional)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Bring some water to a boil, add salt and orzo and cook till the pasta is al dente.
- Meanwhile, thaw the frozen vegetables, either in the microwave or by placing them at room temp for sometime. Heat a pan with the oil on medium heat, add the curry paste and saute for 30secs. Add the veggies, increase the heat and saute trying to retain some crunch in the veggies. Next add the soy sauce, chilli paste and freshly ground pepper.
- Drain the cooked pasta and add it to the vegetables, stir well, check for seasonings and serve hot!