Serious Eats: Recipes

Cook the Book: Sri Lankan Rice with Cilantro and Lemon Grass

[Photograph: Caroline Russock]

Curry leaves are an integral part of Indian and Sri Lankan cooking, but they can be something of a challenge to locate. For those of us who don't have regular access to these fragrant leaves, Madhur Jaffrey has provided an easy alternative in her latest cookbook, At Home with Madhur Jaffrey: basil.

While the flavors of basil and curry leaves aren't identical, there are fragrant, herbal qualities that they share. Take this Sri Lankan Rice with Cilantro and Lemon Grass for example. Traditionally made with curry leaves, in this rice dish basil is a wonderful stand-in when combined with bright lemon grass and cilantro.

Regardless of whether you are using basil or curry leaves, this is a lovely, deeply flavored pilaf. Beginning with sizzled spices, ginger, garlic, and lemon grass, and steamed with chicken stock, it's got just the right amount of fat to coat the rice and fresh aromatic flavors that come though even when paired with heavily spiced curries.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of At Home with Madhur Jaffrey to give away this week.

Adapted from At Home with Madhur Jaffrey by Madhur Jaffrey. Copyright © 2010. Published by Knopf. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.

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