Like most of you know, I’m a rice gal — we have rice most days and we usually feel a meal isn’t a meal unless there’s rice somewhere. So I’m naturally curious about all the different rice preparations that other cuisines have. Like this one from Brazil, which is just like my American friends like their rice. I like mine a little drier though.

From the book Tasting Brazil, by Jessica Harris

Basic Rice

3 1/2 cups water (I’d recommend decreasing this to 3)
1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Bring water to boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in rice, salt and butter. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer about 20 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve hot.

The Sopa de Mariscos recipe also comes from Jessica Harris. A soup that intrigues me because I’ve found it in a few Filipino cookbooks but don’t remember ever having it when I still lived there. Except for the use of olive oil, this could have come straight out of an Asian cookbook, what with the use of coconut milk and cilantro.


A Bahian recipe, it includes crabmeat and other seafood — the broth is light but rich-tasting.

1/4 pound bay or sea scallops
1/4 pound crabmeat
1/4 pound mussels, shelled and washed (or use fresh unopened mussels but lengthen cooking time to until they open)
1/4 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup pure olive oil
1 small green bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
2 small onions, sliced
1 bay leaf
salt, minced cilantro and freshly ground black pepper to taste
5 cups fish stock (I used a court bouillon I made from a salmon fish head, not my favorite fish to make court bouillon with but it was the only thing available)
1/2 cup thin coconut milk

Heat olive oil in large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add all ingredients except fish stock and coconut milk, and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add fish stock and allow it to come to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove any mussels that have not opened if using fresh. Pour in coconut milk, stir, and remove soup from the heat. Miss Harris says to serve this with garlic bread, but we used rice instead.

Simple, easy, and delish.