Friday, April 15, 2011

Moro de Gandules with Tempura Veggies and Salad

Sometimes I go through phases where I am absolutely obsessed with moro (Spanish seasoned rice dish usually with beans served mixed in with the rice) - I want it several times a week.  Other times, not so much.  It seems that when the Hubby isn't requesting it for dinner, is when I want it the most.  Hubby's only wish for this meal was tempura.  My good friend K, knowing how much I love tempura, bought me a package of tempura mix when she was at this Japanese food market in Jersey (have I mentioned yet that it is 2 lbs. of tempura mix?!  That is going to make more tempura than I know what to do with!).  So, having only made it once since she gave it to me, yet knowing that I still had a lot of the mix, I agreed.  I love tempura and am more than happy to make it.  Hubby was also in the mood for shrimp, real shrimp mind you - remember, he is not a vegetarian.  Not having any real shrimp and definitely not going out to buy it for him, I remembered that I had some vegan shrimp I got from May Way in Chinatown in the city.  So, I made that instead, and even though he was absolutely not fooled, loved it nonetheless.  As did I!  Wishing we didn't eat it all so I could snack on some now as I'm typing!

Moro de Gandules, Tempura Veggies, Romaine Salad


1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup long grain white rice
1/2 cup green pepper, small diced
1/2 cup red or orange bell pepper., small diced
1 cup onion, small diced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 carrot, small diced, about 1/2 cup
3 mini vegetable bouillon cubes (Maggi is a good brand)
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon chipotle pepper powder
3/4 cup full fat coconut milk
3/4 cup filtered water
1/2 cup frozen gandules

Tempura Veggies:
1 onion, sliced into medium-thick rings\
1 green bell pepper, sliced into thick strips
1 large handful baby carrots, about 2/3-3/4 cup
Veggie Shrimp, optional
Tempura mix, made according to directions
Vegetable or canola oil, a couple inches worth in a pot

1/2 head romaine lettuce chopped into bite sized pieces, washed, dried
1 tomato, sliced into thin slices
1/2 lemon , olive oil, sea salt and black pepper as dressing

1.  Start with the moro first - it will take the longest.  Put a medium sized saucepan over medium heat and add the oil. Once hot, add all the vegetables and cook till softened. Rinse the rice under water. Add the wet rice and frozen gandules to the pot and cook, stirring, until the rice is no longer wet. Once the rice has dried, add the coconut milk and the water. Add all the spices and stir well to combine. It should taste too salty and too spicy - it will mellow once it cooks.
2. Lower the heat to low and cover with lid. Stir the contents every few minutes until the rice is completely cooked through - this will take at least half an hour. Once the rice is just cooked, allow it to continue cooking in the pan for about 10 minutes without stirring it. This will give it the customary crunchy bottom layer that Spanish people love so much.
3.  Make sure everything for the salad is prepped - chop, wash and dry the salad, slice the tomatoes and set aside until ready to use - it will come together in no time. 
4.  Get the oil ready and turn the heat on medium.  Pour about 2" of oil into a medium sized pot and allow it to become very hot. 
5.  In the meantime, prepare the veggies.  Prepare the tempura batter - it should be about the consistency of pancake batter.  Once the oil is ready (a drop of tempura batter will immediately begin sizzling and come to the surface of the oil), begin frying the tempura in batches.  Dip the veggies/shrimp in the batter, covering the entire surface and shaking off the excess.  Carefully place the covered veggies/shrimp one by one into the oil, not exceeding 10-12, as they will overcrowd and not fry up well and will stick together.  Turn the tempura covered goodies every minute or so until the outside of the batter has firmed up and the veggie in the middle is cooked all the way through.  Drain on paper towels and sprinkle immediately with sea salt.  Continue frying the veggies/shrimp in batches until they are all cooked.
6.  To serve, place a serving of the moro, tempura veggies and shrimp, and romaine lettuce topped with tomato slices, sprinkled with sea salt and black pepper, and drizzled with lemon juice and olive oil.  Serve a sauce for dipping the tempura.  I did a mixture of tamari, filtered water, toasted sesame oil, grated garlic and ginger and red pepper flakes.  Delicioso!



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