A sauce of fresh cilantro, green onions, ginger and garlic stirred into cooked rice gives the rice intense fragrance and flavor. Shiitake mushrooms add a little earthy smokiness.
Nothing too difficult about that. It's the idea that makes the difference: The combinations are creative, the results delectable, in this recipe from The Best of Cooking Light 4 ($9.95), a special edition of Cooking Light magazine.
It has 140 recipes culled from those published last year, and they're those with the most "yum factor," editor Mary Creel writes.
For rice: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add mushrooms, green onion bottoms, ginger piece and crushed garlic; cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in rice, cumin and chicken; cook 1 minute. Stir in broth; bring to a boil. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.
For sauce: Place cilantro, broth, green onion, chopped ginger, salt and garlic clove in a food processor or blender; process until smooth. Stir into rice mixture. Discard ginger piece.
For topping: Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add tomatoes; cook 2 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons green onion tops. Place the rice mixture in a large bowl, and spoon tomato topping over rice. Garnish with cilantro sprigs, if desired.
Makes 8 servings (1 cup rice mixture and about 1/4 cup tomato topping).
Nutrition information per serving: 339 calories, 6.8g fat (1.4g saturated), 25.3g protein, 41.5g carbohydrates, 1.8g fiber, 82mg cholesterol, 416mg sodium.