Monday, March 24, 2014

In the Kitchen: Arroz com Castanha de Caju


A few weeks ago our friends invited us to this great seafood restaurant called Bangalo in Barra da Tijuca. We ordered their most popular dish baked octopus which was fantastic, but it was the cashew rice or arroz com castanha de caju with prawns that really won me over. It was amazing, full of different flavors and I loved the crunch from the cashew nuts. The rice was also seeped in a red buttery jus and it was lovely, but I imagine not very healthy.


I've been thinking of that rice ever since and the other night I decided to create my own heart healthy version served with a light squid stir fry. Serves 4 diabetic portions of 1/2 cup each. 

Arroz com Castanha de Caju
1tbs olive oil or coconut oil
1 fish bouillon cube (vegetable works just fine too)
1 cup of wholegrain brown rice
2 cups of water
1/4 cup of fresh cilantro
salt & pepper
1/2 yellow onion roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves thinly sliced
1/2 cup roasted unsalted crushed cashews

Heat up the oil and gently stir fry your onion and garlic until soft. Add the rice and toss it around so that it's nicely coated in oil and mixed in with the garlic and onions. Let it toast for a few minutes until it starts browning a little, then add the water and bouillon cube. We have strong concentrated bouillon cubes here and for me, one is more than enough. If yours is a bit weaker than double up. Let the water come to a boil, then reduce down to a simmer and cover. Leave for about 15-20 minutes or until rice is fully cooked and liquid absorbed.


Once your rice is cooked, give it a taste to see if it needs any salt and pepper. Add the coriander and cashew nuts just before you are about to serve. 


Squid stir fry with vegetables
olive oil or coconut oil (I used olive oil butter here)
1 1/2 cups of chopped squid (for vegetarians substitute with firm tofu, seitan, etc.)
1 red chili minced
1 garlic clove minced
1 red onion thinly sliced
1 large red bell pepper thinly sliced
ground coriander
ground cumin
ground paprika

Heat up a large frying pan or wok with a bit of oil and sautee your onions on medium heat. When the onions begin to soften, add the garlic and chili and cook for a few minutes. Then add your red bell pepper and season with salt and pepper. When the red peppers start to break down, remove all your veggies from pan and set aside.

Using the same pan, add a couple tablespoons of oil and start sauteeing your squid. Add a generous dash of paprika, coriander and cumin. Squid will release a lot of water whilst cooking, so cook on a medium to high heat. Squid cooks quickly too, so keep a close eye on the texture and color. They will start changing from translucent to white as they cook and you want it to be slightly firm, but not tight, hard and chewy.

When the squid is almost finished, toss back in your cooked veggies and reheat along with the squid until fully cooked. This meal was a success and the rice delicious. And we gobbled up all of the rice between the two of us. Doh!

Fun reads for this post:
Apparently all cashews are cooked, even raw ones, because the shell is super poisonous!
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