Sunday, August 28, 2016

Mussels, Snow Peas and Water Chestnuts en Ginger Licorice Sauce with Black Jasmine Rice

     Aromatic Sweet Root!    
     Licorice Root is also known as Sweet Root.  Even dried Licorice Root tastes sweet when it is bitten into.  The health benefits of Licorice Root are astounding.  Licorice is a traditional spring tonic and it helps to cleanse the body of toxins.  Licorice Root is used in a few savory recipes around the world, but it most often flavors desserts and candies.
     Licorice Root can be found in the wild worldwide, but it is even easier to find at Asian food markets and Chinese herbal pharmacies!  I happened to purchase a bag of dried Licorice Root at a Chinese natural medicine pharmacy in Las Vegas.  The Licorice Root was sliced and dried.  The slices looked very fresh and they were aromatic.
     Many people confuse the flavor of Licorice with the flavor of Star Anise.  Star Anise is often used to enhance the flavor of Licorice Candy.  Star Anise does go well with the flavor of Licorice, but too much Star Anise can overpower the earthy flavor of Licorice.
     Black Jasmine Rice is also called Forbidden Rice and Emperor's Rice.  For many centuries it was known as the forbidden rice, because is was only reserved for emperors.  Black Rice stains a deep purple magenta color and it is aromatic.  Black Rice cooks like wild reed grain rice, because the hull is attached to the grain.  Black Jasmine Rice is a "super grain" that has a high protein content.    
     Black Jasmine Rice: 
     This recipe yields 2 portions.
     Black Rice requires more water a a longer cooking time than long grain white rice.
     Step 1:  Place 1 3/4 cups of water in a sauce pot over high heat.
     Bring the water to a boil.
     Add 3/4 cup of black jasmine rice.
     Return the liquid to a boil.
     Step 2:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Cover the pot with a lid.
     Let the rice simmer and steam for 23 to 25 minutes.
     Keep the forbidden black rice warm on a stove top.
     Mussels, Snow Peas and Water Chestnuts en Ginger Licorice Sauce:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     Step 1:  Heat a sauce pot over medium high heat.
     Add 3 cups of water.
     Add 8 thin slices of dried licorice root.  (About 1/5 cup.)
     Bring the liquid to a boil.
     Step 2:  Reduce the temperature to medium low heat.
     Simmer the licorice root till the water is infused with the licorice flavor.  (About 20 minutes.)
     Step 3:  Raise the temperature to medium heat.
     Rapidly simmer and reduce the licorice broth, till there is only about 1/2 cup of liquid left in the pan.
     Step 4:  Pour the licorice broth through a fine mesh strainer into a container.
     Set the broth aside.
     Step 5:  Heat a sauté pan or a mini wok over medium heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
     Add 3 thin slices of shallot.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of ginger paste.
     Sauté till the ginger becomes aromatic.
     Step 6:  Add 5 or 6 large whole Blue Mussels.
     Add 2 small water chestnuts that are thin sliced.
     Add 1 thin sliced green onion
     Briefly sauté till the vegetables start to cook.
     Step 7:  Add 3/4 cup of light chicken broth.
     Add the reserved 1/2 cup of licorice broth.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of thin soy sauce.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Step 8:  Bring the liquid to a boil.
     Cover the pan with a lid till the mussels open up.  (Mussels only take 1 or 2 minutes to steam open.)
     Step 9:  Remove the lid.
     Mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of cold water in a small bowl.
     Add just enough of the cornstarch slurry while stirring, till the sauce is a thin consistency.
     Step 10:  Add 1/3 cup of trimmed snow peas.
     Bring the sauce back to a gentle boil.
     Remove the pan from the heat.
     Mussels, Snow Peas and Water Chestnuts en Ginger Licorice Sauce with Black Jasmine Rice:
     This recipe describes 1 petite entrée.  
     Use a ring mold to place 1 petite portion of the Black Jasmine Rice on the center of a plate.
     Spoon the sauce, snow peas and water chestnuts on the plate around the rice.
     Arrange the mussels on top of the sauce and vegetables, so they look nice.
     No garnish is necessary!
     The flavor of mussels is a perfect match for the Ginger Licorice Sauce!         

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