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Author Notes: That same crackly rice that cultures across the world hold on high—the well-toasted bottom layer of rice in a good paella, tahdig, or bibimbap—doesn't have to come only at the end of a perfectly made dish. It can be broken apart and distilled for us to eat whenever we like. This is probably a trick you'll want to bust out for dinner parties where you want to show off, and feel joy and rapture with others. But you could also make it just for you, with extra to have on hand—just keep the components separate till eating time so the rice stays crunchy. And once you have a jar of this gold, where else could you use your crackly puffed rice? On top of any salad, any bowl of sundry grains and vegetables. Your eggs, your noodles, your yogurt. Adapted slightly from Jessica Koslow of Sqirl and Bon Appetit (June 2014). —Genius Recipes
- 2 tablespoons dried currants
- 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
- 3/4 cup short-grain brown rice
- Kosher salt
- Vegetable oil (for frying—about 2 cups)
- 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped cauliflower florets
- 1/2 bunch small curly kale, ribs and stems removed, leaves coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
- 1/2 small English hothouse cucumber, finely chopped
- 1 scallion, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper or 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons sumac (optional)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Combine currants and vinegar in a small bowl, and let sit for at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.
- Cook rice in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, 30 to 40 minutes.
- Drain rice, return it to the pot, cover, and let it sit 10 minutes. Spread the rice out on a baking sheet, and let it dry out overnight in an unlit oven or on the countertop.
- Fit a small saucepan with a deep-fry or candy thermometer and pour in vegetable oil to measure 2 inches.
- Heat over medium-high heat until the thermometer registers 350° F. Working in 4 batches, cook rice until lightly golden and puffed, about 1 minute. Using a fine-mesh sieve, transfer puffed rice to paper towels to drain, season with salt, and let cool.
- Meanwhile, pulse cauliflower in a food processor until finely chopped, then transfer to a large bowl. Working in batches, pulse kale in the food processor until finely chopped (be careful not to turn it into a purée), adding it to the cauliflower as you go. Add the puffed rice, currants with soaking liquid, cucumber, scallion, olive oil, Aleppo pepper, and sumac, if using. Toss to combine and season with salt, black pepper, and more vinegar, if desired.
- Note: Rice can be fried 5 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.
- This recipe is a Community Pick!