Spicy food needs to be served with something mild to cut the spice, but no one said that "not spicy" is the same as "bland." This rice is so good with Caribbean or Mediterranean flavors because it echos the cumin lightly and gives a hearty backdrop to cool the taste buds from the heat. The paprika gives a beautiful color to this rice and the whole cumin seeds gives texture. If you don't have whole cumin seeds, you can omit them. I do think that whole cumin seeds are a useful addition to your pantry because they add a nice flavor and texture to a variety of dishes, from curries to spice rubs. I bought my bag of cumin seeds at the Latino grocery store around the block, but you can get them in any grocery store. This dish is well worth a try and is a nice change from plain rice. I made Oven Jerk Chicken, Spicy Peach Sauce, and this Cumin Scented Rice and served them together for a perfect island meal. You will think you are on vacation, even if you do have to go to work the next day.Cumin Scented Rice
1 1/2 cups rice
3 cups water
1 Tbs. butter
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. salt
1. Put the rice into a pot.
2. Add the spices and 1 tsp. salt.
3. Add the water and the butter.
4. Cover and bring to a boil. Let the rice cook over a very low simmer for 20 minutes, or until the rice is cooked and tender. A bonus is when it gets slightly caramelized on the bottom. More flavor and texture. Yum.
Fork up to make it nice and fluffy and serve alongside your favorite dinner.