Regular rice was yesterday, we take the game next level and start to make tomato rice. Sounds odd? Just think of Paella – no big difference! But instead of combining it with fish, we are making a vegetarian version. Instead of cooked prawns we are taking pan-fried feta cheese and let me tell you, it is better. Crispy, salty goodness combined with spicy tomatoey carb heaven can only result in a happy tummy and a happy soul.
What‘s special about this dish?
Well, first that we are cooking the rice in canned tomatoes instead of water only. This adds a bunch of flavor and makes it more exciting. The process of cooking it is the same as with regular rice though. Then it also is spiced up with herbs and spices and voilà!
Then also the feta cheese. Feta always is a great addition but pan fried feta, holy moly, is a next-level addition (&addiction)! The feta is covered in eggs and then breadcrumbs. The frying then makes it crispy on the outside and runny and molten on the inside, which then is a perfect combination!
Is this healthy? We can definitely say that it is packed with nutrients but it definitely is not, we have to be honest, the super-duper healthy bowl. Still, it is a greatly balanced bowl and definitely healthy for the soul.
We have a good mix of carbs, proteins, fats and vitamins. The rice provides a healthy amount of carbs that will keep you energized for a while. If you are looking for an option that also is high in fiber, you can also switch the regular rice for whole grin rice.
The feta not only comes with a bunch of flavor, but also with a decent amount of protein. It also contains some saturated fats, but rather little compared to most cheeses. The oil we are frying it in makes sure our bodies get a healthy amount of unsaturated fats and vitamins. Plus, the tomato sauce also is a source of vitamins and fibre. So all in all a very balanced dish!
How to make it?
As mentioned before, preparing the rice is fairly simple. We just sauté some onion and garlic in a little oil, add the rice, canned tomatoes, water and a little salt. Once it all comes to a boil, we need to reduce the heat to medium low and cover it for about 10-15 minutes. Once all water is absorbed, the heat needs to be turned down to low heat anf the rice will sit for another 3-5 minutes, this helps it to fluff and get really soft. All that now is left to do is to stir in some tomato sauce for even more flavor and creaminess and that‘s it! Pretty simple right?
The feta cheese is a bit more complicated, but not too much! To crumb it, we first need to cut it into smaller pieces. These do not all have to have the same size, but should be about 2-4cm. This is important because if they are too big, it will be very difficult to fry them. So now they are tossed in an egg and then in breadcrumbs. Afterwards the pieces of coated feta can be fried in some hot oil for 2-4 minutes per side until crispy, golden brown. Flip them carefully with a thin, flat spatula, so it does not fall apart. Well, and that already is it! Now it already is time to assemble everything and top it with some slices olives and herbs! Voilà!
This meal is great for a nice and cozy dinner or if you want to impress someone with a fancy meal. It actually is ready in fairly low time, just about 25-30 minutes and is an explosion of flavours. We love making this on repeat and I hope that you will enjoy doing so too!
Spicy Tomato Rice with Crispy Pan Fried Feta
Definitely not your average rice. Creamy, spicy tomato rice with crispy on the outside and molten on the inside fried feta. Heaven in a bowl. Perfect for a cozy dinner or whenever you want to impress with a fancy dish! Plus, ready in 25 minutes!
What you will need
For the rice:
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 chili
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 150 g rice
- 200 ml canned tomatoes (puréed)
- 100 ml water
- 3 tbsp tomato sauce
For the feta:
- 200 g feta cheese
- 5 tbsp breadcrumbs
- oil for frying (NO olive oil – use flavour neutral oil)
- black olives and dried herbs for serving
Start by finely mincing the garlic and chili. Heat up the olive oil in a pan, fry the garlic and chili in there for about 1-2 minutes until fragrant, add the rice and fry for another minute, stirring constantly. Cover with water and canned tomatoes, generously salt. Peal the onion and cut it into 4 pieces, add it on top. Let it come to a boil, then reduce heat to medium heat and let it simmer. Once all water is absorbed, turn the heat down to low and let it sit for another 5-7 minutes. Before serving, remove the onion and stir in the tomato sauce.
Cut the feta into about 2x4cm and about 1cm thick sized pieces. Crack the egg and whisk it. Coat the feta pieces in the egg, then in the breadcrumbs. Heat up a generous amount of oil in a pan. Once hot, add in the coated feta. Fry for about 2-4 minutes until golden brown and crispy. When flipping them, do so very carefully with a thin spatula, in order for the feta not to fall apart. Fry for another 2-4 minutes on the other side.
Divide the tomato rice onto the bowls and top with the feta. To finish, sprinkle with some chopped, black olives and dried herbs!
Have fun cooking,
Katie // Une Petite Cuisinière