The $500 Lotus Rice Recipe

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I try out a lot of recipes in the kitchen — some good, some bad, some worth filing into a digital locker of some sort. Like wine, I rarely try the same thing twice: there simply are too many new tastes to explore. Sometimes, though, a recipe speaks to you on an emotional level. And sometimes, making it costs you $500.

How did this recipe cost me $500, you ask? The cost of the ingredients totaled no more than about $10.

  • Sushi rice
  • Dried lotus leaves
  • Shiitake mushrooms
  • Jicama

The directions for the recipe (which I admit to rarely reading ahead of time in full, like I know I should) also seemed innocent and simple enough:

Cook the rice as the label directs.

Soak the lotus leaf in a roasting pan with warm water until pliable, about 1 hour.

Heat [yada, yada] ingredients in a stir-fry pan until softened.

I've done crazier things for chocolate chip cookies.

In fact, I cruised along the prep for this recipe (with a glass of wine and probably some Lady Gaga) until the penultimate directive:

Wrap the dish tightly with plastic wrap and microwave until warm, about 15 minutes.

15 minutes!

I proceeded as told, and punched those four buttons into the microwave panel.

1.

5.

0.

0.

Cook.

And the rice came out beautifully. It was fluffy and marvelous, with salty-sweet flavors that made you want to eat it all right out of the bowl.

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The same cannot be said of my microwave, however.

The true cost of this recipe revealed itself the next day when, attempting to reheat this goodness for lunch, I realized my microwave had worked the last 15 minutes of its life on my lotus rice.

Mr. Kenmore was dead.

No amount of hacking or resuscitation attempts would bring him back. I bought another microwave that weekend, but will always remember my $500 bowl of lotus rice (as I'm now calling it), and how maybe — just maybe! — it was all worth it.

→ Get the recipe: Lotus Rice with Sausage at The Food Network

(Images: Chris Perez)

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