Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sidelines: "Boiled rice is just blah!"

The art of flavour is a learned experience. It really is a signpost for adventures in food. When you start to blend cuisines, you're getting the hang of it.

Persephone let me know she tried out the butter chicken. She also told me, "Boiled rice is just blah."
I agree! BOILED RICE IS JUST BLAH!

When you're serving tasty Indian cuisine or even the middle eastern flair, a little curried rice is easy and makes a bit of an exotic statement on your table.
Eh, enough exposition. Let's make some rice.
The following recipe is a nod to Indian pilau recipes. I've just made it my own.

A Curried Yellow Rice with Sultanas
(This recipe is scalable for servings. 1 cup rice + 2 cups fluid = a little over 2 cups of rice. This is technically 8 servings of rice! That is 1/4 cup per person. Take this into consideration when you prepare for dinner. Some people like to wolf the rice down. Make a little more if you've got company, that's for sure!)
(This recipe also has optional flourishes if you're feeling daring or trying to impress!)

Tools

  • saucepan with lid - make sure it's big enough for your fluids and rice!
  • a spoon
  • a stove or hotplate
  • a fine colander (to rinse your rice in)
  • a knife for smushing/mincing your garlic
Ingredients
  • 1 cup of rice (long grain, basmati, jasmine, etc)
  • 2 cups of water (optional: use a broth in place of the water or half water, half broth)
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil (Use veg. oil if it's all you have. optional: use 2 tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter. Keep the heat down on the pot so you don't burn your butter!)
  • 3-4 cloves, whole
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon (use a little more if you like your cinnamon!)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon coriander seed, ground
  • 2 cloves garlic, well minced or otherwise beaten into oblivion.
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 small onion, minced (optional: shallots. about 4-5 of them. Minced. You could also try leeks. Yummy subtle onion flavour)
  • 1/4 cup of sultana raisins (use regular old whatever raisins if it's all you have)
  • 1/4 cashews (you can also use pine nuts, almonds walnuts and so on. Experiement!)
  • salt to taste
  • If you wish for a bit of spiced kick, a 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne is your friend
  • Also optional: cilantro/coriander leaves for garnish and maybe some sliced onion. Sometimes I toss in some garam masala (you can even make THIS yourself, though it's a little time consuming. Here's a recipe: How To Make Garam Masala. That's an outside link and I can't guarantee the safety of the site.)
Cooking Steps
  1. Rinse your rice off with cold water to wash away the starch. This allows your rice to cook as separate grains and keeps stuff from turning into mush! Set aside to drain as you do other steps!
  2. Heat your oil in the pot. Use a medium to high heat. Use your judgment and keep an eye on it! Leave the lid off for now.
  3. Add your onions and let them "caramelize" in the oil. Be sure to stir a little to avoid "burninizing". When your onions look a bit golden/brown you've got some caramelizing going on in the pot!
  4. Add your nuts, garlic, cinnamon, cloves, cumin and coriander. Fry this for about 2 minutes, stirring as you go to keep things from burning. This process roasts your herbs and spices a bit, giving them more delicious flavour!
  5. Add rice and fry it for a few more minutes. At this point you're toasting the rice. MORE FLAVOUR!
  6. Add raisins and immediately do the next step.
  7. Pour in your liquids. Be careful of steam billowing up from all your heated fryings at this point.
  8. Bring your mess to a boil. Don't worry about mixing it. You can do it at the end of your rice cooking.
  9. Once boiling, slap the lid on tight and turn the heat down really low. Barely on. Just above "I'm sorta keeping it warm". I know. It's an exact science!
  10. Let this sit, cooking for about 15-20 minutes.
  11. When it's done, fluff it with a fork and serve it with your dinner!
As always, leave me some comments. Make requests. I do this for you more than myself. Most of all, be adventurous in the kitchen! Food is wonderful!

2 Comments:

Persephone said...

Wow, this seems like a lot of work Dez, but I shall try it to fight the pow...err blah-ness!

echobunny said...

It's not really a lot of work. It just SEEMS that way.