I first met Liz at the Melbourne bloggers meet which took place a couple of months ago. We had interacted a couple of times on social media and through my blog and I came to know that Liz is an entrepreneur and runs ‘The Spice People’.
The very mention of the name excited me – that’s the effect the word ‘spice’ has on me these days. And to top it all, Liz is an Aussie who runs a spice company and is as obsessive about spices as me. Two peas in a pod!
We could talk for hours and we did too! Liz is primarily an entrepreneur turned blogger and I am a blogger and wannabe entrepreneur. And with our common passion for spices, the chats were endless.
Liz developed a love for spices after extensively travelling around the world after marriage. Settling down back in Melbourne, she decided to take her love for spices a step forward and opened the retail venture, The Spice People. You need to drop by her site just to catch a glimpse of the variety of spices she stocks. And you can find her spices and blends stocked at several retailers across Australia too.
Quite generously, Liz bought along a variety of her spices and blends for me to try out especially ones I have never used before. And very thoughtfully, she had included a pack of ancho chilies because I had mentioned that I hardly find good quality ones in the nearby supermarkets.
The first thing I did on opening the pack of ancho chilies is take a smell. Oh! the smokey fiery earthy smell of these dry beauties – its seriously addictive guys.
Ancho chili is the dried version of Poblano pepper and both are extensively used in Mexican cooking. It is mild to medium-hot and tastes sweet and smokey at the same time. Anchos can be used in different ways, softened in water and used whole, powdered to be a part of spice rubs or softened and pureed to add to sauces and stews.
Though I have plenty of recipes noted down using ancho chilies, I wanted to try something simple and yet unique with these. And that’s how the idea for this dish came into my mind.
Burnt garlic rice is a popular Asian rice preparation. Though I had never made it before, I have had it plenty of times in Asian restaurants. An extremely simple rich dish with an indulging flavour of burnt garlic, this dish goes well with Asian style stir-fries. But I would totally recommend this burnt garlic and ancho chili rice with this Schezuan chicken dish.
In this recipe, I added sliced ancho chilies to the garlic and gently sautéed both in oil which imparted a beautiful flavour to the final dish. With every spoonful of rice, you could experience the smokey aromatic flavours from the burnt garlic interspersed with the sweetness from the anchos.
1. 2 cups medium-grained white rice; washed and soaked
2. 7 large garlic cloves, sliced finely
3. ½ ancho chili, broken into small pieces or sliced
4. Salt, to season
5. 3 tbsp vegetable oil
6. Roasted garlic flakes, to garnish
1. Cook the rice in salted boiling water till just done, drain and keep aside.
2. In a wok, heat the oil and add the garlic. Saute on low heat to release the flavours; the browning should be slow so that all the flavour from the garlic is imparted. (on high heat, the garlic browns quickly without imparting much flavour).
3. When the garlic is half done, add the ancho chilies and sauté on low heat till the garlic has browned well.
4. Then add the cooked rice and mix thoroughly to combine. Season with salt if necessary.
5. Garnish with roasted garlic flakes.
6. Serve hot.