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Category Archives: Rice

Lucknowi (or Awadhi) style Kofta Pulao

While I was on holiday in India this year, I purchased a couple of cookbooks to add to my collection. And one of the books I bought was ‘Dastarkhwan – e – Awadh’ by Sangeeta Bhatnagar and R.K.Saxena.

A simple cookbook that celebrates the royal kitchens of Awadh with recipes dating back to that golden era!

Awadhi cuisine is not just famous, but one that’s held in reverence. The food that came out of the Awadh kitchens had a royal elegance, a restraint yet so rich and inviting that made it synonymous with royalty. Of course it was made for the Nawabs but today, this cuisine is still held in such high esteem for the techniques, attention to ingredients and complexity of flavours.

The authors, Dr Sangeeta Bhatnagar and R.K.Saxena are both culinary historians and their passion to document the food of Awadh resulted in this book. Drafted after much research and speaking to a wide range of people including Nawabs, Chefs and yesteryear royal cooks, this book is a true tribute to the cuisine of Awadh.

It’s a simple book in appearance; reminds me of the old textbooks we used to have in India. No highly styled photographs of the food, but plenty of visuals depicting the people from the region, ingredients, street food, and also dishes presented in a natural manner.

There’s a brief introduction to the royal era of Awadh (the present day Lucknow), a historical perspective to the cuisine followed by explanation of terms that’s commonly used in Awadh cuisine. For eg: there are unique techniques employed in cooking Awadh food and these are explained along with reference to ingredients and other procedures that are a must know to understand the cooking style and culinary culture.

Clearly this is a cookbook that I would be cooking a lot from, but for that first recipe, I zeroed in on this lipsmacking Kofta Pulao.

Lucknowi (or Awadhi) style Kofta Pulao - thespiceadventuress.com

Pulao is often considered to be second grade in comparison to a biryani. There’s a general attitude that a pulao is made when one does not want to indulge in the extravagance of a biryani. But that is so wrong and an Awadhi style pulao is a prime example of that.

Making a good pulao requires as much skill as a biryani. And it all starts with cooking the rice perfectly. Always made using aged long grain rice which must be fragrant, aromatic and each grain separate from the other yet cooked perfectly. The flavours are much less complex in a pulao when compared to a biryani; there are far fewer spices and aromatics and it is a subtle play of those few spices that make a pulao so delicious.

Just as the name suggests, this is a kofta pulao, literally translated as meatballs and rice.

Lucknowi (or Awadhi) style Kofta Pulao - thespiceadventuress.com

Lucknowi (or Awadhi) style Kofta Pulao

The meatballs are shaped small in this recipe, unlike the larger ones that we are accustomed to eating in pasta or as snacks. Though mutton would be used traditionally, I have used lamb mince to make koftas, which is flavoured with just cinnamon and cardamom.

Another important ingredient is ghee or clarified butter. In traditional Awadhi cooking, tempered ghee is used but here I have just used plain ghee to keep things simple. Oil can be used but would hardly provide any flavour, and ghee is way healthier anyway.

The rice and koftas are cooked separately and then layered; the cooking process is then finished using the dum technique. For those who aren’t aware, the dum technique is where all the ingredients are placed inside one pot and the edges sealed using dough. Slow charcoal heat is applied on top and also on bottom and the food is allowed to slow cook with minimal heat.

Now most of us would use a modern dum technique in our homes. You could either place all the ingredients in a casserole dish, seal using a foil and finish cooking at low heat in the oven. Or you could follow my technique – since I don’t like to use foil, I place a tea towel over the pot and then place the lid on top so that it’s really tight and no steam escapes. The pot is then placed on a flat tawa or directly on heat but at its lowest setting. Ensure that the edges of the towel hanging out is scrunched up; we don’t want to start a fire!!

Lucknowi (or Awadhi) style Kofta Pulao

So let’s get onto the recipe for this delicious Kofta Pulao;

Ingredients:

  1. 500gms aged basmati (long grained) rice; washed and soaked for atleast 1 hour
  2. 500gms lamb (or mutton) mince
  3. 1 inch ginger
  4. 5 medium garlic cloves
  5. 1 tsp red chilli powder
  6. 10gms roasted gram flour
  7. 1 inch cinnamon stick
  8. 3 whole green cardamom
  9. Salt, to season
  10. Ghee (clarified butter)
  11. 5 medium red onions
  12. 1 ½ tbsp rose water
  13. 1 pinch saffron
  14. 250 ml milk

Method:

  1. Grind the cinnamon and cardamom to a fine powder.
  2. Grind the garlic and ginger to a paste (add a few drops of water if necessary)
  3. Also grind 2 onions to a coarse paste and keep aside.
  4. Finely slice the remaining 3 onions; fry in ghee till golden brown, drain and keep aside.
  5. Into the mince, add half of the cinnamon-cardamom powder, roasted gram flour, 1 tbsp ghee and salt to season. Knead well to ensure that all the ingredients are mixed well and the mince has a fine consistency.
  6. Take small portions of the mince and roll into small balls (slightly larger than marbles). You will roughly get about 30 -35 balls. Heat ghee in a pan and fry the meatballs; keep aside. (Take care not to overcook or the meatballs taste dry)
  7. To cook the rice, heat 1 ½ litres water. Season with salt and add the remaining cardamom-cinnamon powder. Add the washed rice and parboil; drain and keep aside.
  8. In the same pan that the onions were fried (add more ghee only if necessary), add the onion and ginger garlic paste. Sauté on medium heat till the rawness disappears. Then add chilli powder and sauté till the ghee separates.
  9. Add the fried meatballs to this and add 1 cup (250 ml) water. Cook till most of the water has disappeared. Taste and season with salt if necessary.
  10. Meanwhile soak saffron in warm milk.
  11. To finally assemble the dish, place a large deep bottom vessel on low heat and add half of the cooked rice. Then layer with the cooked koftas/meatballs, add half of the rose water and saffron milk. Then add the remaining rice followed by the remaining rose water and saffron milk.
  12. Seal the edges (read description above for dum techniques) of the vessel and cook covered on low heat for about 20 minutes.
  13. Open just before serving and garnish with fried onions.
  14. Serve with a raita

Lucknowi (or Awadhi) style Kofta Pulao

 

 

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Asian style Chicken Fried Rice

First of all, a big apology for putting up this post so late. Many of you have been asking the recipe for this Chicken fried rice for a while now and I have been chirping away the phrase, ‘it will soon be on the blog’ to all.

It’s just that too many things have been going on, both personally and professionally. Sitting down to write out the recipe has taken me the longest time. But today I was determined to get the post published so that all of you can try out this absolutely lipsmacking Chicken fried rice.

On the personal front, most of you would be aware of the Kerala flood situation and the trail of destruction and devastation it has left behind. While my own family was affected less, there have been members of the extended family and friends, many of whom had to be evacuated and put up in shelter homes and many others who have lost everything they have including homes, businesses, properties, agricultural land etc….

It’s a difficult time that everyone’s going through back home. Almost the whole of last week was spent in just trying to communicate with family and in many instances, it took us almost 4-5 days just to establish communication with our loved ones. Work was the last thing on my mind so except for some client projects, I hardly updated the blog.

Getting back to today’s dish, this Chicken fried rice is one of the best I have ever made. It’s totally different to the Indo Chinese style or the typical Chinese style that I often make at home. Adapted from a Marion Grasby recipe, this is more of a modern Thai style chicken fried rice.

It’s quite simple to put together but the flavours are incredible and I loved the fact that turmeric is a key ingredient which adds so much depth and flavour to the rice. Another key ingredient is belachan or shrimp paste, adds that umami hit which really comes through in the final dish.

I usually have a menu plan ready by the end of each week for the following one, so whenever there’s fried rice on the menu, I try and prepare the rice a day ago as the texture of one day old rice works best. But don’t fret about it if you can’t find the time; just make sure you prepare the rice first, drain and spread out to cool before going ahead with the remaining dish.

This chicken fried rice is all about the toppings and condiments too. Fried eggs, fresh coriander, cucumbers, fried shallots, sambal oelek all create this wonderful texture and layers of flavour to the final dish. Requires no other side dish to go along, but you can indulge yourself by adding a stir fry to accompany.

So let’s get cooking this Thai inspired chicken fried rice; and if you make it do tag me #thespiceadventuress in your social media posts so that I can see it too. Or leave a comment below; I love hearing from all of you.

Asian style Chicken Fried Rice - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 5 cups cooked medium grained rice
  2. 4 eggs
  3. Vegetable oil; (for frying the eggs and making the rice)
  4. 500 gms chicken thigh (skinless & boneless); thinly sliced
  5. 1 large brown onion; finely sliced
  6. 3 garlic cloves; finely chopped
  7. 1 long red chilli; finely sliced
  8. ½ tsp turmeric powder
  9. 1 ½ tsp shrimp paste
  10. 3 baby bok choy; slice the light green part and tear the leaves coarsely
  11. 3 tbsp soy sauce
  12. 2 tsp kecap manis (sweet soy)
  13. Salt, to season
  14. Fried shallots
  15. 4-5 sprigs fresh coriander leaves
  16. Sambal oelek, to serve
  17. Lebanese cucumber; to serve

Method:

  1. Heat 1/3 cup vegetable oil in a large wok till smoking hot. Add the chicken pieces and season lightly with salt. Cook till the chicken is just about done; remove and keep aside.
  2. In the same wok (add more oil only if necessary), add the onions, garlic, chillies and sauté on medium heat till the onions are softened.
  3. Lower heat and add the shrimp paste and turmeric. Break down the shrimp paste using the back of the ladle and mix well to combine. Cook for about 1 minute till it gets aromatic.
  4. Next add the cooked chicken pieces along with the light green stalks of the bok choy; toss and stir fry for 30 seconds.
  5. Add the cooked rice, soy sauce and kecap manis. Toss well to combine and finally add the bok choy leaves. Mix well and stir fry for about a minute.
  6. Once the rice is done, fry the eggs to your individual preferences.
  7. To serve, place the fried rice in a bow and top with fried egg, cucumbers, coriander, sambal oelek, shallots and kecap manis.
  8. Tuck in!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Risotto with Dried Mushrooms (and Bacon Crumbs)

It’s ironic that close on the heels of a khichdi, I write about a risotto.

Not that there’s much of a similarity in origin or technique of preparation, but the fact that both are grain based with that unique consistency somehow puts it in the same category for me.

For those who thought Italian cuisine is all about pizzas and pastas, risotto can come as a bit of a surprise. Even at a fancy restaurant, the risotto still remains a rustic, comforting dish; quite true to its origins.

Risotto with Dried Mushrooms (and Bacon Crumbs) - thespiceadventuress.com

A risotto is best kept simple. In fact it would be a sin to crowd it with many ingredients. A single hero ingredient, a flavourful broth and the right kind of rice is what a risotto is all about. Of course cheese, if you must!

While Arborio is the variety of rice that most of us are familiar with, it is actually other varieties like Carnaroli, Vialone Nano etc… that are more popular in Italy. I have had risotto made with Carnaroli rice before and the texture is much better when compared to Arborio.

Even though Carnaroli is available in selected stores in Australia, I still went with Arborio as that’s the variety that’s easily and more economically available for most.

Dried mushrooms, simply because of its intense umami hit. It has that really earthy flavour that makes you want to keep eating. I soaked the dried mushrooms in the chicken stock to soften it again and the resulting broth was just mind blowing….

Risotto with Dried Mushrooms (and Bacon Crumbs) - thespiceadventuress.com

The bacon crumbs was really an afterthought, perhaps because I love bacon so much and somehow finds a way into many of the dishes I make at home. Not really a main ingredient in this risotto, but rather a garnish just to add another dimension of flavour…..more of that salty, delicious umami hit that makes this risotto the most ideal dish to huddle with on a cold night.

While a great risotto might require practice and experience, I believe a good risotto is achievable by most. As I mentioned, the stock is really important and a homemade stock is the most ideal. Use a store bought one only if you are truly busy yet crave a generous helping of this risotto.

Ingredients:

(Serves 6-7)

  1. 2 cups Arborio Rice
  2. 150gms dried mushrooms
  3. 2 litre homemade chicken stock
  4. 2 ½ tbsp unsalted butter
  5. 2 tbsp olive oil
  6. 1 small white onion; finely chopped
  7. 1 cup dry white wine
  8. 200 gms bacon ( I used streaky bacon); finely chopped
  9. Salt, to season
  10. Freshly milled black pepper; to season
  11. 2 tbsp parsley leaves; finely chopped
  12. Grated parmesan; for garnish

Method:

  1. Reconstitute the dried mushrooms by soaking in the chicken stock for 15 minutes. Remove from the liquid and chop into small pieces.
  2. Finely chop the bacon by hand or using a food processor. In a small pan, add the bacon pieces and cook on low heat (no oil required as the bacon has plenty of fat) till the bacon has browned well but not burnt. Drain the fat using a strainer to get crispy bacon crumbs.
  3. In a large saucepan, heat half of the butter and olive oil; add the onions and sauté till soft.
  4. Then add the mushrooms and cook for another minute or two.
  5. Next add the rice and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. When the rice gets a little toasty and begins to make a crackling sound, reduce the heat and add the white wine.
  6. Cook, while stirring continuously till almost all the wine has been absorbed.
  7. Next add one cup of broth and cook (stirring continuously) till the rice has absorbed the liquid. Add another 2 cups of broth and continue to cook. Repeat, adding 1-2 cups of broth and cooking till the rice has reached the al-dente stage.
  8. Then add the remaining butter and season with salt and pepper. Mix well to combine.
  9. Serve warm with grated parmesan, bacon crumbs and parsley

Risotto with Dried Mushrooms (and Bacon Crumbs) - thespiceadventuress.com

Risotto with Dried Mushrooms (and Bacon Crumbs) - thespiceadventuress.com

 

Khichdi (Lentil Rice) with Carrot Greens

Khichdi – the comfort food of one half of the Indian population!

I say this specifically because khichdi is not a dish that is popular in my hometown, Kerala. And hence I was not aware of its existence for a very long time.

My first tryst with khichdi happened somewhere along the Pune-Mahabaleshwar route. We were living in Pune at that time and were visiting the hill station when we stopped at a roadside dhaba for a quick meal. Sam suggested that I try the khichdi (he had already developed a taste for it, thanks to his office mates) and hesitatingly I did. But oh boy, it was a revelation.

The rich, spicy, almost creamy consistency of rice and lentils with that generous drizzle of ghee made my tastebuds sing with joy.

Khichdi (Lentil Rice) with Carrot Greens - thespiceadventuress.com

And while I consumed many plates of khichdi during my stay in Pune, I never ventured to cook it in my kitchen till about 2 years ago.

I think it’s the memory of that taste that encouraged me to make a khichdi at home. It’s no rocket science, but often we need a motivation or purpose to try out something new.

At its heart, a khichdi is nothing but rice and lentils cooked together, mashed and then tempered with spices. But that tempering is what makes all the difference. It can be as simple or as complex as you want and in my opinion, the whole flavour profile of the khichdi depends on it.

My version of the khichdi is not the most traditional but neither a fusion. It is perhaps an amalgamation of various styles based on flavours and spices that I like best.

Khichdi (Lentil Rice) with Carrot Greens - thespiceadventuress.com

Khichdi is an extremely healthy dish because of its powerful combination of carbs and proteins. Usually prepared with just one type of lentils, but my version has a mixture of lentils and pulses along with some sort of greens like spinach, fenugreek or even carrot greens, as I have done today.

You can either make a mix of the lentils from what you have at home or pick up a packet of the soup mix like I do. Or use just one type of lentil; it’s totally your wish. When using a soup mix, it’s best to soak it overnight so that the cooking process is much faster.

How many of you use carrot greens as an ingredient? It has gained a lot of attention with the raw food movement and is often found as an ingredient in salads, pesto etc…. But I also love to use it in my dal (lentil) preparations just the way I would use spinach. Beetroot leaves can also be used this way but needs to be cooked more than the carrot greens.

Khichdi (Lentil Rice) with Carrot Greens - thespiceadventuress.com

Khichdi (Lentil Rice) with Carrot Greens - thespiceadventuress.com

Even though I pressure cook the lentils and rice for time constraints, I always slow cook for a good 15-20 minutes after adding the tempering. A bit of extra time only helps intensify the flavours which I really want from my plate of khichdi. And a final drizzle of hot ghee is an absolute must!

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup mixed lentils; washed and soaked overnight
  2. ½ cup medium grain white rice
  3. Carrot greens (I used the greens from 4 small carrots); chopped
  4. Salt, to season
  5. Ghee/clarified butter; for serving
  6. 2 tbsp coriander leaves; finely chopped
  7. For tempering:
  • 2 tbsp ghee/clarified butter
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp caraway/shahi jeera seeds
  • 2 dry red chilli
  • 3 large shallots/small onion; finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp grated garlic
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 2 large ripe red tomatoes; finely chopped
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • A pinch of asafoetida
  • ½ inch piece of jaggery or ½ tsp raw sugar

Method:

  1. Wash the soaked lentils and rice together. Add to a pressure cooker or deep bottom pan and cook well with enough water (remember to season with a pinch of salt). The lentils and rice must be cooked enough to be able to mash well.
  2. In another pan, heat ghee and oil; add the mustard seeds and allow to splutter.
  3. Then add the cumin and caraway seeds; as it begins to crackle, add the dry chillies and shallots and sauté till softened.
  4. Then add the garlic and ginger; sauté till the onions have turned light brown.
  5. Next add the tomatoes and cook on medium heat till the tomatoes have softened and turned mushy.
  6. Then add all the spice powders and jaggery; sauté till the whole masala comes together and oil starts appearing at the sides.
  7. Meanwhile mash the lentils and rice using the back end of a ladle or potato masher.
  8. Add the chopped greens along with the masala to the lentils and mix well; season with salt if necessary.
  9. Add more water if necessary and cook on the low heat for 10-15 minutes.
  10. Finish off with the chopped coriander leaves.
  11. Serve warm with a drizzle of ghee on top.
  12. Tuck in!

Khichdi (Lentil Rice) with Carrot Greens - thespiceadventuress.com

 

Crispy Skinned Salmon with Cauliflower Rice

Salmon, with its delightfully soft, oily and flaky flesh was quick to become one of our favourite fish after moving to Australia.

Initially, I would use it only for Indian dishes which honestly do not always do justice to its incredible texture. And as we started dining out more here, I started enjoying the crispy skin salmon that somehow always finds a spot on most café/restaurant menus.

Earlier I always found it hard to achieve that elusive crispy skin. The fish would curl up slightly when I place it in the pan and it would always be crispy in certain areas and not uniform. Till I saw a Masterchef episode where they showed the technique of holding the fish down lightly for a few seconds after placing in the pan to ensure that it doesn’t get curled up and also get the skin really crisped up. And always cook skin side first!

Some of the other tips for cooking a perfect piece of salmon (other fish too), is to never overcrowd the pan. Fry in batches and serve warm; there’s nothing worse than eating cold fish especially with its skin on.

Crispy Skinned Salmon with Cauliflower Rice - thespiceadventuress.com

And to go along with the salmon, I also whipped up mock cauliflower rice which made this an extremely healthy dinner. A dollop of Roza’s mango, chilli and coconut chutney was added to oomph up the flavour quotient.

This is the kind of dinner that’s not just healthy but a substantial one for the family to unwind and relax at the end of a busy day. And I always cook enough portions to become our lunch for the next day. For us, this is the best way to ensure that we are eating right on work days too.

I always enjoy a touch of spice when I make salmon so here I have used a marinade made from fresh chillies, cumin, garlic etc… I kept the cauliflower rice real simple but you can also use this tempered cauliflower rice recipe that is one of the highest visited recipes on the blog.

Roza’s chutney was used because I had some in the refrigerator; feel free to use your favourite tomato, mango or any other chutney if you wish to.

Crispy Skinned Salmon with Cauliflower Rice - thespiceadventuress.com

Crispy Skinned Salmon with Cauliflower Rice - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

For the salmon:

  1. 4 salmon fillets; with skin
  2. 3 long red chillies (less heat variety)
  3. 5 medium garlic cloves
  4. ½ tsp ground coriander
  5. 1 tsp cumin powder
  6. 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  7. Salt; to season
  8. Juice of ½ lemon
  9. Olive oil; to pan fry the salmon

For the cauliflower:

  1. 1 small cauliflower head; including the green bit
  2. Zest of 1 lemon; grated
  3. Juice of ½ lemon
  4. 3 tbsp crushed roasted peanuts
  5. 3 tsp parsley; finely chopped
  6. Salt, to season
  7. ½ tsp paprika
  8. 2 tbsp olive oil

Method:

For the Salmon:

  1. Clean the salmon; remove any bones if present and pat dry.
  2. To make the marinade, blend together the chillies, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, coriander and cumin.
  3. Pour this over the salmon, season with salt and rub well; keep aside for 15 – 30 minutes.
  4. Heat olive oil in a pan (remember the marinade already contains oil) and when heated well, place the salmon fillets skin side down. Hold and press down the fillet lightly to ensure that the entire skin side is in contact with the pan for a few seconds. Then place the next fillet and repeat the same. Fry in batches if the pan is small.
  5. Remove and keep aside.

For the rice:

  1. Separate the cauliflower into large florets, the green bits can also be used for this but ensure that it is fresh and clean. Wash thoroughly and allow to dry before use.
  2. Blitz the cauliflower in a food processor to mimic rice; alternately use a grater if you do not have a processor.
  3. Warm the olive oil in a large wok and add the peanuts, paprika and lemon zest. Tip in the cauliflower along with the parsley, lemon juice and season with salt. Toss on high heat for a few seconds just to combine the flavours and remove. Taste and add more lemon juice if necessary.

Serve the cauliflower rice with the fried salmon pieces and the chutney on the side. Tuck in!

Crispy Skinned Salmon with Cauliflower Rice - thespiceadventuress.com

 

Chilli Prawn Fried Rice

My love for markets is legendary, especially the local one in my suburb (Dandenong) which I would have mentioned on my blog at least a million times.

Looking back, I think it’s destiny that bought us to this suburb. Amidst all the confusion, loneliness and that strange feeling of newness in a foreign country, it was the local market here that was my refuge. The smell, sights and sounds always reminded me of home because I would get every single ingredient that I needed for my style of cooking which means a lot when you are so far from home. And it’s true that food opens doors where none exists. And for me that door was this blog…..

These days, I don’t visit the market as often as I used to but I am still there at least once every fortnight. It’s my space to get inspired and to re-ignite the creativity and passion I have for food. All the beautiful, fresh produce gives me such a buzz and there are so many ideas that pop into my mind after a trip like this.

And with Christmas almost here, markets are just brimming with such amazing produce and I simply couldn’t go past the seafood section. I had to come back with some fresh Australian raw prawns; don’t waste your hard earned money buying prawns from other countries when you can get some amazingly fresh and delicious prawns caught right here in Australia. Believe me, it’s totally worth those few extra dollars.

After all the shopping, I was only in the mind for a one pot dish and nothing elaborate. And this delicious Indo Chinese style prawn fried rice is what came to mind.

Chilli Prawn Fried Rice - a simple and delicious one pot Indo Chinese style fried rice - thespiceadventuress.com

The Indo Chinese style fried rice is quite different from the traditional Chinese version. It’s a lot more fried where the grains of rice are separate unlike the sticky original version. I wanted a bit of a spice kick and used long dry red chillies for smoky hot undertones.

To get the flavour from the dry red chillies, add it to the cold oil and then heat on low flame. Toss in the prawns with a handful of different vegetables along with perfectly cooked rice and finish off with a dash of soy and tomato chilli sauce.

Chilli Prawn Fried Rice - a simple and delicious one pot Indo Chinese style fried rice - thespiceadventuress.com

Chilli Prawn Fried Rice - a simple and delicious one pot Indo Chinese style fried rice - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 400gms long grained rice
  2. 500gms medium sized prawns; deshelled and deveined
  3. 1 large carrot; julienned

This post is bought to you in association with Supreme Seafood so the complete recipe can be found here.

Chilli Prawn Fried Rice - a simple and delicious one pot Indo Chinese style fried rice - thespiceadventuress.com

Chilli Prawn Fried Rice - a simple and delicious one pot Indo Chinese style fried rice - thespiceadventuress.com

Tempered Cauliflower Rice

I have finally jumped on the ‘cauliflower rice’ bandwagon!

The rise of the ‘raw food’ trend has been momentous in the recent times, especially given the current focus on health and natural living.

Cauliflower, perhaps, is one of the first ingredients that began to be used in its raw form as a substitute for grains. If you haven’t got the concept, cauliflower florets are blitzed to a finely grated form to mimic rice. A couple of brilliant cooks and chefs began to come up with delicious and unique ideas of using cauliflower beyond its traditional form. And today, it has a cult following around the globe.

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Though I have come across quite a few recipes using cauliflower in this new avatar, I really didn’t intend to make it. And I almost certainly wouldn’t have if not for the editor of the community magazine where I freelance. ‘R’ has been asking me for an Indian inspired cauliflower rice for months now and I kept putting her off. But finally, here I am with the simplest ‘cauliflower rice’ dish.

So this tempered cauliflower rice is a simple, non fussy dish drawing inspiration from the rice dishes of South India.

A no-brainer really! All that I did is borrow the idea of ‘cauliflower rice’ and the South Indian style of tempering rice and merged it together. Easy peasy, just as Adi would say.

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There are so many ways you can use this tempered cauliflower rice. Have it as the main dish (like I did) with a side of pickle, pappads and salad or you could make a Buddha bowl with chickpeas and an assortment of veggies. It is great as a filling for burritos replacing the lime rice or a nice accompaniment to your steaks (hugely cuts down the guilt factor!).

Before we get down to the recipe, if the idea of ‘cauliflower rice’ has tickled your fancy, here’s another delicious dish I would totally recommend. Sneh is a brilliant cook and she has come up with the perfect pot of cauliflower rice biryani salad!!

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Ingredients:

Note – Make sure that you only buy really fresh and good quality cauliflower, especially when you are using it as a raw food.

1. 1 whole cauliflower; separated into large florets
2. 2 tsp ghee/clarified butter
3. 1 tbsp sesame oil
4. 1 tbsp raw cashewnuts
5. 1 tbsp raw peanuts
6. 1 tsp mustard seeds
7. 2 sprigs curry leaves
8. 3 dry red chilli
9. 1 green chilli, slit in half
10. ½ tsp turmeric powder
11. Asafoetida/hing, a pinch
12. Juice of 1 lemon
13. Salt, to season

Method:

• Wash the florets well and dry completely.
• In a food processor, blitz the florets to get the grainy, rice like texture. If you do not have a processor, then finely great the cauliflower.
• Heat ghee and oil in a large deep pan; roast the cashewnuts and peanuts separately and keep aside.
• In the same oil, crackle mustard seeds and then add curry leaves and dry red chilli.
• Reduce heat and add green chilli, turmeric powder, asafoetida and the blitzed cauliflower along with the roasted nuts.
• Season with salt and add juice of ½ lemon. Mix well and toss on high heat for a minute or two and then remove from heat.
• Taste and add more lemon juice if necessary.
• Serve warm with a dollop of love!

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Goan Fish Biryani

 Easter holidays are here and all of us are in the mood for some fun time with family and friends. And celebrations always mean great food!

Whether you are celebrating this Holy Festival or not, this weekend is a perfect time to gather around a table with your loved ones and relax over some good food. And today’s dish, the Goan style fish biryani is just the perfect one for that.

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The most unique thing about this fish biryani is the addition of grated coconut and black kokum. Though red kokum is used traditionally, I have used black kokum or kudampuli in this one. Medium sized fish like small seer fish or mackerel is best suited for this biryani preparation.

Unlike the meat biryanis which are usually heavy in spices and aromatics, this Goan fish biryani is light but with a bang of flavours from the whole spices, coconut and kokum. It has the distinct coastal flavour stamp which transports you the land of sun and surf – Goa!

And what a delicious way to use kokum, especially the black variety. If you have red kokum, use it by all means but the black also provides that delicious tangy addition which pairs so beautifully with coconut. It’s the play of sweet n’ sour!

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Ingredients:

1. For the rice:
• 4 cups, long grained basmati rice; soaked
• 3 green cardamom
• 1 black cardamom

For full recipe, click here….

Recipe developed, shot and styled for Supreme Seafood

Egg Biryani

How can I even begin to explain what a biryani means to India? The singular rice dish which gets the nation into a culinary and cultural frenzy. The debates are endless…and democracy gets chucked out of the window! Is our biryani better or yours?

Every state of India has a biryani recipe or rather, a style of making biryani. It is amazing that a dish introduced to India by the Arab traders has become the national dish today. I really wouldn’t go into the history or types of biryani; Google and Wiki can do a good job of it.

Though you can find plenty of recipes for egg biryani all across the web, I decided to post this one because I loved the dish and wanted it to be a part of my collection here.

Egg biryani - an aromatic, mildly spiced fragrant rice dish from India - thespiceadventuress.com

The best thing about egg biryani is that it is the perfect crossover between vegetarian and non-vegetarian. More people are egg-tarian these days and this is a delicious way to enjoy it. It is also perfect for days when you want to go meatless yet want some bold flavours on your plate.

No biryani recipe will look simple; there’s usually a ton of ingredients and steps but believe me, if you systematically follow it, this is one of the simplest dishes to cook. And the only accompaniment you need is a bowl of raita or yoghurt dip.

So let’s get cooking this delicious, aromatic and flavourful egg biryani!

I learnt this recipe from here.

Ingredients:

1. 1 cup of basmati/long grained white rice
2. ghee/clarified butter
3. 1 inch cinnamon
4. 2 cloves
5. 2 green cardamom
6. 1 star anise
7. 2 dried bay leaf
8. ½ cup fresh coriander leaves/cilantro
9. ½ cup fresh mint leaves
10. 2 green chillies
11. 5 cloves garlic
12. 2 inch ginger root
13. 1.5 cups of large onions, finely sliced
14. ½ cup ripe tomato, chopped
15. 1 tsp red chilli powder (adjust to taste)
16. ¼ tsp turmeric powder
17. 1 tsp cumin/jeera powder
18. 1 tsp fennel/perinjeera/saunf powder
19. 1 tsp roasted coriander powder
20. 1 cups thick coconut milk
21. 1 tsp garam masala (adjust to taste)
22. 3 eggs, hard boiled and halved
23. ¼ cup roasted cashewnuts
24. ¼ cup raisins
25. 1 tbsp coriander leaves, finely chopped, for garnish
26. 1 tbsp mint leaves, finely chopped, for garnish

Method:

1. Wash and soak the rice for at least 2 hours prior to cooking. Drain thoroughly before cooking.
2. Grind the coriander leaves, mint leaves, green chillies, 1 inch ginger and 3 cloves garlic into a paste and keep aside.
3. Grind the remaining ginger and garlic to a fine paste and keep aside.
4. Hard boil the eggs, shell and cut into halves.
5. In a large pan, heat 2 tbsp ghee and lightly roast the cashewnuts and raisins; drain and keep aside.
6. In the same pan, add ½ cup of sliced onions and fry till golden brown; drain and keep aside.
7. Add the remaining ghee to the pan, and add the whole spices
8. After about 15 seconds or when the spices turn fragrant, add the ground green paste and lightly fry on medium heat for a minute.
9. Add the rice along with enough water to just cook the rice (refer to packet instructions for the rice or use 1:1 ration for long grained basmati rice). Season with salt and bring to boil. Once the rice is done, remove from flame and lightly fluff with a fork so that the rice does not turn mushy.
10. In a deep or heavy bottom pan, heat 2 tbsp ghee and add the remaining sliced onions. When the onions turn soft, add the ginger garlic paste and continue to sauté.
11. As this browns, add the powdered spices and sauté for another minute. Then add the chopped tomatoes and sauté till the tomatoes turn soft and mushy.
12. Reduce flame and add coconut milk along with ½ cup water. Simmer for about 5 minutes and add garam masala and season with salt.
13. Next, add the cooked rice to this pan and lightly mix so that you get a marbled effect to the rice.
14. Place the boiled eggs on top and garnish with the roasted cashewnuts, raisins, fried onions, coriander and mint leaves.
15. Remove from heat and keep covered for at least one hour for the flavours to blend and come together.

 

 

 

Egg biryani - an aromatic, mildly spiced fragrant rice dish from India - thespiceadventuress.com

Burnt Garlic and Ancho Chili Rice

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.

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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.

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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.

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Ingredients:

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

Method:

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.

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