Tag Archives: Rice

May Favourites

Yet another glorious month has passed by, one that bought along plenty of joys and plenty of little moments to rejoice. It was not without its fair share of challenges, but looking back, I can feel only happiness and gratitude at the life I have been blessed with.

Technically autumn, but May was a crazy month when it came to weather. Plenty of rain and cold, gloomy days meant that we needed warm, delicious comforting food on our plates. And the best was this Risotto with Dried Mushrooms and Bacon Crumbs. Absolute yumminess!

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

Leftover rice is perhaps a very common ingredient in most households and there are quite a few quick recipes on the blog to use it, after all we don’t want to waste food right. All of these recipes are made frequently in my kitchen whenever I have leftover rice to create something delicious for the next day’s lunch box.

One such dish is the Stir fried rice with Salami, Sun dried Tomatoes, Bell Peppers and Herbs. Not a combination that’s common, but I promise it’s really delicious. It’s quick to make and Adi loves it in his lunch box with some cucumber sticks on the side.

Stir fried Rice (with salami, sun dried tomatoes, bell peppers and herbs) - thespiceadventuress.com

Speaking of food, did you read my review about the new South Indian menu launched at The Rochey, Fitzroy? Absolutely chuffed that the cuisine of my hometown would make it to a mainstream modern Australian pub. It’s definitely a small world out there, especially when it comes to food.

Rochester Hotel aka ‘The Rochey’ (Fitzroy, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Duck Hearts ( Chargrilled with Recheado and a sweet and sour spicy sauce) – One of the highlight dishes of the day for me. Absolutely loved the flavours, that perfect blend of sweet, sour, spicy; absolutely divine. And highly recommended.

Also, we got to meet Mickey Mouse!

Adi had the most exciting time at the launch of Disney on Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic. The spectacular show returns this year to Melbourne during the school holidays and we are so excited to watch it; it’s our first time.

If you have plans to go, then waste no time in booking the tickets…selling out like hot cakes.

Disney on Ice Launch Party - thespiceadventuress.com

Now getting to last month’s favourites; everything that inspired me be it food, drinks, lifestyle, travel, words or even beauty.

This sangria is different to any I have seen or tasted before. But I am going to try it only when summer returns to Down Under.

These drumettes are fingerlickin’ sexy!

I would say the same for this chicken dish too.

Crack, slurp, mix…..those words define it all.

I am not gonna miss the noodles in this one.

Totally love her Instagram handle; has the most delicious food with some stunning photography too.

A lesser known fact about me is that I binge watch beauty and fashion videos on YouTube. In fact, I hardly watch any cooking channels but I have all the info about the who’s who of the beauty blogging business. And one of the channels I am absolutely loving at the moment is this luxury blogger. She’s sassy, bold and one hell of a woman.

 

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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

 

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

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

South Indian Curry Leaf Rice (Karu vepillai Sadam)

Curry leaves have always been an integral part of Indian cuisine, especially in the cuisines of Southern India. Though the world is slowly waking up to the benefits of this herb, it still remains underutilized and practically unknown in many other parts of the world.

Highly aromatic, curry leaves are also referred to as ‘sweet neem leaves’ as these are not bitter unlike the ordinary neem leaves. It is a much valued medicinal herb in Ayurveda and is believed to have anti-diabetic and cholesterol-lowering properties.

Since curry leaves do not stay fresh for a long time in the refrigerator, many people tend to use it in the dried and powdered form but these are less aromatic than the fresh leaves. In Indian and Sri Lankan cuisine, these leaves are usually added to hot oil to release the oils and impart flavour to the dish.

Curry leaves - thespiceadventuress.com

Now I am a huge fan of curry leaves, not just because it is such an inherent part of Indian cooking but also because I like the flavour these leaves impart to the whole dish. In the past few months I have been playing around with these leaves in my kitchen trying to use it in different ways especially in my style of fusion cooking. While I was researching on the Web and learning more about curry leaves, I came across this traditional rice dish which is quite popular in a few South Indian states. Now there cannot be a better way to showcase the flavour of these leaves than this dish and I couldn’t resist trying out the recipe myself.

South Indian curry leaf rice or Karu vepillai sadam (as it is traditionally known) – pungent, aromatic and mildly spiced from the roasted curry leaves, red chillies, peppercorns, fenugreek, coriander and asafoetida.

South Indian curry leaf rice - thespiceadventuress.com

I came across this recipe here.

Ingredients:

1. 4 cups white rice; washed and soaked
2. ½ tsp mustard seeds
3. ½ tsp urad dal (vigna mungo/dehusked black gram)
4. ½ tsp chana dal (split bengal gram)
5. ½ tsp cumin/jeera seeds
6. 2 red whole dry chillies for tempering
7. ½ tsp turmeric powder
8. Cashew nuts roasted for garnishing/peanuts also may be added
9. Salt to taste
10. 2 tbsp sesame oil ( this oil makes a great difference to the taste )
11. 1 tbsp vegetable oil

For the curry leaf spice blend:

12. 1 ½ cups washed curry leaves firmly packed
13. 8 whole dry red chillies
14. 1 tsp pepper corns
15. 1 tsp coriander seeds
16. 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
17. Tamarind , size of a small marble
18. Asafoetida/hing powder

Method:

1. Cook the rice in salted water till just done, drain and keep aside. It’s important not to get the rice mushy or overcooked.
2. Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil and roast the curry leaves till dry and lightly crisped up; remember to do this on low heat or the leaves will burn.
3. Cool the leaves and grind with the rest of the ingredients under spice blend. It might get a little pasty due to the tamarind; just add a few drops of water which will help bring all the ingredients together.
4. In a wok or large pan, heat sesame oil, crackle the mustard seeds and then add the lentils, dry red chilli, cumin, cashewnuts and turmeric. Add the ground curry leaf spice blend and mix well for a minute. (If you prefer less heat, add only half of the curry leaf spice mixture).
5. Add the cooled rice and stir through till well mixed.
6. Serve hot with raita/yoghurt dip.

South Indian curry leaf rice - thespiceadventuress.com

Iftar with Roz ma mucasarat (Arabian Rice with Nuts and Saffron)

Before I start off about this delicious, fragrant rice dish, I have a serious bit of news for all my readers. Due to copyright and legal issues, I am forced to change the name of my blog. It has been an emotional past one week ever since it was bought to my notice that my blog name resembles a company which has trademarked the term ‘skinny chef’. And so, I am left with no choice but go for a complete name change.

After a lot of brainstorming, I have shortlisted a couple of names and will soon be deciding on one. But this is going to be really difficult; it is almost as if I am having an identity crisis wondering if it is going to affect all the hard work I have put in the last one year. But then I think – my readers are here for the food, the recipes; not because of my blog’s name. And this thought gives me a lot of confidence to go ahead with this task. Please do let me know all of your thoughts on this; every opinion would count and mean a lot to me.

So, don’t be surprised to see a new blog name popping on your screen soon; it’s still me!

Ok, let’s talk of happy things now like today’s dish – Arabian rice with nuts and saffron.

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A rich, decadent rice dish but an extremely simple one to make which makes it a beautiful way to break your Ramadan fast (if you are following it) and embrace Iftar. Roz ma mucasarat is a traditional Arabian rice dish which dates back several centuries as nuts were used in cooking long before agriculture cultivation took off. This is a rice dish that is usually prepared during celebrations, special days and weddings but I could eat it just about every day.

You can use just one type of nut but the indulgence of this dish comes from using a medley of nuts like I did. A pinch of saffron ties in the flavours adding a hint of sweetness to lift off the nutty flavours. A truly beautiful rice preparation which goes well with just about anything – be it a well spiced curry, roasted meats or all by itself.

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Recipe courtesy – Traditional Arabic Cooking – Miriam Al Hashimi

And here, you can read a review of this cookbook.

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Ingredients:

1. Rice – 2 cups
2. Almonds – ¼ cup
3. Cashewnuts – ¼ cup
4. Walnuts – ¼ cup
5. Pine nuts – ¼ cup
6. Pistachios – ¼ cup
7. Saffron – a pinch dissolved in warm milk
8. Salt – to season
9. Ghee – 2 tbsp
10. Vegetable oil – 1 tbsp.

Method:

Since there are many who seem to struggle with cooking rice perfectly, here’s how I do it;
1. Wash the rice 3-4 times with plenty of water. Soak the rice for at least 30 minutes prior to cooking. For 2 cups rice, boil 6 cups of water, season with salt and add the rice. Cook on high heat till the rice is 3/4ths done. (Add more water if you need to as some types of grains absorb more water than others). Switch off flame and keep covered for 5 minutes. Drain into a colander and keep aside for non-sticky, fluffy rice.
2. While the rice is cooking, blanch the almonds and pistachios to remove the skin easily. (Blanching the pistachios in salted water helps to retain the green colour of the nut). Chop all the nuts roughly.
3. Once the rice has drained well, heat oil and ghee in a pan and add all the nuts in together. Saute on low to medium heat for 2-3 minutes taking care not to burn the nuts.
4. Add the saffron soaked in milk and cook for another minutes. Add the rice and mix well to combine. Since the rice is cooked with salt, you wouldn’t really need extra salt, but do taste and season more if required.
5. Serve hot with accompaniment of choice.

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Rice Stuffed Paratha (Indian flat bread stuffed with flavoured rice)

Parathas are Indian flat breads made from wheat flour. These are a staple in North Indian cuisine and eaten in every household at all times of the day – breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Stuffing the parathas take these humble flat breads to a whole new level making it a complete meal in itself. The options are endless and you can get as experimentative as you like. Some of the traditional favourites are aloo paratha (potato stuffing), onion paratha (spiced onion stuffing), gobi paratha (cauliflower stuffing) but there are many modern ones too like beetroot paratha, zucchini paratha etc….

The best accompaniment for parathas are raitas or flavoured yoghurt dips (there are some amazing ones here) and a side of hot, spicy pickles. Make sure to add a dollop of ghee or butter to the parathas…

Children love parathas; it is fuss free eating and make excellent lunch box recipes too. And mothers get to hide all sorts of veggies inside. A winner all the way!

Today’s dish is a rice stuffed paratha – something I had never heard of before till a friend mentioned it in passing the other day. We were chatting about my blog, the onion paratha recipe I had posted and she mentioned that I must try with some leftover rice stuffing. It piqued my interest (reminded me of burritos with lime rice filling) and I waited eagerly for some leftover rice to make its presence known in my refrigerator.

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My friend, Alka, mentioned that they use traditional Gujarati spices to flavour the rice but I decided to create my own flavours instead. The result was deliciously fabulous – hot piping parathas with a mildly spiced and fragrant rice stuffing served with a dollop of butter.

So, come on, let’s take out some rice and flour and get cooking – rice stuffed parathas!

Ingredients:

For the dough:

1. Unbleached wheat flour/atta – 2 cups
2. Salt – to season
3. Water – ¾ ths cup (add more if necessary)
4. Ghee – 1 tsp

For the stuffing:

5. Leftover white rice – 1 cup
6. Red onion – 1 small, finely chopped
7. Green chilli – 1-2, finely chopped (you can totally omit this too)
8. Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
9. Salt – to season
10. Chat masala – ¼ tsp
11. Coriander leaves – 1 tsp, finely chopped
12. Vegetable oil – 2 tbsp


Method:

• Prepare the dough by mixing together all the ingredients. The amount of water mentioned is an approximate; you may need to add more water to adjust the dough consistency. Cover with a wet cloth and leave at room temperature for at least an hour.
• For the stuffing, mix the rice, chopped onions and green chilli in a bowl.
• Heat oil in a pan and add the rice mixture to it. On low heat, mix it well and add turmeric powder and season with salt. After 5 minutes, remove the mixture and allow to cool.
• Once cooled, add chat masala and coriander leaves and mix well to combine.
• To make the stuffed paratha, divide the dough into medium sized balls. Roll out to at least 3 inch diameter circles (see the images). Place a little stuffing on one rolled out ball and cover it with the second rolled out ball. Press the sides well to avoid stuffing from leaking out. Dust with flour and roll lightly on top to press the layers together. Be gentle or the stuffing will seep through.
• Heat the tawa/flat pan and place the paratha; cook one side well before flipping over. Drizzle some ghee and flip over again. Cook till the parathas are golden brown and done.
• Serve hot with a dollop of butter.

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Sayadiah (Arabian Fish with Rice)

It is quite interesting to trace the origin and journey of a dish. Not only can you learn a lot of historical tidbits, you also get to appreciate the evolutionary process and how each region adapts and changes the original dish or technique to suit their tastes, climate, availability of ingredients and lifestyle.

The name of today’s dish is ‘Sayadiah’ or in simpler terms, fish with rice. This is an Arabian dish, especially common along the coastal regions of Yemen. A variation of this dish can be found in Lebanese cuisine where the fish is grilled or fried and then layered with yellow saffron rice.

The first thought that would enter any Indian’s mind after reading this recipe is that, ‘this sounds very much like our biryani, but much simpler.’ And now that thought’s totally justified because; a) biryani is a Persian/Arabian dish and b) the Indian biryani is a ‘spicier and masalified’ version of the original biryani.

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This is a layered rice dish similar to the pukki type of Indian biryanis like the Malabar biryani. The fish is marinated in harissa paste and then shallow fried. Harissa is a commonly used Middle Eastern spice paste which is easily available these days but if you cannot find it, replace it with a marinade made from red chilli powder, turmeric powder, olive oil and salt. Kushna or the sauce is a classic made from onions, tomatoes and spices. Cook the rice separately and finally layer and bring together the whole dish.

What I liked most about this dish is that it is very simple to prepare, requires very few ingredients and is not loaded with spices. Flavourful yet subtle, Sayadiah can be a perfect weeknight meal or when you have guests over. The dish showcases the Middle Eastern flavours and the fish is the hero of the dish so make sure you get the freshest produce possible. Any type of fish would suit this preparation but the best would be varieties with firm flesh and can be filleted easily.

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Recipe Courtesy – Traditional Arabic Cooking

Ingredients:

For the fish:

1. Fish fillet (any type with firm white flesh) – 1 kg, cut into medium sized pieces
2. Harissa paste – 3 tbsp
3. Salt – to season
4. Vegetable oil – for shallow frying

For the sauce/kushna:

5. Red onion – 3, finely chopped
6. Garlic cloves – 2, crushed and chopped
7. Cardamom – 3
8. Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
9. Ground cumin powder – 1 tsp
10. Green chilli – 2, chopped
11. Tomatoes – 4, skin removed and chopped
12. Vegetable oil – 4 tbsp.

Other ingredients:

13. Long-grained rice – 3 cups
14. Potato – 2 large, cut into slices lengthwise
15. Coriander leaves – to garnish

Method:

• Marinate the fish pieces with harissa and salt. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Shallow fry in vegetable oil and keep aside.
• Place baking paper in a tray and add the potato slices. Season with salt and oven roast till ¾ ths done (200°C for 20 minutes). Alternately, you can also shallow fry the potato slices, drain and keep aside.
• To prepare the sauce, heat oil in a pan and add cardamom pods. Add the garlic, green chilli and chopped onions. Saute till onions are light brown and then add turmeric powder and ground cumin powder.
• Add the tomatoes and sauté till the saucy consistency is achieved. Season with salt and add a little water if necessary but ensure that the sauce is thick and not runny.
• Cook the rice in boiling water seasoned with salt, drain and keep aside. Make sure that the rice is just cooked so that the grains remain separate and not mushy.
• In a large pot, add one layer of rice followed by a few fried fish pieces, potato slices and sauce/kushna. Continue the process by adding and building up the layers of rice, fish, potato and sauce. Finally garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
• Enjoy!

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