Saturday, February 18, 2012

Saffron and Cardamom Rice

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
My first experience with Indian rice was at a dinner party prepared by a friend's boyfriend who was a chef in an Indian restaurant in Canada. They were originally from Bangladesh and they urged me to give it a try saying it was something I will surely love. It was really an unfortunate experience as the spices proved too strong for me that I gagged. However, since I was eating in front of them, I pretended to choke instead and quickly swallowed the food in my mouth to get it over and done with. By then, I had tears in my eyes but the "choking" excuse took care of that as well. It was only later when I started cooking Indian food that I realized that the culprit was the cardamon seeds. I have used cardamom pods before and I had no problems with it whatsoever. I even use ground cardamom in certain spiced cakes but the seeds just seem to have this profound effect on me. I'm going to go a bit easy easy on the cardamom seeds for this dish and everything should work as planned. The recipe also requires quite a bit of saffron which ups the cost a lot more so an option is to use safflower.

Saffron  and Cardamom Rice - Adapted*

2 tbsp canola oil
1 onion, diced
4 dried red chili, deseeded
1 tsp cardamom seeds
2 cinnamon sticks
2 tsp cumin powder
4 bay leaves
2 cups basmati rice
2 tsp safflower soaked in 2 tbsp warm milk
4 cups hot water
salt and pepper
crispy fried onions

1. In a deep pot, heat the oil over medium heat and saute the onions. Season
    with salt and pepper and cook until slightly browned.

2. Add the cardamom, dried chilies, cinnamon, cumin and bay leaves. Saute
    until fragrant.

3. Add the safflower and the milk. Add the rice and stir until well coated by
    the spice mix.

4. Increase the heat to high and add the hot water and bring to a boil. Keep
    boiling uncovered until almost all the water has evaporated.

5. Lower the heat to low and cover the pot until the rice is cooked through.
    This will take about 20-30 minutes.

6. Fluff the rice and serve garnished with cilantro leaves and a handful of
    crispy fried onions.

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Crispy fried onions:
1 onion, sliced thinly
canola oil for frying

Heat the oil at medium heat and fry the onion slices until golden brown. Remove from the oil and transfer to a paper towel to drain the excess oil.

*Vijayakar, Sunil, 30 Minute Indian, Laurel Glen Publishing, San Diego:2000.

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