Saturday, January 15, 2011

Spiced rice, reheated

The cooked rice above is sitting in foil in a colander. I parcelled up the foil, rested the colander on the lips of a pan above vigorously simmering water, and put a lid on top. I gave it 10 minutes. (Inadequately reheated rice can be dangerous.)

The yellow rice is another recipe from Madhur Jaffrey's terrific CURRY EASY. Adaptation, for 4, below.

300g basmati rice
2tbsp olive or sunflower oil
1 whole dried red chilli
(I think she means ones of normal size. Mine, which are fiery, are minuscule. I used a couple)
1tsp skinned urad dal or yellow split peas
(I used red lentils. But I'm not sure what the point of them is - perhaps it's to add colour, along with the turmeric)
1tsp mustard seeds
1tbsp sesame seeds
1/2tsp turmeric
1tsp salt (optional)

Put the rice in a bowl. Cover with cold water and stir gently. Pour out the dirty water. (I do so carefully and slowly, in an effort to leave all the rice behind. Draining the rice in a sieve, then trying to return it to the bowl when a good deal of it sticks to the mesh, is a pain.) Repeat the process four or five times. Leave to soak for 30 minutes. Drain.

(What is it that turns the rice water so murky? Starch? Or less pleasant stuff?)

Warm the oil, in a heavy pan, over a medium heat. Throw in the chilli, dal (if using), mustard seeds, and sesame seeds. When you hear the mustard seeds popping, add the drained rice, turmeric, and salt (again, if using).

Pour over enough water to cover the rice by about 0.5cms. Bring to the boil, and simmer until the water level sinks beneath the surface of the rice. Cover, and turn the heat right down. (I put a heat disperser under the pan.) Give the rice 10 minutes' cooking time in total. After you've turned off the heat, you can leave the rice to rest until you need it.

Madhur Jaffrey tells you to steam the rice for 25 minutes. Lots of cookbooks give similar timings, but in my experience most brands of basmati rice are ready much more quickly than that. I suppose that the extra steaming might help to separate the grains, but I find that long cooking simply causes them to clump together.

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