Tright here appears to be a rice dish to swimsuit each temper and soothe any sick. Rice has a mothering high quality, from the stodgy reassurance of a Thai sticky sidekick to a relaxing bowl of risotto. As starches go, nevertheless, rice has at all times lagged behind bread, potatoes, pasta and even noodles in my kitchen.
Recently, although, there was a rice renaissance in our home due to my brother-in-law, Phil. He makes the form of fluffy basmati rice that has at all times eluded me: tender inside, however with a light-weight chunk on the surface; fluffy, however with a toothsome stickiness. I’ve spent the previous yr or so making an attempt to excellent it and I believe I would lastly be there.
This buttered lemon basmati pilaf is my new consolation meals. It’s the form of rice you possibly can put beside something – a curry, a winter stew – though generally I would like nothing greater than a small bowl of it by itself. Gentle and easy.
The different purpose for my rediscovery of rice was my craving for warming spices as autumn kicks in; rice is sort of the automobile for the likes of cinnamon, saffron and clove. Last week, I cooked this biryani – one of the crucial stratified dishes I can bear in mind consuming. The rice is just partially cooked earlier than it’s layered with greens, herbs and fried onions in a pot, then lined and baked within the oven till simply the suitable aspect of crunchy. A biryani feels celebratory, I at all times assume.
These dishes have been the yin and yang of my kitchen this week – and each from the identical little grain I’ve been all however ignoring.
Biryani with saffron and golden veg
This could look like an extended ingredient listing and a variety of phases, but it surely really comes collectively shortly. The spices are wanted to layer the flavours in a delicate but beneficiant method. The subsequent day, you possibly can saute its leftovers and eat them with a fried egg. I’ve saved the rose water non-obligatory because it splits opinion.
8 cardamom pods
A small stick of cinnamon
Just a few gratings of nutmeg
1 tsp fennel seeds
3 bay leaves
A big pinch of saffron
1-2 tsp rose water (non-obligatory)
4 tbsp ghee or butter
3 medium onions, peeled and thinly sliced
A small thumb of recent ginger, peeled and finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp floor turmeric
½ tsp garam masala
500g root greens, equivalent to carrots, butternut squash and potato, grated
Salt and black pepper
300g basmati rice
A small bunch of mint leaves
A small bunch of coriander
A small handful of flaked almonds
1 Set the oven to 220C/425F/fuel 7. Put 4 cardamom pods, the cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, fennel seeds and bay right into a pan with 500ml water. Bring to the boil, flip off the warmth, then cowl and permit to infuse.
2 Crush the opposite cardamom pods, take away the seeds and finely grind, discarding the pods. Mix the powder with 4 tbsp heat water, the saffron and rosewater, if utilizing.
3 Fry the onions in 1 tbsp of ghee till mild brown and starting to crisp. Set apart half of. Add the ginger and garlic to the pan and fry the remainder for two minutes.
4 Add the bottom spices and grated veg. Fry for 3 minutes and season nicely with salt and pepper.
5 Heat the remaining ghee in one other pan and fry the rice over a excessive warmth for a couple of minutes, till shiny. Strain half of the spice-and-bay liquid into the pan. Bring to a boil, scale back the warmth, cowl and prepare dinner for about 6 minutes, or till the liquid has evaporated.
6 Now, assemble your biryani. Put a layer of rice in an ovenproof dish. Sprinkle over the remaining strained spice-and-bay liquid and a number of the saffron-rosewater liquid. Add a layer of the grated vegetable combine. Sprinkle over a number of the fried onions, mint leaves and coriander. Repeat with one other layer of rice and pour over the remaining saffron liquid. Dot the almonds on prime. Cover the dish tightly with tin foil. Put within the oven for 40 minutes, decreasing the warmth to 190C/375F/fuel 5 after 20 minutes. Fluff and blend with a fork earlier than serving and prime with additional fried onions and herbs.
Everyday buttered lemon pilaf
I use cup ratios here as I find it much easier when cooking rice to measure volume. If you don’t have a cup measure, a standard mug two-thirds full will be about the same. If you have time, soak the rice in cold water first, for up to an hour – this will knock two minutes off the cooking time. You’ll need a clean tea towel.
2 cups basmati rice
25g butter, ghee or coconut oil
1 tsp salt
1 Put the rice in a sieve, then run it under cold water for 30 seconds to remove some of the starch – until the water coming from the bottom of the sieve to look clear.
2 Fill and boil the kettle. Get a medium saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Put it on a medium heat, add the butter or oil and allow to melt and warm up a little. Add the rice. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring all the time, until it looks shiny.
3 Next, add 2 cups of boiling water from the kettle, the salt and the juice of 1 lemon. Bring to the boil and simmer for 4 minutes with the lid off.
4 For best results, wrap your lid tightly with a tea towel to absorb extra moisture. (Be very careful to tie it tightly over the lid as you don’t want it to fall off and catch fire.) I do this by tying opposite corners in a tight knot around the handle then repeating with the other two.
5 Once the rice has had 4 minutes, put the covered lid on top and leave the rice to cook on the very lowest heat for a further 8 minutes. Then turn it off and leave for at least 5 minutes, avoiding the temptation to peek. When you do take your lid off, you should see little puckered air holes in the rice and should be light and fluffy with no liquid at the bottom.
Anna Jones from theguardian.com