Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Masaledar basmati - spiced basmati rice

As I was already making a vast array of meat and vegetable curries, a dal, appetisers and bread for my NYE Curry Feast I wanted to make sure the rice was as simple as possible. Not purely because I didn't think our palates needed any more stimulation but also because time-wise things were starting to get a wee bit fraught. Unlike many of the other dishes the rice really did need cooking fresh and this recipe is easy, simple and possibly the tastiest rice I've ever eaten. I first tasted it at my brother's house (with a phenomenal curry goat)  as he's a Jaffrey devotee as well so I was delighted to find it in my trusty copy of Indian Cookery. Incidentally I inherited/nicked this 18 year old book off my mother-in-law and really must remember to tell her how useful it has been.

Top: Saag aloo. Bottom: Spiced basmati rice

Spiced Basmati

  • 400g basmati rice
  • 2 tblsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 fresh hot green chili, finely sliced - with seeds
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp salt (depending on how salty the stock is)
  • 500ml good chicken stock
  1. Put the rice in a bowl and wash in several changes of water. Drain and then cover with 1.25l of fresh water and leave to soak for 1 hour. Then pour the rice over a sieve and leave to stand, draining for at least 20 minutes.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan over a medium heat. Fry the onion until they start to brown and then add the rice, chili, garlic, garam masala and salt. Stir gently for 3-4 minutes until all the rice grains are translucent with the oil then add the chicken stock and bring the rice to the boil.
  3. Cover the pan with a heavy lid, line the top of the pan with tin foil to make sure the steam cannot escape if necessary (I sit a cast iron pestle over the lid handle for added weight), and turn the heat down to the lowest possible setting - use a heat diffuser if you have one. Cook for 20-25 mins. The rice is ready when the grains are soft. Don't worry if you have a thin layer of rice stuck to the bottom of the pan as it will wash off after soaking in hot water for 10 mins.
A nice garnish for this dish is chopped fresh coriander or thin slices of fried onions.

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