Sep 13, 2009

Rice, with a twist- a new technique

Who doesn't love rice! we all do..even a bread person like me would love rice sometimes. And coming from West Bengal--the land of rice and fish (I know this is re-hashing a point over and over again--but its so true), it is impossible to come up with rice variations which I can claim as 'unique'. Its impossible. But to me, it is kind of novel, if I can come up with something which is reminiscent of similar flavors, but with lesser effort, using less exotic stuff and in short time. 
Yesterday afternoon was one such day. Okay, here is a caution. The original dish involves some techniques which I do not think has ever been practiced outside the kitchens of Bengal. e.g there is this one practice where people boil rice and veggies and lentils (and even fish) along with the rice in the same container without mixing the things--sounds impossible? Think again. 
What people do is a neat trick-- say I want to boil some beans with rice. What I do is put the bean pieces in a cotton sheet and tie up the ends of the sheet and put it into the container which has the rice-- and add water almost up to the brim and let the two boil together. The rice gets infused with bit of bean flavor. Right before straining the rice, I would scoop up my little bag of beans and then mix it back with the rice once it is strained. Ohooo! You can do this with any thing you wish to infuse the flavor of. Neat ..ain't it? :)
That is enough talk. Here is one such --where you can use this technique-- but I have simplified version attached as well. But hey! what's with trying out something 'new'? After all that's the FUN :) :)
You will need 
A strainer
2 white square pieces of cloth--size of a hand napkin--optional!
20 shrimps- deveined and cleaned
2 tsp of dijon mustard
1 tsp of olive oil. For more exotic flavor you can use mustard oil (found in Indian groceries)
1 green chili, chopped
 half a cup of rice--long grain is better
1/4th cup of red lentil--optional
salt to taste
lemon wedge and/ or Cilantro for garnish
All you gotta do is boil :)
Place the rice in a saucepan and fill it up with water almost 4/5th of the way. Take 2 clean pieces of cloth and in one place the clean shrimps and in the other the washed lentils (if you are using them that is). Tie them up individually like a bundle and drop them in the rice. Make sure the bundles are below the water level. 
--If you are finding this confusing, which it is--just take another couple of sauce pans and place the shrimp and red lentils in them- lentils in one, shrimp in the other--and  fill both of them with water. And boil. The lentil will take ~ 10 min. Same as the rice. The shrimp is going to be done in 5 minutes.

If you are indeed going with the 'exotic' technique, bring the whole thing to boil. ~ 10-12 min so that rice is done. 
Fish out two if your bundles of joy and strain the rice in a strainer.  Place in a serving bowl. Open up the lentil bag and the shrimp bag. Mix the lentil with the rice in the serving bowl. In a different bowl, whisk the mustard, oil and add the shrimps to it. Coat em' over with the paste. Season with salt. 
Will look something like this

Mix this seasoned shrimp with the rice in the serving bowl. 
Garnish with lime and/or cilantro.
A rice with a twist--who does not like one. And you can wow your friends and family with the neat trick..and say (very sincerely) that its straight out of the kitchens of Bengal.
Happy eating and healthy living !

1 comment:

the ungourmet said...

This is very interesting! I've never made rice this way! I've never strained rice after cooking either. I'll have to give this a try! Thanks for posting this technique!