One day I learned a simple cooking technique that turned out to be one small step for me, one giant leap for my culinary skills. This is it:
Grinding fresh spice pastes- in so many recipes, this is a step that takes the dish to a whole new level. In India, many kitchens are equipped with "mixies", compact grinders that can reduce tough whole spices to dust and churn fried onions to a silky paste. I haven't invested in one of these, but for now, my small inexpensive coffee grinder allows me to make spices pastes and powders that are quite satisfactory. Although mine is a Kitchenaid model sold in the US, there are 3 words written on this machine that make me quite confident about its pulverizing abilities: "Made in India".
My countdown to the new year continues, and recipe #38 is alambi bhaat (mushroom rice) from Enjoy Indian Food. Meera unstintingly shares recipe after authentic recipe; this blog is a goldmine of regional Indian food. Mushroom rice is a very inadequate name for this dish; with fresh coconut and spices and the umami flavor of mushrooms, the aroma nearly made me swoon.
The main modification I made to Meera's recipe was to use a whole box (10 oz, 5-6 cups) of mushrooms for 1.5 cups rice, because we love the flavor of mushrooms and they cook down so much. I also made a single spice paste instead of the two in the original recipe because if there is a short cut, you can be sure I'll take it.
Here is my shorthand recipe for alambi bhaat, to get the detailed recipe (and see a pic of the finished dish), look at Meera's post.
2. Grind the above to a fine paste with
-green chillies. Set aside.
3. Fry onions, add turmeric, red chilli powder, garam masala.
4. Add mushroom slices, fry for several minutes.
5. Add the spice paste, soaked rice, water, salt. Cook. Add lemon juice at the very end.
Meera wasn't kidding. As soon as I took my first bite of this bhaat, I was flooded by a taste memory. It does taste exactly like the prawn rice (kolambi bhaat) I remember eating as a kid. This one is a keeper!
I served it with a radish-cucumber salad for a fantastic dinner.
So, tell me, what should I cook next?