Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sweet Yellow Rice

At our house we like to serve a barbecued turkey on Thanksgiving.  But you can't serve mashed potatoes and gravy with a barbecued turkey, as there is no gravy.  So we serve sweet yellow rice instead, which goes very very well with the flavor of the turkey.  And by the way, my husband makes the best barbecued turkey in the world.

This is my version of a recipe by Madhur Jaffrey, which you can see here.  I've adapted her recipe to my way of cooking rice.  I've never actually cooked it her way.

1/2 tsp saffron (optional)
2 tablespoons warm milk (optional)

1 cup basmati rice
1/4 cup ghee, or just plain butter
4 whole cardamon pods
1 stick of cinnamon
1 tash of tumeric (this is what really makes it yellow)
about 2 cups of water
3 to 4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
2 tablespoons golden raisins

The saffron is optional, but if you are using it you need to remember that it should be dealt with about 3 hours before you start the rice cooking.  Fry the saffron in a dry pan until it turns a shade darker.  Soak the saffron threads in the milk for about 3 hours.

Forty-five minutes before you want to cook the rice, rinse the rice well and then put it to soak for thirty minutes.  Then drain well in a strainer for fifteen minutes.  

Heat the ghee or butter in a heavy saucepan, adding the cardamon and cinnamon stick, and fry for a minute.  Add the rice and saute for about 3 minutes, until the rices start to turn white.  Add enough water so that when you stick you index finger into the water to just barely touch the rice  the water will come just to the first joint on your finger.  Stir in the turmeric and bring to a boil.  When it comes to a boil, stir once to loosen any rices that are stuck to the bottom of the pan, then adjust the heat to medium high and leave to cook uncovered until the water is level with the top of the rice.  

At this point stir in the sugar and almonds and raisins and saffron and milk.  Turn the heat to low and cook until there is not water.  It will make a little ticking sound, and when you look down on the rice you can see through the holes to the bottom of the pan.  Remove from the heat, cover, and let sit until dinner time.

As you might suspect, the cardamon and cinnamon should be removed before serving, but I don't do that.  I just warm people.  It's so amusing when they accidently bite into the cardamon.  It's all part of the experience.  I don't add salt to my rice, but you can add a 1/2 teaspoon if you like.

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