Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sadaf’s Rice and Raita

I have been meaning to post this recipe for ages, and was reminded today when I watched the kid forget all about his demands for macaroni and cheese (out of a box, yes, it’s true) as he gobbled down two bowls of this yummy Middle Eastern classic. The proper name for the rice and peas is pullao, but in our household we call it Sadaf’s Rice, named after my friend Sadaf, whom the kid adores and I begged the recipe from.

I have modified Sadaf’s original recipe slightly, to make it a bit more compatible with my North American pantry. If at all possible, try to source all of the whole spices; they are available at many regular grocers and most bulk food stores, and can certainly be found in any Asian grocer. Since the spices are whole, they last a long time when stored away from light and heat.

Sadaf’s Rice:

1 – 2 cups basmati rice
4 tsp olive oil
1½ tsp black cumin seeds (use regular cumin seeds if you can’t find black)
12 whole peppercorns
4 whole cloves
2 green cardamom pods
1 black cardamom pod (add a couple more green pods if you can’t find black)
1 cinnamon stick
1 medium onion, diced (reserve 1 tbsp for raita)
2 cloves garlic, sliced or minced
1 can chick peas, drained
chicken broth or 1 bullion cube

Rinse and soak rice in a fine mesh strainer or loose-weave cloth for 20-30 minutes. Drain.

In a heavy saucepot on medium-high heat, fry spices in oil until seeds begin to sizzle. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are browned, about 5 minutes.

Add drained rice, chick peas, and broth or water to cover ½ inch above the rice (about double the quantity of rice used). Boil uncovered until liquid is almost level with rice; cover with tight-fitting lid and simmer on low until liquid is absorbed, about 12 – 14 minutes. (Make raita while rice cooks.)

Let stand, covered, for a few minutes and then fluff rice with a fork or chopsticks. Remove the cloves, cardamom pods, and cinnamon before serving.

Raita (Yogurt Salad)

½ to 1 cup plain yogurt, ideally 2% or higher (I use 6%; it’s worth it)
1 cup or more English cucumber, sliced half-moons
½ cup carrot, shredded (optional)
½ cup radish, thin slice (optional)
1 tbsp onion, minced (or a couple pinches of onion powder)
½ tsp dried mint
½ tsp ground cumin

Mix all ingredients together and let stand in refrigerator for 10+ minutes, to allow flavors to blend. To serve, spoon on top of pullao.

When you can't find the whole spices

Any of the following ground spices can be substituted in the pullao, but they will alter the flavour a bit. They burn easily; only let them cook for a moment before adding the onion and garlic.

tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground black pepper
tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground cardamom (replaces both green and black pods)
½ tsp ground cinnamon

No comments:

Post a Comment