Friday, December 21, 2007

Brown Rice

Before Jira rice, it was brown rice, at least at my family get-togethers. After Jira rice arrived, my mom and all aunts discovered that it's even easier and then brown rice got a backseat! Traditionally, a Parsi delicacy, brown rice is served with Dhansaak. But we served it with anything from chicken curry to daal fry at the family get-togethers. Since this rice is not spicy hot but is quite flavorful with delicate balance of a few spices and caramelized onions, it makes a perfect combo with a spicy curry.

I have learned from a friend who is an expert in Iranian cooking that, this rice is cooked for longer than needed to get a uniform brown crust at the bottom. and that crusty rice is considered a delicacy.

Here's how I make it.

Brown Rice
2 cups basmati rice
salt to taste
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. sugar
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 bay leaves
A small pinch of turmeric powder (Optional)
1/2 tsp. dhana jeera powder/coriander-cumin powder
Roast together and crush using mortar and pestle -
1 cinnamon
4 cloves
4 cardamoms

1. Wash and soak rice till ready to use.
2. Heat oil in a pressure cooker. Add sugar. Then add sliced onions with bay leaves. Keep stirring on a low flame till onions are brown. This is what will give the characteristic "brown" color to the brown rice. So make sure that it doesn't burn but is uniformly brown.
3. Roast the spices and crush them using mortar and pestle. Make sure they are not powdered.
4. Add crushed spices, turmeric powder, coriander-cumin seed powder and salt to the onions. Stir well.
5. Drain rice and add to the pressure cooker. Add 4 cups warm water.
6. Increase the flame. Adjust salt. Bring to boil. As the water boils, close the lid of the pressure cooker. Put on the pressure. and reduce the flame. After 2 whistles, switch off the gas.
7. When the pressure drops completely, open the lid. Fluff the rice with a fork. Serve with Parsi Daal or Dhansaak.

Note -
1. Make sure that the spices are just crushed slightly and not powdered to get the right flavor.
2. If using turmeric, use it in very little quantity. Note that the color of this rice should be caramel brown and not yellow.
3. For richer flavor, use ghee/clarified butter for tempering. You can also drizzle some ghee over the rice, after it's cooked.


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