Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Coconut Rice Pilaf

Just when you think you have your favorite version of a staple, there will be a recipe in there that surprises you. Like this one! I have my favorite versions of Indian-influenced rice. But then I made this one, and it may change everything. Very very tasty! 

It does require some somewhat specialty ingredients that do not have easy substitutes. If you like cooking Indian food, however, these ingredients will be staples and you should go ahead and get them.

Do take note of the rice preparation steps. You can skip these steps, but, it will make the rice stickier and less "Indian." If you haven't soaked your rice before, I recommend you try it at least once to notice the difference in texture that this step creates.

Coconut Rice Pilaf

1 c basmati rice
1 1/2 c cold water
1 T vegetable oil
1 tsp mustard seeds (yellow or black)
1/4 c split black lentils (urad dal) or yellow split peas (chana dal)
1/4 c cashew nuts, whole, raw
8 medium shallots, thinly sliced (or, 2 small mild onion)
2-3 dried peppers, Thai or serrano preferred
10-12 fresh curry leaves
1/4 c unsweetened coconut flakes
1 tsp salt

Place rice in a 1 1/2 quart saucepan. Add enough cold water to cover. Rub rice gently with your fingers. Drain and repeat 4-5 times, until water runs clear. Drain. Cover rice with cold water and soak 30 minutes. Drain again and return rice to pan.

Heat rice and 1 1/2 c cold water to boiling, stirring once. Reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered, 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until almost all the water has evaporated.

Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook 5 minutes. Then, remove from heat and let stand, covered, 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oil and mustard seed in a 10" skillet over medium heat. Once seeds begin to pop, cover skillet and wait until popping stops.

Add black lentils and cashews. Stir-fry 1 minute, or until lentils are cashews are golden brown. Add onions and chilies and cook 1-2 minutes, until partially brown.

Mix in curry leaves and coconut. Cook 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, until coconut has toasted. Add coconut mixture and salt to the cooked rice. Toss well and serve.

Farm Box Ingredients used: onions

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