Author Topic: Perfect Pilau Rice  (Read 10178 times)

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Offline goncalo

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Perfect Pilau Rice
« on: March 20, 2013, 01:12 AM »
Requirements:

1 mug of basmati rice *
4 mug of hot water or enough to cover 1" above the rice level **
1 heaped tsp of butter ghee ***
2x1" piece of cassia bark
2 bay leaf
1 star anis
4 cracked-open green cardamoms
2 cloves
1 tsp of salt
0.5 tsp of turmeric (optional)
0.25 tsp black cumin
0.5 tsp fennel seeds


Prep (optional):

For a nicer, sparkling white rice, wash it thoroughly under the tap in hot and cold water and soak it for about 15-30 mins in a sieve and a bowl filled with cold water. Change the water once or twice throughout the soaking.

Method:

1. Throw everything into a pot on high heat with the lid on
2. Once the rice starts to boil, immediately lower to a low-medium heat (low simmer)  and fluff the rice with a spoon once.
3. After 2.5 minutes, turn off the heat and immediately drain the rice in a sieve, let most of the water drain
4. Return the rice back into the pot and seat it on the stove (or any other warm surface) for at least 5 minutes
5. Ready to serve

Expected Result:

Loose aromatic rice reminiscent of a good BIR.

Notes:

1. Basmati Rice is important as I can't vouch for the results you will get with other types of rice
2. Heat cold water in a kettle, don't use hot water from the tap
3. Alternatively you can use 1 tbsp of veg. oil
« Last Edit: March 20, 2013, 01:43 AM by goncalo »

Offline spiceyokooko

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Re: Perfect Pilau Rice
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2013, 11:05 AM »
Interesting, it's very close to what I do except the cooking sequence and quantity of ingredients is slightly different. I use more cloves and cardamons and no cumin. 300g of rice to 400ml of water.

I rinse and soak my rice first, fry the whole spices in the butter ghee for a couple of minutes, add the drained rice and stir fry for a couple of minutes coating the grains in the ghee, add some whole or powdered saffron or turmeric, salt, boiled water, bring to the boil and turn to the lowest heat with a cover on for 10 minutes. Take off the heat and rest for 15 minutes.

Fluff and serve.



Offline goncalo

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Re: Perfect Pilau Rice
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2013, 11:29 AM »
Interesting, it's very close to what I do except the cooking sequence and quantity of ingredients is slightly different. I use more cloves and cardamons and no cumin. 300g of rice to 400ml of water.

I rinse and soak my rice first, fry the whole spices in the butter ghee for a couple of minutes, add the drained rice and stir fry for a couple of minutes coating the grains in the ghee, add some whole or powdered saffron or turmeric, salt, boiled water, bring to the boil and turn to the lowest heat with a cover on for 10 minutes. Take off the heat and rest for 15 minutes.

Fluff and serve.

Interesting. I tried this approach the last time (frying spices in butter ghee) but I felt the smell coming out of it wasn't right and this happened shortly after adding the spices, say 30 odd seconds, and not really preheated that long. The smell was reminiscent of a burnt plastic (though I was using stainless steel equipment.) I have never bought/used saffron either, but I've been willing to for a while. I don't think any of the BIR's I've been to ever used it, but I'm not too sure as I can only think of a single time I've had saffron and I can't relate to its flavour or smell on its own. As for cardamoms, that only reflects what I tried last time and which I thought was more or less well balanced recipe, the general rule is that the amount of spices can be easily tweaked to taste. In general, I love the aroma of cardamoms and I tend to add more than just 4. I don't particularly like the aroma of cloves and much less the flavour when I accidentally bite on, hence why I don't add a lot. I will give your method a try, as I stopped just after I got the "wrong smell" out of the whole spices in butter ghee. I will give it a try in an aluminum pan to see if that'd make a difference. Thanks :)

Offline spiceyokooko

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Re: Perfect Pilau Rice
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2013, 12:07 PM »
I cook my pilau rice in a big old Le Creuset cast iron pan with an enameled inside coating, I don't know if that makes any difference but I've never noticed any nasty smells frying off the spices.

And I agree with what you say regards whole spices, at the end of the day we tend to settle on what flavours we like best and tweak the quantities accordingly. That's the beauty of home cooking, you can do that.

With regards to saffron, I cheat a little and use a small pinch of what is essentially a pre-made Spanish Paella seasoning mix the primary ingredients of which are ground saffron, ground cloves, salt and paprika. I do have the whole saffron as well, but I find the ground powder easier and more convenient to use and find it colours nicely and adds a nice aroma. I prefer that to turmeric.

You can add saffron at the start of cooking in ground from as I generally do which colours everything pale yellow or you can soak whole strands in warm milk for 10 mins or so and sprinkle it in at the end of cooking before resting for a more mottled, random colouring, so you get white and yellow rice.

BIR's won't generally use saffron due to the expense of it and will use turmeric instead, but I find it adds lovely flavour and aroma to pilau rice.

I agree also on biting into whole spices, which is why I tend to sift out all the whole spices and decant everything into a container to keep in the fridge.

I also add 3 or 4 whole black peppercorns sometimes too.

But at the end of the day, as I said, we tend to adopt and use recipes and techniques we are happy with, suit our taste and produce the right flavours and results. Quite often there isn't any one right way of doing something, only the way that works best for you.


Offline StoneCut

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Re: Perfect Pilau Rice
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2013, 12:42 PM »
One problem could be frying saffron or using too much of it. If you actually fry saffron and/or use too much of it, it will make a dish bitter. Very bitter indeed. Not a very pleasant taste as properly treated saffron produces.

Whenever I use saffron I put the strings in a bit of water, let them do their thing and then add that water to whatever dish I'm making.

BTW: In another thread I mentioned that at least one of our better Indian Restaurants here in Germany actually uses saffron for their Tandoori dishes (I assume mainly as colouring). This might be due to many people here not liking artifical colouring very much.

Offline spiceyokooko

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Re: Perfect Pilau Rice
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2013, 01:11 PM »
One problem could be frying saffron or using too much of it. If you actually fry saffron and/or use too much of it, it will make a dish bitter.

Yes, I agree. Mine usually gets sprinkled on the rice before the salt and water go in.



 

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