Author Topic: Yet another Pilau Rice method  (Read 9864 times)

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Offline ast

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Yet another Pilau Rice method
« on: December 24, 2007, 07:39 PM »
Hi Everyone,

Having read all of the existing methods for making Pilau Rice on the forum that I could find in this section, I thought I'd contribute my own way of doing it.  Like the variety of currys that I've tasted in many places, my experience is that no two restaurants have identical rice.  Some use loads of colorings and spices, some use hardly any, and there's a million in between.  To me, this version comes out quite close to several restaurant versions and isn't quite as complicated as the other ones I've seen thus far.

I'd be interested in what the rest of you think.  If this recipe is in the wrong place or isn't quite BIR enough, apologies in advance.

The basic technique is adapted primarily from how to cook rice as described in Su-mei Yu's Cracking the Coconut book http://www.amazon.com/Cracking-Coconut-Classic-Thai-Cooking/dp/0688165427/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1198521491&sr=8-1, and I pretty-much cook all my rice this way.  The following augments the basic technique with other Pilau Rice recipe ingredients and comes out pretty well.

Andrew's Total Absorption Pilau Rice
(normally enough for 3-4 people; total cooking time 35-40 min)

300ml measure of good quality Basmati rice (I normally use Tilda as it is readily available)
1/2 medium-sized yellow onion
4-6 whole cloves
3-4 whole green cardamom pods
3-4 bay/laurel leaves
Ground cinnamon
Sunflower oil
Red and green liquid food coloring (optional)

Method

Wash the rice in cold water 3 times, removing any foreign material or discolored grains.  By the third time, the water should be relatively clear.  Drain and set aside.

Chop the onion into small-ish pieces.  Note:  this is subjective, depending on how "visible" you want your onion to be in the finished rice.  Place the onion in a heavy saucepan with a tight-fitting lid and add the sunflower oil.  The oil should be enough to cover the bottom of the pan, but not enough to start filling up the sides (sorry I can't be more specific, but I never measure this--it's the same amount you'd add if you were to saute onions normally).  Saute the onion until translucent over high heat.

After the onions are mostly clear, put in the cardamom, bay leaves and cloves, being careful not to get splattered by any remaining hot oil.  Sprinkle in the ground cinnamon to taste (I normally add enough to get a thin layer over the bottom of the pot).  Stir quickly and dump in the damp rice and immediately add enough cold water to leave about 1/4 to 1/8th inch above the level of the rice.  It should be slightly over 300ml, but again, I just eye-ball it.  Reduce the heat to medium-high or medium, depending on how hot your fire and pan is, stir, cover and bring to the boil.

NOTE:  The temperature here is probably the most critical part of the process, and I still mess it up from time to time on other people's stoves with other people's cookware, so don't fret too much  if it doesn't quite turn out right the first time.  Next time put the heat a little lower and it should turn out perfect.

Once boiling, remove the lid and continue to boil until you can no longer see bubbles through the surface of the rice and the pan looks dry.  Stir occasionally to ensure that everything stays fairly mixed.  Don't over-do it with the heat at this stage, as there won't be enough moisture left to finish cooking the rice.

Cover with a tight-fitting lid and reduce the heat to a low simmer for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, you can optionally work the food coloring magic here.  You'll want to dilute it in some water per the KD method, and then make your lines across the rice.  If you do this, do it fairly quickly so all the steam doesn't escape.  Cover the pot and remove from heat for another 10 minutes.  Gently fluff and serve.

Additional notes:

If you want yellow rice, you could add yellow food coloring to the water you add to the rice before brining it to the boil.  I'd probably mix it up first separately and then dump it in rather than trying to mix it in the pot.  One of these days, I'm going to try it with saffron, but I just haven't bothered.

I normally don't bother with the food coloring at all as I've never thought that part of the BIR experience was that important to me.

The use of ground cinnamon vs. cinnamon stick was really the result of an emergency substitution one day, but I liked the effect (and more importantly, so did my wife), so it stayed.  Your mileage may vary depending on how much you like cinnamon.  Use one or two small sticks instead if you prefer.

The rice should be nice, slightly sticky, not over-cooked and should not stick to the pot--even in non non-stick ones.  If it does, the heat or the water wasn't quite right.

Feel free to experiment with it if you want more or less of any of the flavors, but don't mess with the boil/simmer/stand part of the process, as this is the crux of the method.  I also use the basic method to make ginger & lemongrass rice to go with Teriyaki Salmon, and rosemary & marjoram rice to go with chicken dishes, so it's pretty versatile.  However, using high-quality rice is essential.  Jasmine or Basmati works the best, but stay away from anything that comes in a box or is marked "easy cook" or "American style" if you're outside the US.  The results will be less than stellar.
"I'd like the Lamb Vindaloo; extra, extra spicy please!"

Offline Cory Ander

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Re: Yet another Pilau Rice method
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2007, 01:48 AM »
Hi AST,

Welcome to crO and thanks for sharing your recipe with us  :)
Regards,

CA :)


Offline ast

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Re: Yet another Pilau Rice method
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2008, 06:14 PM »
Here's some pictures from when I did this the other day.


After Adding Water to the Pan


Finished Rice before Fluffing (in Pan)


Finished Rice with Chicken Vindaloo

I also got to thinking a little more about this recipe yesterday, and I think the next time I try it, I'm going to add about 1-2 tsp of turmeric to the water as well.  It should give it a nice yellow color that you see in many restaurants, but without the use of food coloring.  I don't know that it'll add all that much taste, but I'll let you know.

In case you're wondering, I always use a heavy duty 2 qt (US) Calphalon anodized, non-stick pan and accompanying glass lid for the rice.  It can be much trickier in thinner pans, and may result in some sticking to the bottom.  I've had to do this when cooking at other people's houses from time to time, but as long as the pot has a reasonably thick bottom (or a multi-layered one like some of the stainless steel brands like All Clad/Revere Ware/Faberware), it should work just fine.

Another thing:  if you end up with rice that's too sticky for your taste, just use a tad more oil when you're sauteeing the onions at the beginning.
"I'd like the Lamb Vindaloo; extra, extra spicy please!"

Offline ast

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Re: Yet another Pilau Rice method -- this time with color!
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2008, 12:14 PM »
I did this today and tried my turmeric idea.  I was going to edit the original post, but I don't seem to have that option.  Can one of the moderators do it, please?

Add 1 tsp turmeric after sauteeing the onions and before you add the rice.  Continue as per the recipe.  If you do, your rice should turn out like this:


Rice after boiling and first 10 minutes of cooking

Now, I thought I'd go "whole hog", as they say, and do the red/green food coloring thing to prove that it can look like restaurant rice.  Unfortunately, I've clearly never done it using this pan/amount of rice before, so I added too much.


After adding previously recommended amount of coloring prior to final 10 min "resting"

The finished rice obviously turned out with too much color, and where the red and green mixed, it ended up almost black (appetizing, isn't it?).  I won't make that mistake again...


Fluffed rice with too much food coloring

If you're going to do the food coloring thing with this recipe, I believe the following amounts should work and give you perfect, restaurant-looking rice:

  • 1/4 tsp red diluted in 1 tsp of water
  • 1/4 tsp green diluted in 1 tsp of water

Obviously, you don't want to cross the colors, leading to nearly blackend badness.  Most of you probably know this already, but I wasn't as careful as I should've been, and Bobby said we should start posting our mistakes too.

I'm also not sure if I added a tad too much oil in the beginning or if it was a result of adding 2 tsp of extra liquid, but the rice ended up too wet.  Of course, maybe it was the loss of all the extra steam/warmth when I was taking the picture too... Hard to say exactly.

I'm going to experiment with the colors again next time at both the same place and earlier in the process to see which give better results.  I'll post what I find out when I get a chance.
"I'd like the Lamb Vindaloo; extra, extra spicy please!"


Offline haldi

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Re: Yet another Pilau Rice method
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2008, 04:23 PM »
Looking very tasty
I've never used ground cinnamon in rice before
I'll have to try

Offline Bobby Bhuna

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Re: Yet another Pilau Rice method -- this time with color!
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2008, 05:04 PM »
Bobby said we should start posting our mistakes too.
Good work! I would have never have thought of that yet now I can avoid it! It's like trial and error without the error! :D

Offline ast

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Re: Yet another Pilau Rice method
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2008, 08:34 PM »
Looking very tasty
I've never used ground cinnamon in rice before
I'll have to try

I like it for Pilau because I think it gives a richer taste.  I never use cinnamon sticks anymore.  Besides, I also need to fight with my wife for them as she uses them quite regularly in her baking - sometimes more than once - and, somehow, I don't think she'd want all that extra flavoring and color in her baked goods! ;)
"I'd like the Lamb Vindaloo; extra, extra spicy please!"


Offline ast

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Re: Yet another Pilau Rice method -- this time with color!
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2008, 08:36 PM »
Bobby said we should start posting our mistakes too.
Good work! I would have never have thought of that yet now I can avoid it! It's like trial and error without the error! :D

Yeah, well.  Glad I could help. ;)

At least it tastes ok, and it'll be smothered with curry anyway...  Maybe I'll complain to the chef! :D
"I'd like the Lamb Vindaloo; extra, extra spicy please!"

Offline billycat

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Re: Yet another Pilau Rice method
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2008, 09:23 PM »
your rice looks good with that vindaloo

any chance of the recipe you used for your vinda !!!
Mark

Offline ast

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Re: Yet another Pilau Rice method
« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2008, 09:52 PM »
Hi billycat,

Welcome to the forum!

Here's the version in the picture: http://www.curry-recipes.co.uk/curry/index.php?topic=2250.msg19097#msg19097, but I've moved on a bit since then.  I haven't made it like that again since January.

My current version is this one:  http://www.curry-recipes.co.uk/curry/index.php?topic=2271.msg19827#msg19827.  The newer vindaloo recipe is the basis of my jalfrezi recipe in the recipes section too (http://www.curry-recipes.co.uk/curry/index.php?topic=2326.msg19966#msg19966).

I've had an epiphany or two lately and been meaning to post them, but I'm just too busy at the moment with work.  Hopefully soon though.

Curry on! ;)

ast
"I'd like the Lamb Vindaloo; extra, extra spicy please!"


 

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