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Saturday, July 18, 2015

A Fragrant Rice with Chicken, Saffron N Prawn-A Tale of Tantalizing Taste

Gobindobhog Rice cooked with Fresh water Prawn n Chicken with dry Red Chilies, Jalapenos, Saffron, Tomatoes- pure taste of delish

First I should tell you about this rice-Gobindobhog, a type of short grain rice from Bengal, the east of India. It smells amazing, how do I describe that smell, let me try- sweet, pleasant, fragrant, decent, subtle and full of promises. When you taste it, the depth of flavor coming from it takes you in a journey. So no wonder it is such a favorite rice to use when you are cooking something special, sweet or savory it handles both the sides extremely well. It has a sweet smooth buttery aromatic flavor, so often they are cooked with milk n sugar or jaggery to produce Payas/Rice Pudding/Chawal Kheer, sometimes they are cooked with chicken or fish or vegetables to produce fantastic pulao/pilaf, they are the base to make a fantastic “Murighonto- A savory rice dish with fish head n potatoes and whole garam masala”- it’s a never ending love story.

                          Now chances are if you live outside India, or even let’s say outside Bengal, you won’t get this rice easily, but still ask for this rice in Indian or Bangladeshi shops, it is every worth searching for. For this dish you can replace it with any short grain rice like risotto rice, Thai sticky rice, paella rice.

                                                                 I didn’t have a doubt when I combined this rice with prawns n chicken, what came out impressed me much more than what I imagined, the rice absorbs all the flavors so vividly, at the same time lifting the flavors up with its own flavor, in every bite I could taste the prawns, the tomatoes, the chicken, the garlic, the jalapenos, the saffron. It was like all the flavors were in harmony, n to top it all off it doesn’t take much time to cook, the rice takes 15 minutes to be done and all you have to do when the rice is cooking is to stir it in between.

Another layer of flavor comes from the aromatic spices that go in it, cloves, green cardamom, Indian Bay Leaf n Cinnamon sticks-as the broth simmers the spices release their flavor n blends into everything in the pan.

                     There are some recipes when you cook them it makes you a hero, people love you n the food that you cook-this is one such recipe. So next time there is a gathering of friends cook this and see them getting lost in the plate, which is actually a great sight to watch for a person who cooks with his/her heart.

                                    So now let me serve you the recipe, here we go…

For The Recipe: You will need

Govindobhog rice- 1 cup
Chicken breast-1 medium with bone, cut into 2 inch pieces, around 250 gm
Prawn- 4 big/ 6 medium, veined, washed but not peeled
Garlic – 3 medium cloves, chopped
Onion-1 medium, chopped
Tomato- 2 medium, chopped
Jalapenos- 2 tbsp
Green capsicum- 2-3 tbsp, chopped
Dry red chili- 1 medium, torn into pieces
Saffron- 2 pinch
Red chili powder- ½ tbsp
Turmeric- ¼ tsp
Cumin powder-1/4 tsp
Coriander powder-1/4 tsp
Bay leaf- 2
Green cardamom-1+1
Cinnamon stick- 2 inch
Soy sauce- a few drops like ½ tsp
Black pepper- 1 tbsp, freshly ground
Pink rock salt- few pinches
Brown fried onion- to serve, 1 medium onion-sliced n fried till brown in a pan, it’s optional
Water-3 -4 cups
Vegetable oil/olive oil-5-6 tbsp

1.     Soak the rice in water for half an hour, then drain the water. In a frying pan heat the oil, when the oil is moderately hot reduce the heat to low, add the dry red chili torn into pieces, chopped garlic n stir,  don’t let the garlic brown, add cloves, cardamom, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, give them around 20 seconds , then add the chopped onion. Give them about 2 minutes on medium high heat stirring often, then add the capsicum, give it 3 minutes, then add the chicken pieces, put the flame high and sauté them for about 5 minutes, stir in between. Add a pinch of sugar, mix, then add the rice to the pan and give it a good mix. Keep the flame on medium high and stir often; we are now frying the rice grains to some extent. Give them around 4-5 minutes on medium heat, then add some salt and mix well. After that add the tomatoes, jalapenos  and 2 pinch of pink rock salt and ½ tsp of freshly ground black pepper, give it a good mix n give them about 2-3 minutes. Mix the red chili powder, turmeric, cumin n coriander powder with little water to make a paste, add this to the pan and mix well. Add a splash more water so that the spices don’t burn.

         2.     Heat the water in a bowl; we will use this hot water to add to the pan. So back to the frying pan add the saffron strands, mix, now add 1 cup of the hot water n stir so that everything is uniformly mixed. Keep the flame high at this stage, add the prawns to the pan, very soon the water will be absorbed by the rice, then add another cup of water, reduce the flame to low, add salt according to taste and few drops of soy sauce, ½ tsp sugar and mix well. The water will be just simmering in the pan, when this water is again absorbed , add half cup of more water, this whole process will take about 15 minutes, at the final stage we want the rice to be not dry but with some liquid part in it. So the amount of water will vary slightly, if the rice is soft n fluffy n the consistency of it some a bit flow-y it is there, if the rice still needs to be soft add 1/2 cup water and give it a little time.

        3.     Now when the rice is soft, put the flame off, we will add the final touches. In a mortar n pestle crush one green cardamom pod and 1 inch stick cinnamon with 1 tsp of water,  when it becomes a coarse mixture add this to the rice, add some more black pepper n mix n cover the pan for 2 minutes.

So it is ready to be served, serve generously and sprinkle some brown onions over it or forget it, it tastes so very delish! Mmmmm…Bon Appétit.

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