Dec 14, 2009

Black rice and Lychee dessert...

Okay now i am not sure how many of you are familiar with 'Black rice'. In case if you have not i thought i shall just add few information about it.

Black rice is one of several black-colored heirloom plants producing rice variants such as Indonesian Black Rice, forbidden rice, or wild rice. High in nutritional value, forbidden rice is rich in iron. Unlike other black rice from Asia, it is not glutinous or rough. This grain is high in fiber and has a deep, nutty taste. Black forbidden rice is a deep black color and turns deep purple when cooked. Its dark purple color is primarily due to its high anthocyanin content [1] [2]. It has a relatively high mineral content (including iron) and, like most rice, supplies several important amino acids. - Courtesy WiKipedia

Here it is called as 'Kavini Arisi'. Actually i don't know what it means but it is used quiet popularly in the Chettiar households of South India. It should be easily available in the Asian stores.

Some of the dishes that can be made using kavini arisi/ Black rice is Sweetened version like a pudding, or Halwa which is a fudge like dessert or Kheer which is a syrupy dessert.

What is traditionally made at home is a 'Kavini Arisi Payasam'/ Kheer. The rice is broken and ground to a paste which is again cooked and sweetened and flavoured with cardamom.

But i have an interesting recipe which is a fusion of Thai and Indian.

Basically the rice is cooked and diluted with thick coconut milk. I add Rose syrup or Rosewater and bits of Lychees to it. I simply love the nutty taste of this rice which is further enhanced with sweet smelling rose syrup and juicy lychees. It tastes divine the second day.

I urge you to give it a try because it is unusual and will surely be enjoyed.

I used

1 cup black rice
2packets coconut milk - 400ml
Rose water - 2 to 3 tbsp
1/2 cup milk
sugar to taste
Tinned Lychees

Soak the rice overnight...

Boil 3 cups of water and pressure cook the rice till it turns nice and mushy..
You can use a masher to mash it up a little bit.

Now let the rice to cool for some time.

Add sugar , boiled milk and one packet of coconut milk and rose water and leave in the refrigerator to chill. When it has chilled completely add the second packet of coconut milk and give it a stir.

Chop the lychees into bits and mix it up.

Serve chilled.

Corn and Broccoli in Bechamel sauce...

'Bake' is what this dish is very fondly called at home. Baking is not a common method of cooking especially in south Indian cuisine. I cant think of any dish which calls for baking at all. OTG was a much feared and occasionally used by which I mean 'used for occasions' sort of gadget at home. I know i sound quiet primeval.

My cakes and bakes are popular now ... but i alone know how many have gone down the drain to have finally made it to the table.

Anyway coming back to the 'Bake'... It is basically vegetables in bechamel sauce , topped with loads of cheese and baked. Normally 'cauliflower bake' is what is popular at home. But personally i like corn and spinach or corn and broccoli .

I do it very often as it is a big hit with my boys . Frankly i dont remember anybody disliking this dish . It can be made a day ahead and baked just before serving and also it sits pretty on any party table.

Some people like to flavour their bechamel sauce with garlic and bay leaves but mine is just plain milk and roux combined, and heated to get this creamy white smooth sauce. Only thing one needs to watch out for is to not let it form lumps .

This tastes best with garlic bread.

What you will need is a nice fresh head of broccoli.. and a tin of sweet corn. I used Green giant Sweet corn kernels.

Cut the broccoli into tiny florets and you can either steam them or blanch them.

Now to make the Bechamel sauce you will need :

3 heaped tbsp of butter
2 heaped tbsp of plain flour
salt to taste
500ml of milk

Heat a pan and melt the butter. Now add the plain flour and fry it till the raw smell changes and it becomes light brown.

Take the pan off the flame and keep it on a surface and add the milk (I use slightly warm milk).. while simultaneoulsy whisking it briskly . Return the pan to the flame and heat it and allow the sauce to thicken. Add salt to taste.

Now combine the corn and broccoli in the white sauce.

And pour it in an attractive oven proof dish..

Now top it with a liberal helping of cheese ... i like to use a combination of cheddar and mozzarella if i am going to serve immediately. Else i just use plain cheddar. Also dot it with tiny blobs of butter .

Now bake it in an 180 degree oven for about 20 to 25 mins till it begins to bubble and browns on top.

Garnish with tomato slices and basil . Serve with warm garlic bread.