“I like rice. Rice is great if you’re hungry and want two thousand of something.” – Mitch Hedberg
In most Indian households, cooking a pot of rice is an everyday chore that everyone has to do or rather learn to do.” Basmati ” is derived from the hindi word ‘basmati ‘ which literally means fragrant. It is long grain, steeped in fragrance and is precious. It is the preferred rice for diabetics as it has a medium glycemic index of 56-69 as compared to white rice which has a glycemic index of 89. India accounts for 65% of the basmati rice overseas and the rest 35% is supplied by Pakistan.
When cooking Basmati, it is important to keep in mind – every cooked grain should be firm but tender and not mushy. In case you’re looking for simple tips to follow while cooking Basmati rice – you could go through my earlier post on ‘The Perfect Pulao’. I love basmati rice and there is no substitute for the fragrance nor for the length of each grain of rice when done.
Meat and rice are food for the body, whereas art and culture are food for the soul. Starve the body and the person dies, starve the soul and the spirit dies. -Greald De Marigny.
This particular dish -‘ Ribbon Rice ‘ has been the centerpiece on many special occasions and it doesn’t fail to impress friends and family. It’s the wicked combination of a mildly spiced green chutney and a tangy minced lamb entangled with cooked basmati rice that teases the palate, is delicious and leaves you asking for more. Not surprising. Another reason why I love this dish is – you just have to serve fresh yoghurt or raita as an accompaniment.
I still remember the first time I served this dish to my children, when they were much younger -and their first reaction ” what’s this?” It’s all so vivid in my memory and I had to plead with them to try a spoonful- well, the rest is history. They loved it and over the years I’ve tried out different combinations like substituting prawns / boneless chicken for minced lamb. It’s been awesome either ways.
- Basmati Rice – 11/4 cup
Cook rice in lots of water along with salt and whole spices (bayleaf, cloves, cinnamon and cardamom) till 3/4 done. Drain to remove any excess starch and keep to cool.
For the lamb layer:
- Minced lamb – 1/2 kg
- Onions-2 minced
- Tomato-2 minced
- Ginger- garlic paste – 2 tbsp
- Chilly powder- 1 tbsp
- Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
- Garam masala-1/2 tsp
- In oil, add chopped onion and fry well.
- Add ginger- garlic paste, powders, tomatoes and fry well.
- Add a tbsp of water, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add minced lamb and salt, 3/4 cup of water and mix well.
- Cover and cook on a low flame till lamb is cooked (15-20 minutes).
- The minced lamb mixture should be absolutely dry.
For the chutney layer:
- Coconut grated -4-6 tbsp
- Green chillies- 3
- Mint leaves – a handful or a small bunch
- Lime juice- 1 tbsp
- Salt and sugar
- Take all the ingredients and blend to a smooth paste without adding water.
- In a greased serving dish, spread a layer of cooked rice at the bottom and cover with a layer of chutney.
- Spread a layer of rice on top of the chutney layer and cover with minced lamb mixture.
- Again spread a layer of rice on top and bake for 15 minutes in a moderate oven (180deg.c)
- Serve with cucumber raita or fresh yoghurt.
Chef s tips:
- It’s the moistness of the green chutney that holds the dish together.
- Coconut grated should be fresh.
- While blending the ingredients for the chutney, taste and check for a balance of spice, salt, sweet and sour.
- Prawns, squid or calamari or a combination of seafood could be substituted for minced lamb.
- Serves 2-4.
Till my next post