Continued inspiration from the Middle East this week, it amazing how many new flavours and techniques I am discovering as I work through the various cook books on my shelf.
This weeks organic veg box, courtesy of Riverford contained some ‘Graffiti Aubergines’, an amazing looking variety that was going to be the star performer in another Bethany Kehdy recipe that was going to accompany the Jewelled Rice.
There are quite a few ingredients in this particular feast, and some interesting cooking processes. Both recipes are contained in one of my fave new books The Jewelled Kitchen, don’t take my word for it, the food blogging world is awash with praise for Bethany’s new book and clicking on the title above, will take you one such blogger.
The Rice (Basmati), is washed several times until the water runs clear, this removes surface starch, and helps make the final dish light and fluffy. You then soak the rice in warm salty water for a maximum of 30 minutes, and wash again removing more starch. You then add to boiling water, bring back to boil and cook for 3 minutes over a HIGH heat, and DON’T STIR, it will break the grains up. Then you gentle cool down using tepid water and thats the 1st stage complete !!!
The 1st stage of preparing the rice can be done a day in advance, and the rice can be put in the fridge, covered, until ready to finish.
The picture above is the rice at the 30 minutes resting stage, with the Graffiti Aubergines waiting patiently for their makeover!
Adwiya (Persian: ادویه), or Advieh is a mix of spice typically used in Persian cuisine, you can read more about it HERE. Mine was the number 2 variety in the back of the book and contained Pistachios, Edible Rose Petals, Saffron, Cardamon and Cinnamon. When ground and mixed, the smell and flavour is amazing. If you need a source of specialist ingredients I use Ottolenghi, Steenbergs, and have just subscribed to a new supplier ‘The Kitchen Nomad’, that provides a monthly service based on a particular country, which is well worth a look.
As well as the Advieh other ingredients include Barberries, (never used those before), flaked Almonds, Pistachios, Seville Orange rind (blanched 2-3 times), fresh Mint and Currants. The final cooking process involves steaming in water, with a cloth covered tight fitting lid to prevent the rice going soggy, before this is started, some oil is heated in the pan and a layer of rice is placed in the bottom of the pan and then sprinkled with some of the fruit, then Advieh, then another layer of rice, fruit, then Advieh etc. with the final layer plain rice.
The cooking process produces a Tahdeeg, a crispy base which has to be tried, it’s delicious. If you click on the picture above it will enlarge, and you can just see the light brown Tahdeeg on my rice, which I placed on top after breaking up into smaller pieces.
If you like what you see go buy The Jewelled Kitchen, its a beautiful inspiring book, and the recipes are just stunning.
The Aubergine, Veal and Yoghurt Crumble accompanied the Jewelled Rice, and introduced some more new ingredients not used before.
You can see the vibrant Pomegranate Seeds, and flecks of fresh Mint, Barberries are also used along with Aleppo pepper and Pomegranate Molasses. The dressing is a mix of Yoghurt, Tahini and Lemon Juice. The two dishes looked resplendent on the Moroccan table in the lounge and tasted just absolutely stunning. It did take some time to prepare both dishes but the results were well worth the effort, the ‘boss’ being very pleased with this weeks efforts.
I have just placed my advanced order for Rachel Khoo’s new book due for release in October, and also ordered a Vietnamese cookery book which I am looking forward to trying.
The final finished meal, Jewelled Rice with Aubergine, Veal and Yoghurt Crumble. Enjoy…