I met Krystallia through this workshop and by met, I mean, met online. We seem to like similar images,…I don’t know what it was, but we became friends. Krys asked me to do a guest post on her blog ‘My Cooking Secrets’ , we started brainstorming about ideas, The time difference of eight hours did not come in our way, we were chatting till midnight. I asked her to tell me a little about herself, other than photography,…. “My favorite moto is ‘’DO NOT WASTE FOOD, there is always a way to CREATE a dish from scratch’’. Seriously it was like my mom talking, I grew up on that….wasting food was unheard of and you eat what you get. I knew why we had become friends, we talked about a lot of things about Greek food, about real food, local foods and why we both started blogging, she said, “I didn' t set out to be a food photographer, let alone a blogger. I was previously an executive secretary and account assistant. When I got married and moved to Malta I focused on what I loved most. To create recipes, promote the Greek cuisine and inspire people to cook. My blog was the perfect way to combine my creative interests, yet it made me feel incredibly happy, so I ran with it.” Two women thousands of miles apart, who have never seen each other ( Krys, better put up a profile picture on FB), yet had so much in common. At the end of the day we are all the same under the skin and we relate to similar emotions. Krys is so passionate about her food, it percolates to her blog. Her enthusiasm and passion is surely contagious. Thanks so much Krys for your friendship and all the energy you bring to the blogging world.
Krys had a few questions…over to her to read the informal chat.
I got a few request after this post, to share my secret to a fluffy, everyday pilaf, not a sticky rice cake. really no big secret, it’s not me, it is the rice - Dehradun Basmati rice. This one is for one of my close friends and sister from a different mother :)
I grew up on basmati rice, we lived in Dehradun for a considerable amount of time and my mother bought her rice directly from farmers, it was usually kept away for a year or two to age ( just like wine). She had year tags on the huge tin boxes where she store it. I would often see her ( even now) rub the rice between her palms and sniff. The grains were long and fragrant and grew longer as they cooked. Some years the rice would be so fragrant and long that it would not be used everyday and would be kept away to be used on special occasions. We had strict instructions, no wet hands in to the tin box, don’t keep it open for too long and soak the rice before you cook it. Rice was always bought once a year during harvest and kept away, the rice from previous years would be used. Even now she will never buy a branded bag of rice :) that is reserved for lesser mortals like me who have no other choice. Basmati means queen of fragrance and to me there is nothing better, grown at the foothills of the Himalayas, it has a magical taste.
1 cup basmati rice
1 1/2 cup water
2-3 tbsp ghee - clarified butter : recipe here
1 tsp cumin
1 green cardamom or half black cardamom or 1/4 tsp powdered
1 tsp pepper corn crushed
1 bay leaf
4 tbsp cashew chopped
4 tbsp rasins chopped
1 tsp lemon juice
1 small onion finely chopped length wise
2 green chillies split
salt to taste
Soak the rice for 30-45 min in tepid water.
Add ghee to a non stick pot, heat after it melts add cumin let it splatter, now add all the other spices and raisin and cashew nuts and roast. Add the onions, green chilies and salt and roast till transparent and NOT brown, we do not want it to caramelize. Drain the water from the rice and add the rice to the ghee and roast for a min or two, add water and bring to a boil, now lower the flame to medium-low, add 1 tbsp lemon juice and close the lid. Keep checking, to see the water has evaporated, every rice is different, even from the same brand, in a different pack it could be different and some rice might need more water, so add a little bit at a time ( 2 tbsp) if u feel the rice needs water and is burning. Keep lid closed do not stir, as it will break the extra long grain, when you are ready to serve stir with a very delicate hand, with a dollop of ghee.
Why didn’t we caramelize the onion : If you want pure white rice, and not a mild roasted color, but if u prefer the color a bit brownish, go ahead and caramelize your onions you can add 1 tsp of sugar too, to give a deep caramelized color.
Why lemon ? : the acid in lemon is dual purpose, keeps the rice white and also keeps it from sticking, nice and grainy, the way basmati should be.
You can pair this with a lot of different curries