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"A Little Bit of Sunshine", is the theme for this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), where we are currently cooking from Yotam Ottolenghi's recipe until September. This theme is all about food or ingredients with the sunny colour of yellow and/or orange. There are quite a number of recipes that I've thought of making, especially the Roasted Sweet Potatoes Wedges, which sounds really good, but I cannot get any nice sweet potatoes, so that will have to wait. And since I'm craving for some Indian meal (again!), I've made YO's, Lemon And Curry Leaf Rice to go with some pork curry and a vegetable dish, both from Madhur Jaffrey's recipes which I will be sharing next week.
The original recipe requires the rice to be baked in the oven. But I chose to cook the rice in the rice cooker, just because I'm cooking the rice earlier and it will be nice and warm when we have it for dinner later. This is really easy to cook. Wash the basmati rice and soak in water for about 20 minutes. Next, in a saucepan, put the cinnamon stick, cloves, lemon zest, curry leaves, salt and white pepper, together with some water and let it come to a boil. I have reduced the amount of salt, since I'm having it later with some curry. Drain the rice, put it in the rice cooker pot, pour the hot spice water into the rice cooker pot, cover and cook as usual. (For baking in the oven, please refer to the recipe below).
When the rice are done, melt some butter in a small saucepan, here I have added some curry leaves into the melting butter for some nice curry leaf fragrance since my curry leaf plant has lots of green lush leaves at the moment, better use them up! The original recipe does not call for these extra curry leaves, you may omit this step if you want to. When the butter has fully melted, swirl in one tablespoon of lemon juice, and pour this mixture onto the cooked rice, fluff them up with a fork and serve. Remember to remove the cinnamon stick and cloves before serving.
The lemon rice is really nice! It has a mild lemon flavour and just a hint of lemony taste which is just right. We had the lemon rice with some pork curry (so delicious!) and a vegetable dish. I have added some freshly grated lemon zest for more lemony fragrance just before serving, and for myself, some pickled lemon, which is really good eaten with the rice and curry. A satisfying meal!
Lemon and Curry Leaf Rice
(source from here)
5 short cinnamon sticks (10gm)
10 whole cloves
1 lemon, zest shaved, pith removed
2 stems fresh curry leaves - about 25 leaves (or 35 dried leaves)
salt and white pepper
400gm basmati rice, rinsed, soaked in water for 15 minutes and drained
60gm unsalted butter
1 tbsp lemon juice
Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. In a saucepan put the cinnamon, cloves, lemon zest, curry leaves, a teaspoon and a half of salt, half a teaspoon of pepper and 650ml of cold water, and place on a high heat. As soon as it comes to a boil, remove from the heat.
Put the rice in a roughly 24cmx30cm ovenproof dish or roasting tray, pour over the hot spice water and stir. Lay a piece of greaseproof paper over the surface and cover the dish with foil. Bake for 25 minutes, then remove and leave, still covered, to sit for 8 to 10 minutes.
Just before serving, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Once it has melted and is very hot, carefully add the lemon juice and swirl to mix. Pour this over the hot rice and fluff it up with a fork. Taste for seasoning, transfer to a serving bowl and serve at once (if you prefer, remove the curry leaves and cinnamon sticks).