Saturday, August 8, 2009

Cashew Coconut "Crack" Rice

This has become a staple around here, since the girls really like it and just about everything can be found in the bulk dry goods section of the store (only the ginger and butter are perishable, and can be replaced if necessary with powdered ginger and/or oil). It's a simpler version of a recipe I made from Chandra Padmanabhan's Dakshin: Vegetarian Cuisine from South India ("Coconut Rice," pg. 66) only not quite so complex.

The name "crack rice" was given to this dish by some friends of ours who I guess loved it in an addictive, gotta-have-more kind of a way (the combination of the sweetness of the raisins, the richness of the butter/ghee and the crispy fried coconut and cashew make it the perfect late night pig-out food). So the name stuck, unfortunately, although I take it as a compliment.

The cast of characters:

4 C cooked rice (we use a combination of white and brown basmati)
3-4 Tb ghee or butter/oil combination
1/2 Tb mustard seeds (brown or black)
1 Tb minced fresh ginger (or about 1tsp powdered)
3/4 C raw cashews
3/4 C shredded coconut
1/2 C raisins
salt (taste)
chopped cilantro (about a handful), for garnish

The script:

Heat the ghee or butter/oil combination in a pan on medium heat, add cashews when hot and turn them until golden brown and crisp (some of mine in the picture above are slightly burnt, which I try to avoid but it's not a big deal), then remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the coconut, scraping and turning until it also is golden brown. I usually don't remove the coconut with the slotted spoon just because it's a hassle but it does give the dish a better texture. Add the ginger and mustard seeds until the seeds turn grey and the ginger is sauteed.

Add the rice and thoroughly coat it with the oil and ginger/mustard seed mixture (and coconut, if you left it in the pan), scraping the bottom with your spatula to make sure it doesn't stay stuck on the bottom.

Remove from heat, mix in the raisins and cashews (and coconut, if removed earlier), salt to taste and serve. Garnish with cilantro.

This is great served with a light split pea soup.


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