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Monday, December 16, 2013

Gur Wale Chawal - Rice Cooked in Brown Sugar

This post is seriously late!
The awesome picture you see below is what my dear sweet Mami made when I visited Lahore over a year ago. She is used to cooking for much larger crowds so it was very amusing to hear ingredients going into the pot by kilos :-)
I am sharing her recipe below... which I downsized to about a cup of rice.
It's really quite simple to put together.. the only set back is that I can't find good quality Gur (a type of brown sugar) anywhere here :-( 
Several months ago I made a batch.... quite honestly it lacked the wonderful gold color that you see in pictures and the rich flavor... primarily because I ended up using Jaggery that you can commonly find in Indian grocery stores here.
I am not entirely sure about this.... but I think that even though they all start as cane juice Gur, Jaggery and Shakar are three very different products. Try and find Gur from Pakistan - which usually looks like large lumps rather than cubes - when you make this. And then send some my way :-)
I loved watching this video that shows Gur making in Sargodha. Very relaxing music and the imagery makes me home sick! I am sometimes very ambitious when it comes to cooking stuff the authentic way..... maybe one of these days I'll get a few jugs of freshly squeezed cane juice from Chaat 'n Roll and make some Gur at home :-)


You can definitely add lots of dried fruit, nuts and coconut into this. I like it naked with a hint of cardamom.

1 cup Long grain basmati rice (no other rice will work)
2 1/2 cups Water for boiling

3/4 cups Shredded Gur
1/3 tsp Freshly ground cardamom
1/3 cup Ghee (or melted butter)
1/4 cup Persian green raisins (or dried Persian apricots) *optional
1/4 cup Mixed nuts (like pine nuts, pistachios or almonds) *optional
2-3 Tbs Dried unsweetened coconut slivers *optional
1/2 cup Water

Start by boiling 2 1/2 cups of water in a large pot.
Add 1 cup of rice to it and boil until the rice is cooked almost al dente. To check simply rub and smash an individual grain of rice between your thumb and forefinger. The outer surface of the rice should be soft and tender but the middle will feel like it has at least 2 hard dots.

While the rice is boiling... take a separate cooking pot and heat up 1/2 cup of water. Add shredded Gur into the pot.... cook on medium low heat and stir often to prevent burning. When all is melted and combined add cardamom powder and ghee to it. Have this syrup ready and warm.... you will add the drained rice immediately into this.

Drain the rice... shake off the extra water and then add it to the pot that contains the sugar butter syrup.
Mix gently.. turn the heat on low.
Cover the pot airtight with a lid that has been wrapped in a moist kitchen towel... no steam should escape.
Steam for 15 minutes or until the rice is completely tender.
Mix in the coconut, raisins and nuts.
Done :-)
Its best when eaten slightly warm with some un-sweetened un-whipped 40% fat heavy cream on top!

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Monday, December 2, 2013

Rustic Strawberry Cake


A smallish strawberry cake I made cuz I was bored and had nothing to do :-)


I pretty much followed this recipe here and cut the amounts in half except for the vanilla bean and lemon zest. And for the frosting and filling I used stabilized whipped cream with 1/4 cup sugar macerated strawberries.
This is not my recipe but I am posting the amounts I used for convenience... I highly recommend you visit the link above to read great stories and details.

1 cup All purpose flour
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp Baking soda
1/6 cup Buttermilk (I didn't have any so I used 2 Tbs of Greek yogurt diluted with water)
1 Large egg (Room temperature)
1/4 cup Oil (I used melted unsalted butter)
1/4 tsp Almond extract (I skipped this)
1/2 Vanilla bean (I used Rodelle vanilla beans and kept the original amount)
1 tsp Lemon zest
1/2 cup Fresh pureed strawberries

Pre-heat oven to 350F.

I used a 6" dia and 3" high Wilton springform pan to bake this. Prepare your pan by rubbing some oil or melted buter on the sides and then dust lightly with flour. Place a parchment cut to the size of your pan at the bottom.

Combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, and salt) in a bowl. Split and scrape out the seeds from the vanilla bean. Rub the seeds into the sugar.

In a large bowl whisk together the melted butter and vanilla sugar for a few minutes. Add the egg and continue to whisk for another minute and then pour in the yogurt mixture.

Gently add the dry ingredients in 2 batches into the mixture and mix slowly. Fold in the pureed strawberries and zest.

Pour the batter into the baking pan and bake until done. Mine took close to 50 minutes to fully bake because the baking dish was quite deep. The baked cake had crispy sides and a dense texture as a result of longer baking. I have baked this cake before following the instructions exactly and in a larger pan.... that cake was moist and soft. I like both textures :-)

Cool on a wire rack. Use a knife to cut the cake in two. Use half the amount of the whipped strawberry cream as filling and the other half smeared on top.

Whipped Strawberry Cream

Macerated strawberries:
5-6 Medium sized strawberries diced into small pieces
1 Tbs Sugar

Stabilized whipped cream:
1 cup Heavy cream
2 Tbs sugar
1/2 tsp Unflavored gelatin
1 Tbs Warm water
1 Tbs Room temperature heavy cream

In a small bowl combine the cut strawberries and a Tbs of sugar. Let this sit on the counter top for about 30-45 minutes until the mixture becomes watery. Remember to drain the water out before folding the macerated strawberries into the whipped cream.

Please read the info here to make stabilized whipped cream... you'll have to scroll down a bit :-)

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