As most of my regular readers know, rice is a staple in the RRC household. Whether it is steamed brown rice with stir-fried veggies, or white basmati rice with red beans or lentils, or black rice in summer salads!! I'm a rice freak :) !!! Today's recipe was inspired by my need to use a package of mushrooms and my 5 year old son's lack of desire to eat anything that looks like a mushroom.
Prep Time: 30 min
Ingredients (Serves 4):
- 1 cup Basmati Rice
- 2 cups Water
- 1 Small Red Onion
- 10 oz White or Cremini Mushrooms
- 1 tbsp Cumin Seeds
- Salt, to taste
Rinse the rice well in several changes of fresh tap water (until the water runs clean) and set aside. Using a food processor fitted with an S-blade, finely mince the red onion. Transfer to a heavy lidded pot such as a Le Creuset French Oven (I use a 5.5qt pot). Saute the onions on Medium high heat until beginning to golden brown. Add occasional splashes of water anytime the onions begin the stick to the bottom of the pot. Using the same food processor, finely mince the mushrooms (stems included) to the consistency of fine mince-meat (also called keema). Once the onion is golden brown, add mushrooms, mix well and saute for another few minutes with occasional splashes of water to prevent sticking. After about 5 minutes, add cumin seeds and saute until aromatic (about 2-3 min). Add rice, salt, water and mix well. Turn heat to high, allow the water to come to a boil and then reduce heat to Medium-Low, and cover the pot, with just a slit at one end to allow minimal escape of steam. Cook rice until tender (about 10-12 min) at this temperature. Once rice is bite-tender, cover the pot completely, turn off the stove and let sit for 10 min. These 10 minutes, called 'dum' are critical in making or breaking a pilaf!! The word, derived from Persian, means "steam cooked" ... where any residual water in the pot converts to steam under the heavy lid and allows any last remnants of rice to cook to their optimal tenderness. This method also allows for absorption of any excess water in the pot and makes for a fluffier rice pulao. Serve hot, with your favorite curry.
Note: I called this dish 'Keema Pulao' because the minced mushrooms do take on the look and texture of a minced-meat pilaf. Overall, it was a hit with my 5 year old and a hit with my 45 year old as well :)