One of the things you have to love about Keralite food is their liberal use of ghee. Enriching and energy giving, ghee is ladled into special dishes with abandon. This is a cross between Kerala Ghee Rice, Coconut Rice and Carrot Rice – a mixed rice dish of vegetables, warming spices and coconut milk.
2 cups basmati rice
1 Indian bay leaf (teja pat)
1 carrot, sliced in half lengthwise, then finely sliced
1 red onion, finely sliced
600 ml water
3 Tblspn coconut milk
4 Tblspn ghee
sea salt, to taste
5 cashew nuts, split in half
1 tspn sultanas
2.5cm mace blade
3 green cardamom
2.5 cm cinnamon stick
1 tspn black peppercorns
2 green chillies, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1cm piece fresh ginger root, chopped
Wash the rice, then soak in fresh water for 30 mins. Drain and set aside.
Grind the mace, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and pepper to a fine powder. Set aside.
Blend the chillies, garlic and ginger to a smooth paste with a little water, and set aside.
Now heat 3 Tblspn ghee in a kadhai or large wide pan over medium-high heat. Add the Indian bay leaf, carrot and half of the onion. Saute for 2 or 3 mins.
Add the chilli-ginger paste and saute for a minute. Add the drained rice and the ground spices. Stir gently and fry the rice for 1 – 2 mins.
Add the water, coconut milk and salt to taste. Stir well and bring to the boil. Cover tightly, turn heat to very low and cook for 12 mins. Without lifting the lid, allow to sit for another 12 mins.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining ghee in a tadka pan or small pan and fry the remaining onion until it is brown and beginning to crisp. Add the cashew nuts and saute for a minute until they are golden, then add the sultanas. Stir a couple of times then remove from the heat.
Place the rice in a serving dish and spread the onion mix over the top.