Whenever the Hari Raya period rolls by, I always think about Ramadan food like lemang, percik, ketupat, satays, kerabu and murtabak. It also motivates me to serve like a full out local fare. So instead of white rice, I wanted to try and make this ‘yellow’ rice. Now, although this is similar to briyani rice, I don’t want to call it briyani because briyani rice to me is the rice that’s cooked together with the meat and all in one big pot. I cooked this rice as a separate component. Hence the name is just turmeric rice.
While making this meal, I also learned a very neat trick. If you hate having to deep fry poppadums because it will take a lot of oil and too much work; take a big plate, place the raw poppadums around without touching each other and rub a little oil with kitchen paper on each side and then microwave them for two minutes on high. They come out crisp and dry, without that greasy stuff collecting in certain nooks and crannies. And they’re just as good without having to use so much oil.
My kids were not so keen at first on the rice but got into it after I removed the star anise pods. I think the key with kids when they keep saying I don’t like something is to make them eat more of it because they are initially just put off by looks first. Something strange and something unknown. I added raisins before the cooking to make sure they’re plump and soft by the time the rice is cooked. If you prefer more chewy raisins, you can toss them in only after the rice is cooked like the cashews.
TURMERIC RICE WITH CASHEWS AND RAISINS
2 cups of basmati rice
3 1/2 cups of chicken stock
3 shallots chopped
2 garlic cloves chopped
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon of turmeric
3 star anise
2 tablespoons butter or ghee
Handfull of cashew nuts, pre-fried in little oil
1/4 cup yellow raisins
Salt and pepper
1. Chop the shallots and the garlic.
2. Heat a small amount of sunflower oil in a pan. Add butter or ghee.
3. As it melts, sautee the shallots and garlic till soft but not coloured.
4. Add the curry powder and turmeric powder. Toss around the oil.
5. Add the rice and coat every grain with the curry and turmeric paste.
6. Add seasoning of salt and pepper. Not too much salt.
7. Pour in the liquid and stir to combine everything.
8. Pour it all into a rice cooker.
9. Add your star anise and raisins and give it a final gentle stir.
10. Let the rice cooker cook till it’s done.
11. Before serving, gently fork the rice and add half of the pre-fried cashews.
12. Serve on a big plate or bowl and top with remaining cashews.
Enjoy with curry or other dishes.