Friday, August 15, 2014

Indian-Style Lemon Rice with Kari Leaves

Bursting with fresh vibrant lemony flavour, this simple and delicious south Indian rice dish is one of my favourite recipes. Freshly squeezed lemon juice gives a lovely refreshing and tangy flavour to the rice, punctuated with the intoxicating aroma of fragrant kari leaves and stir fried or 'tempered' spices. Tempering is a method widely used in Indian cuisine, in which whole or ground spices are heated in hot oil or ghee then added to a dish. Hot fat has an incredible ability to extract and retain the essence, aroma and flavour of spices and herbs which transforms dishes from mundane to magical. 

Indian Lemon Rice
Serves 6-8

2 cups Basmati rice
1-3/4 cups hot water
1/2 cup onions, peeled and diced
1 lemon, juice and zest
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
2 tbsp oil

1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/8 tsp asafoetida
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
3 dried whole red chilies
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup kari leaves

Heat some oil in a large skillet over medium heat and saut√© the onions until they're soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the rice and stir for 2-3 minutes, making sure all the grains are well coated and slightly toasted. Add the hot water, turmeric powder, salt, lemon zest and bring to a boil then cover until done. Remove from the heat and set aside. 

Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a small saucepan on medium high, and 'temper the spices' by adding the mustard seeds, asafoetida, fenugreek seeds, and whole red chilies to the oil and heat for about 3-5 minutes. When you hear the mustard seeds start to crackle and pop, add the kari leaves and cover for a few seconds. Remove from the heat and wait a moment for the seeds to calm down, then add the tempered spices and lemon juice to the rice and mix well. 

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