Friday, February 19, 2010

A Personal Best Dessert!

What can you say about a chef who says that he was trained in the kitchen by "innumerable thrashings"? That he is a perfectionist? That kitchen training can be tough? That his food is damn good? All of the above are true. It would have to be to survive and come out alive and cooking on the other side.

One of the best things about the book Prashad Cooking With Indian Masters are the stories of the chefs whos' recipes and words of advice  are contained inside.
 I've seen plenty of chefs' tales out of Western cuisine. Stories that would make Cinderella in her scullery look like she had it easy. This is the first book that I've run across where some of the great chefs of India tell how they got started. Some are the descendants of master chefs, others trained botanists (which somehow makes sense when it comes to cooking), some come from doing research into ancient cooking techniques, some are engineers and computer scientists who found themselves happier behind a stove. Others trained in France, and then there are the "kitchen rats", kids who were never happier than when they were hanging around a stove and willing to take their knocks to learn.
  I've got to say that this is my new favorite book, though I've had it for a while. I've only recently started actually using it to cook. Printed in India, it doesn't have the standard recipe index and to learn, one must work ones' way through and really study how the dishes are made. Anyway, it's easier than a thrashing.
  Since  I've been spending my time watching Olympic events on TV every night after finishing my writing,  I felt it was time to get my act together, step up my game and try a dessert from this book. After all, what's better and puts one in the Olympic spirit more than vegging out on the couch with a bowl of something deliciously sweet, watching all those athletes skidding across the ice on their rotundas.  It's almost as good as a workout!
  I was also eager to use my flameware casserole from Clay Coyote  for an actual Indian dish. I've  used this wonderful piece of flameware for oven baked polenta. It's always turned out superbly delicious with absolutely no stirring or standing or work! Pretty nifty I think. Why not use it for a classic South Indian Rice Dessert? It's a famous dish from Avadh, a  region in the modern state of Utter Pradesh and is usually served at festive occasions.  Our friend who'd just returned from Trivandrum said that his friends' wife  had made the dish for him. It's called Ananas Ka Muzaafar and is a dessert that dates back to the courts of the Mughal emperors. This version comes from Mohammed Naseem, Manjit S. Gill and Chandra B. Tewari.

   This dish involves very little up close and personal time at the stove, and once the rice is soaked (no effort on your part) and it's baking Dum Pukht style in the oven, it'll be ready just in time for the judges' scores. Here's how to do it.
  The Pineapple:
1.) Cut a fresh pineapple. You will only need two rings. Cut the rings into little wedges , set the rest aside. Save any juice left from cutting.

1.) Rinse and soak 1 and 1/2 cups of Basmati rice in water for 2 hours. Then drain it.
   The Syrup:
In a pan or pot add:
1.) 2 and 1/2 cups of sugar
2.) 2/3 cup of water
 Mix well on medium heat.
 When it's boiling add in:
3.) A pinch of ground nutmeg
4.) 4 tsp of fresh lemon juice
  Stir the mixture until the syrup thickens then add in
5.) 1/2 tsp ground saffron
6.) 1/2 tsp kewra water
7.) 1/2 tsp of fresh pineapple juice reserved from pineapple cutting.
   Set aside.
Pre-heat the oven to 250 degrees.
  In a large pot  heat 5 cups of water
  Add in:
1.) The drained rice
2.) the ground seeds of 5 green cardamom
3.) 5 cloves
4.) 5 drops of yellow food color
Boil it until the rice is just barely cooked, about 8 minutes.
Drain it.
Heat the sugar syrup over low heat , add in the cooked rice. When the syrup and rice come to a boil, toss in the cut up pineapple. Mix it well.
Pour the rice and pineapple mixture into a clay casserole dish and cover the dish tightly with crimped foil and a lid. Make sure it's sealed tightly.

  Slip it into the oven and relax for an hour.
 Just before the dish is ready to come out of the oven warm about 1/3 cup of clarified butter.
 When you are ready to serve, peel off the foil lid and drizzle the rice with the clarified butter.

  Serve warm. This dish can also be made using mango. I'm really looking forward to trying it that way.
So, I've finally busted into the Dessert chapter of Prashad and am now ready for more sweet adventures. I'm glad it didn't cost me a thrashing to learn this dish, but if anything were worth it, this royal delight  would be it!


  1. I may have to start house hunting to live by you to be your neighbor and be a test tester!! I just love the way rice and pineapple taste in hot dishes but as a dessert omg this must be fabulous! I wonder how it would come out without the clay pot or in a crockpot?

  2. Oh. My. Lord. How wonderful! This looks stunning... I will be trying this for sure! Sounds good with mango... Yum yum!

  3. @pegasuslegend,
    ha! we could get in to a lot of trouble in all sorts of departments if you lived near me. i know Alan would be asking for black and whites all the time. It can be baked in a pyrex dish, anything that can be tightly sealed and fits in the oven...not a crock pot though.

  4. Wow what a fab dessert, pineapple and rice oh my. Great recipe again, as always!!


  5. What a gorgeous dessert in an equally gorgeous piece of pottery! You were right to give us a heads UP yesterday! ~Mary

  6. Kathy,
    Sounds fabulous. That baking dish you used is in rare demand right now! We got caught flat footed this year and are way behind on cazuelas and cassoles (for cassoulet). It's going to take us a bit to get caught up but if folks want to get on the list they can let us know at or it could be done in a cazuela.
    What would happen if you slipped a bit of coconut into that one? Betsy became the proud owner of about 2 lbs of very fresh shredded coconut! Long story.

  7. @clay coyote,
    sounds great. I never met a coconut I didn't like.
    I get so many compliments on that baking dish,like Paula I've got all my clay out on display in the kitchen.

  8. Sounds new to me.... with pineapple
    Will soon give a try

    Kindly accept the award

  9. The pottery and the dessert are equally beautiful....and I'm really liking the photo of your pinapple cutter in action! I see them in the store all of the time and have resisted picking one up. :) Nice recipe--thank you!

  10. This is new to me and looks delicious. I have eaten pineapple fried rice and it's very delicious. I bet this one is very delicious too. Thanks for sharing.



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