Tuesday, January 4, 2011

From Out Of The Past... Rice With Turnips and Caramelized Oranges.

    I'm always looking for new Indian recipes. Of course there are so many varied dishes in the Indian kitchen that it's not very hard. One thing that I'm always looking for are old or obscure Indian cookbooks. Fortunately, my friend Paula Wolfert has made clearing out her cookbook closet a New Years Resolution and I've been the partial beneficiary. I don't know another person who has more cookbooks than she does, and in the midst of a bunch of reorganizing, she gifted me with some old treasures.
    Paula showed up at coffee one morning with a pile of books for me, and of course there was no way I was turning any of them down. Another plus to my sudden stash was the fact that I got these books just a couple of days before I was going to be cooking Alans' Big Birthday Indian Bash/New Years Eve Dinner. Ravenous for new recipes, I pounced on them.
   One thing that every Indian feast must have is a stunning rice dish. Since I had decided at the last minute not to do another Biryani main dish, I needed a stand-alone killer rice dish. I was also hoping for something that would be from the state of Rajasthan. All my wishes were met when I ran across a recipe for Rice and an Orange Flavored Turnip Pilaf. In all my years of Indian cooking I'd never run across a recipe quite like this before. I was in.
   Since I was cooking a lot of dishes, I was also glad that this was a very straightforward recipe that comes together with very little cooking; always a plus. I made a few adjustments, so here's my adaptation of this Rajasthani rice dish. I made this dish for 8 people and it was devoured and dinner-party perfect. For an every day recipe serving 4 to 6 people, I've cut it down.

Rice With Turnips And Caramelized Oranges

   Here's what to do:
   Grate 1 tsp of orange zest and set it aside.
 Peel 2 oranges. Make sure you lose the seeds and separate them into sections.
 Heat 1 Tbs of ghee or butter in a pan and when it's hot and foamy, toss in the orange sections. Cook them until they're lightly browned. Set those aside too.
   Peel 1 pound of turnips and cut them into bite sized cubes. Set them aside.
   Rinse 1 and 1/2 cups of Basmati rice in cool water and before you're ready to cook, let it soak in cold water for about 1/2 hour.
   Boil 3 quarts of water and when it's roiling, toss in the drained rice. Cook it for 4 minutes. It will be mostly done at that point, so drain it and set it aside.
    Add 3 Tbs of ghee to a large pot. When it's hot add in:
 1/3 cup of finely chopped onion
 2 bay leaves
   When the onion is lightly browned toss in:
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
 1/8 tsp ground cloves
 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
 1/3 tsp of ground ginger
 1/4 tsp of fennel pollen
 Stir everything around for 30 seconds or so, then toss in:
 The cubed turnips
 1 Tbs of sugar
  Orange zest
 Stir it around about 7 minutes or so until the turnips are lightly browned.
Now, pour in 1/4 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice.
   Cover the pot, turn down the heat and let the turnips cook through. This should take about 10 minutes or so.
  When the turnips are just cooked, stir in the mostly cooked rice and the orange sections.
    Cover the pot again and keep cooking until the rice absorbs all the liquid and is fully cooked.           It should take another 5 minutes or so.
   Turn the heat off and let the rice take a nap for about 5 minutes or so before you serve it.
I have to mention here that at a lot of dinner parties many times there's rice left over. This time there wasn't. It was gone. All gone. Rice, oranges and turnips.....who knew?!
 We did have some left over cake.

Well, not really. It was all gone by the next day. Really. I'm not telling you where it went, (most likely my butt) but it's gone.
 Unfortunately for Patsy. She was stood up for New Years Eve by her boyfriend Max the Springer Spaniel.He got hung up an another party and never made it over to pick her up.
Talk about hair of the dog!


  1. OHMYGOD I love that picture (not to mention your rice dish as well)

  2. @Janis.
    that's actually our friend Rons' dog Max. he fell asleep in the middle of the party so they took this compromising picture. Too bad you can't blackmail a dog

  3. You're so lucky having a friend like Paula, just like you, I never say no to receiving cookbook :)
    Your rice sounds like a killer dish, i'm very intrigued by the caramelized oranges. I have to give it a try.
    thanks for sharing

    the photo of the dog is soooo funny.

    Hope you're having a wonderful day



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