Rice is nice

Sim­ple, com­fort­ing and a one pot dish, th­ese rice dishes are unique in their own way

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Lifestyle - Ru­pali Dean ■ htc­ity@ hin­dus­tan­times. com

It is thought-pro­vok­ing to note that the sta­ple food of more than half the globe is a rice dish and is known by dis­sim­i­lar names such as our biryani or pu­lao, jam­bal­aya from the south­ern United States, bokum­bap from Korea, Span­ish paella, Chi­nese chau fan, the Greek pi­lafi and Ital­ian risotto.

All of th­ese struc­tures cook­ing in ‘one pot or pan’, with na­tive pro­duce and spices, give each their own ap­petis­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics. And al­though the prepa­ra­tion meth­ods are com­mon, the in­gre­di­ents are a closely guarded se­cret and each is dif­fer­ent based on the mar­i­na­tion and in­gre­di­ents.

The unique­ness

Paella is the name of the flat round pan in which the dish is made and served. The rice, sea­soned and coloured with clas­sic Span­ish saf­fron, is tra­di­tion­ally cooked out­doors over an open fire. Jam­bal­aya is a one pot dish with meat; the veg­eta­bles, rice and stock have orig­i­nated in New Or­leans, Louisiana, by the ca­juns around the bayou where food was scarce, as op­posed to the richer part of Louisiana. The Cre­ole jam­bal­aya uses toma­toes as base and re­lies on but­ter and cream for its rich taste. It in­cludes meats like sausage and chicken. The ca­jun jam­bal­aya, with a brown sauce base, is more rus­tic and is made with an­i­mal fat, and is spicier.

For the Chi­nese chau fan, prior to fry­ing the rice, one needs to stir fry the in­gre­di­ents (any you like) un­til cooked. The rice is then added to the wok. In Korea, women of­ten add a fried egg on top with a light soup, to pre­pare bokum­bap. Greek pi­lafi is cooked in broth with onions and spices and meat, usu­ally chicken.

A good risotto should be saucy in con­sis­tency and flow like magma. As for biryani, just the name gets us drool­ing. Made with spices and pieces of meat or chicken, ev­ery sec­tion in In­dia has its own dis­tinct recipe, from the Luck­nawi to the Hy­der­abadi and the Sindhi to the Kac­chi vari­ant, we have them all.


Chau Fan


Chef mak­ing Paella


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