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Saturday, January 9, 2016

The shade of the color purple in my plate in the sweetest way

Purple Carrot Rice Pudding: with the sweet flavor of the carrots n their wonderful color with Clove, Cardamom, Rice, Screw pine water n Milk with Almond Praline

Carrots n winter goes hand in hand, during the winter the carrots come out from down the earth as if it’s magic and what a beautiful surprise it is! Anyone who has grown carrots in his garden, he will cherish the moments when he/she pulls out the first carrot of the season-a wonderful sight. The seasonal carrots always taste different n better than those we get all year around, so this winter which is now, a week ago I was wandering in the local vegetable market and what a colorful sight it is: shades of red, yellow, green, purple, orange, crème yellow n then I found out the purple carrots! My very first ones!

Interestingly just that week before I had tasted black carrot ice cream by the great chef Gagan Anand , the ice cream was covered with carrot powder and pistachios, after that I was so keen to find the black or purple carrots n I got them where I was not even expecting them to be, life surprises you. When you get your hands on some purple carrot, grab them, their flavor is very similar to the red ones, but their color is what will influence you, inspire you like a beautiful landscape inspires an artist. Let it make you go all purple.

As I sat n thought what should I prepare with them, I had two things hanging in my mind,  Gajrela /Gajar ka Halwa which is a  concentrated carrot fudge and I thought of Kheer with chawal- a rice pudding n I realized I wanted  both of them and I wanted to lift them up with a touch of aromatic spice but only so much so that you can taste the wonderful carrot with all their glory n color.

So I grated the carrot and my chopping board was washed with a purple wave, I simmered the grated carrot with milk and I knew what was coming! But it overwhelmed me… just a wonderful lavender color appeared in the saucepan, so vivid n inspiring that I wanted to dip my hand in it, smell it, paint with it. So I simmered them on a slow heat until the carrots softened, then went inside the soaked rice-basmati in this case and cooked until the rice fluffed and drank all the lavender milk by themselves, then it was time for the spices to take them to a new height and I sweetened them with white sugar, so when the consistency was relatively thick I took it off the heat n add the screw pine water which is kewra water. Then once it cools a little, put them in a blender and blend them only to a coarse consistency, not completely smooth but at a stage before that when it is still slightly coarse, after that when it comes to a normal temperature you have to chill it for at least 4 hours, it will be well chilled n set in that time n it will taste so much better in that temperature.

I served them with an almond praline, you can just serve them with toasted almond flakes and pistachio and it will be wonderful, I always love praline so I will find a reason to make them.  So finally when it is chilled the flavors will be much settled and you can shape them with your spoon and present them beautifully or just don’t bother, sprinkle the praline pieces or toasted almond n pistachio or cashew nut. When you will taste them you will notice it will remind you of Phirni-a great Indian rice pudding where the rice is blended coarsely at the end of cooking, when I had my bite it reminded me of gajar ka halwa n phirni n kheer all at the same time. I think you should give them a try, so here is the recipe for you.

For The Recipe: You will need

For the Carrot Rice Pudding:
Purple carrot- 2 medium
Basmati Rice-1/2 cup
Milk (full fat) - 2 cups
Single cream /double cream- 1/2 cup
Ghee/clarified butter-1 tbsp
Sugar- about 4/5 tbsp, adjust with your taste
Salt-a pinch
Clove- 1
Green Cardamom-1 or 2
Kewra water/screw pine water-1 tsp

For the Praline:
Sugar- 5 tbsp
Water -5 tbsp
Almond- 7/8 sliced, chopped

1. Begin by soaking the rice in water for 30minutes, then start peeling the carrot, then grate them on the bigger side of the grater, then place them in a heavy bottom sauce pan with the ghee and on a low heat toss them for 2 minutes, then add the milk and keep it on a slow flame, add the cardamom n clove,  let the milk come to a simmering point like this and give it 7/10 minutes on a low flame until the carrots soften n cooked, stir in between. After that add the rice and stir them in, from now on give about 15 minutes on low flame until the rice is cooked, stir every 3 minutes so that nothing catches the bottom of the pan, if you are not using a heavy bottom saucepan you have to be more careful, stir every 2 minutes. When the rice is soft you will see the whole consistency has thickened because the rice has absorbed most of the milk, at this point add the sugar, adjust, add more if you like more sweet or less, add a pinch of salt, then add the cream and give it one more minute, then take it off the heat and add the kewra water, stir it in, let the whole thing cool down slightly so that we can blend it.

2. When the temperature has cooled down a bit, put the whole thing in a blender and blend to a almost smooth consistency but not completely smooth, a little coarse within smooth is what we want, semi coarse, semi smooth. Once that is achieved put them in little serving bowls or one big bowl and chill in the refrigerator for 4/5 hours until well chilled. One great option if you can place them into terracotta earthen pots and chill them, it will add another extraordinary flavor dimension.

3. Let’s make the praline; in a saucepan add the sugar and equal quantity of water, put it on high heat n shake the pan until the sugar melts but don’t stir with a spoon. So shake the pan at times and soon the whole bubbling syrup with start to get golden and then deep golden reaching dark brown, add the chopped almond and then pour the whole thing on a smooth marble top or smooth surface. As soon as it cools down it will set, it will take 3/5 minutes, then take them off the surface with a knife in chunks. 

4.  After 4 hours when it is well chilled, spoon the mixture onto a plate into beautiful shapes and place the praline pieces on top of them along with some toasted almond or just sprinkle the toasted almond on the bowl itself and get ready with your spoon.

So now it is ready, you know the thing about sweet things, they absolutely need to be shared, especially when you have made something so beautiful with such a beautiful lavender color, share it with your loved ones and let them love you a little more. Dig in and tell me, isn’t it so good! , the flavor of the carrot, the creaminess, the hint of clove n cardamom, in every spoon, yummy. Guess what! Bon appétit.