Whoops. Monday whooshed past too quickly, so Tuesday’ll have to do.
I was quite surprised to realise that I haven’t featured a proper rice dish for Malaysian Monday before. Sure there have been a lot of recipes featuring rice flour, or glutinous rice but not a single dish of “just rice”.
How did that happen when rice features so heavily in our Malaysian diet? Rice is a star player in many other South East Asian diets as well. In fact, I know many people who cannot go for more than a few days without their rice fix.
Rice was probably one of the first dishes I learnt to cook, we always used the absorption method. I would carefully wash the grains, trying not to pour too many down the sink. Then I’d stick my finger in the pot to measure the water level, while “head-chef” Mum would pass an expert eye over the proceedings and tell me to either pour off some water or add more. The ideal water level is somewhere just above the first knuckle joint of the finger. Then the pot would be transferred to the stove and I’d have to watch the flame and learn how to turn it down at the right time and when to open the lid and when to stir. So many factors to get right for the perfect pot of rice. Truth be told, if I had to cook rice in a pot, I’d probably only get it right half the time! (The other half of the time I’d end up with burnt rice at the bottom or overly gluggy rice).
A much easier method would be just to use a rice cooker. Or use the microwave as I do :)
But for the sake of Tomato Rice, I used a pot and was rewarded by yummy grains of tomatoey goodness. (Actually I cheated a little and used basmati rice, the grains stay separate much better).
Enjoy the dish and have a great start to the week.
Don’t forget, you still have a week to get your entries in to Muhibbah Malaysian Monday #8. Send your entries to sureshchong(at)yahoo(dot)com, over at 3 Hungry Tummies .
(a simplified version, modified from a recipe out of my mum’s handwritten recipe books. I have no idea where she got her recipe from).
2 cups basmati rice (washed well and drained - best done in a sieve under running water. Some folks recommend pre-soaking the rice, but I find that the rice tends to break apart too much if pre-soaked. Maybe it’s the brand of rice I use?).
1/2 cup tomato puree
4 tbsp cream (the original recipe calls for evaporated milk)
2 tbsp butter (for frying + 1 tbsp vegetable oil). Or use ghee if feeling luxurious
2 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon quill
1 large spanish onion, diced
4 slices ginger
pinch of cumin seeds and fennel seeds
around 3-4cups of water or more for the rice
Heat oil and butter in a large frying pan, then add the onion and fry until translucent and slightly browned. Add the spices and ginger and fry for a little while until fragrant. Next add the rice, and stir to coat. Stir the cream and tomato puree together, then add this to the rice, along with the water. I wish I could be more specific about the water but I tend to eyeball this bit and add more if needed. Most packets of rice have ratios on them anyway, so do remember to check.
Cook on high-ish heat until the water boils, then lower the heat right down low, cover tightly and cook until all the water has been absorbed. Fluff with a fork and serve.