Posted 16th November 2015
Not like I need a reason, but there is a whole week dedicated to loving curry – National Curry Week. And when I got the call asking whether I would host a Tilda Basmati Supper Club to celebrate it, I could barely conceal my glee.
For I am an unashamed rice lover. Basmati rice has in it myriad health benefits, nutritional values and all round goodness. But most of all it has a comforting quality like no other and so much versatility. A small mound of this stuff after a long day’s hard graft makes me weak in the knees. Whatever the hipsters say, cauliflower is not rice. And Basmati is the aromatic king of them all.
So I got to work immediately in developing recipes using Tilda Basmati’s dry packs and steam pouches. The latter are an excellent way to dramatically cut cooking times. The mini Basus have been known to crack open a pouch or two with their nanny, when cooking mother is missing in action.
The pack of raw rice turned out to be a bit more of a revelation. The Basmati and Wild Rice offers a clever way to jazz up a platter of pulao. The Brown Basmati makes a breeze of healthier days (and also an excellent breakfast of champions as a kheer with raisins and cranberries). And the plain old white Basmati. Well, let’s jusy say my Vitamix has enjoyed grinding this into Uttapam Blinis as much as the family have enjoyed eating them.
We invited a group of friendly and fun food writers and bloggers along including Binny, Suji, Chintal, Gayatri, A Girl has to Eat, and Anita of Foodepedia and Leyla, Suchi of Kitchen Karma and Pritesh of Love food Love Drink. Thank you for your kind words and hearty appetites guys!
Armed with the cool as cucumber Pooja Vir and her Bollywood playlist, a potwash and hands on help from the PR ladies, we got all the dishes to the table on time. The menu was a medley of colours and flavour designed to complement the rice centrepieces:
Uttapam Blinis (v)
South Indian Basmati and Urid lentil pancakes topped with caramelised onion and gingered tomato
Hara Kebabs (v)
Pea, mint and potato cakes spiked with fresh mint, coriander, ginger and green chillies
Brown Basmati and Chana Dal Khichri (v)
A nutty sweet version of this evergreen comfort food cooked with the wholesome goodness of brown basmati and Bengal gram lentils
Chicken and Vegetable Basmati & Wild Rice Pulao
The quintessential one pot meal full of chopped vegetables, aromatic whole spices and shredded leftover roast chicken
Bengali Chingri Malaikari
Tiger Prawns steeped in a spicy sweet coconut and caramelized onion curry – a special occasion favourite!
Swordfish steaks in a creamy wholegrain mustard, nigella seed and yoghurt sauce
Kashmiri Malai Paneer (v)
Silken tomato paneer in tangy ginger and fennel from the state of Kashmir
Hyderabadi Khatta Meetha Baingan (v) (contains nuts)
Spicy sweet and sour roasted baby aubergines in a crunchy peanut butter sauce with pickling whole spices fennel, nigella and cumin
Beetroot raita (v)
Pickled beetroot in natural Greek Yoghurt whipped with dill and mint
Saffron and Cardamom Kheer (v) (contains nuts)
Stewed basmati rice in organic whole milk finished with Persian saffron, freshly ground cardamom and ghee sizzled cashewnuts
Vanilla and Rose Firni (v) (contains nuts)
Organic whole milk custard cooked with vanilla pods and finished with rose essence and crushed pistachios.
Drinks: Prosecco, red and white wine, Cobra Beer, Shloer, coconut
water, orange juice, still and sparkling water, a selection of teas and coffee
If you fancy a taste of the evening, I have posted the recipe for the Brown Basmati Khichdi here and the Bengali prawn and coconut curry here. The photo accompanying this post is of the kheer. Would you like a recipe? Leave me a comment below if so, and I will be happy to oblige! PS = the comments have a technical hitch but don’t worry I will resolve it and clock your request!