Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Gift Wrapped Goodies

Pollo al Curry & Riso alla Curcurma Avvolto in Spinaci con Centro di Barbabietola
Curried Chicken with Spinach-Wrapped Turmeric Rice with a Beet Root Center

It's fun turning something simple into something special and half the fun is in the serving and presentation sometimes. Well this evening, I figured that if we can go to the bother of forming our rice in a small bowl and turning it out onto our plate, to make it look neater and elegant, we can go one little step further. And that is all I have done here... gone one little step further- and if you keep on reading you will find out how...

The rice is the first thing that needs to boil, as it needs to cool down before we can start shaping it- so I boiled Basmati rice with a teaspoon of Turmeric to give it a nice mild Indian flavor and a wonderfully vibrant color. You know by now how to boil rice I hope! And the Spinach leaves were simply blanched briefly in salted water, then rinsed-off under a cold tap to stop the cooking process and maintain the vibrant color. Easy so far, isn't it? I told you it was simple and now that we have our prep-work done we can start having some fun with this.

Whilst the spinach and rice are cooling off, we can start on our curry. I cut the chicken into bite sized chunks and fried it until it started to brown in a little clarified butter, then removed it from the pan. I then added grated ginger, finely chopped garlic, ground cumin, coriander, cardamom and Madras curry powder and stir-fried them for a minute or so until the flavors and aromas begin to develop. Now add a half of a banana that you have crushed down to a paste with a fork and a cup of milk. Stir well, return the chicken to the sauce and reduce to a low simmer until you have prepared the rice and are ready to serve.

Ok, the easy part is the beetroot, which was left over from yesterday! All I need to do with that was cut it into a neat cube of around an inch in size. For the rice, I took a sheet of Ceran wrap and laid out the blanched spinach on it nice and evenly. I then set this carefully into a ladle, but a small tea cup would also do. I then filled in a little of the turmeric rice, then set the beet root on top, then pressed down firmly and then filled around the edges and on top with more rice. Next thing I did was to fold the edges of the Ceran wrap over the top of the ball of rice and twisted it together, until a nice, tight ball of rice was formed. I then wrapped this in turn in Aluminum foil and set it into boiling water to bring everything back up to temperature. A lot easier than it looks, eh?

You can serve the ball of rice as a whole, or slice it through the middle as I did- it all depends on how much you want to surprise your guests I suppose! But what will also come as a surprise is how wonderfully these flavors combine together! I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

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