Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Cookbook Case Study - Cardamom mushrooms and pot-roast rice - Quick and Easy

Global Vegetarian Cooking: Quick & Easy Recipes from Around the World

Here's what my version of the cookbook looks like!:

Quick & Easy
Quick & Easy: Vegetarian recipes from around the world for Western Kitchens
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I decided this time to make two recipes from the book at one time, mostly because neither would do alone as a main dish. I made the mushrooms with cardamom, and com chien (pot roasted rice). Both recipes were also vegan!

The mushrooms are chopped up and mixed with cardamom, ginger, and lemon. These were really simple to make (especially with an assistant!), and were so tempting to snack on while they sat in their bowl waiting for their time.

This is what the mushrooms and cardamom looked like before I put them on to cook:

Mushroom mix
Very exciting photo of chopped mushroom and spices!
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As the mushrooms went on to cook, I started the rice. Basically, the rice is fried in peanut oil before boiling water is added and the rice is steamed. Simple! However, reading the instruction "pour in the hot water, which will immediately boil" should have hinted that perhaps I should be somewhat cautious during this step...

Here's a picture of the mushroom cooking. If you look closely, you may see rice scattered around on the bench, that was not there in the previous photo. This is evidence of the rice leaping out of the saucepan to burn me! Evil rice.

Cooking cardamom mushrooms
Mushroom cooking; and spilt rice of treachery
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Basically, I must have had the heat too high. Pouring the recently boiled water into the rice which had been fried in peanut oil for some time, there was an almost explosion of oil, water, rice, and steam. Pulling my hand away, not even having finished pouring all the water in, the dish started to boil so vigourously that the rice and water formed a series of geyser-like spouts that reached over twice the height of the top of the saucepan itself. It was seriously scary - and due to our slow to change temperature stovetop, I had to be brave enough to pull it from the heat to stop it all ending up on the bench.

I ran my fingers under the cold tap for as long as I could stand - nowhere near ten minutes, it's impossible to do that! The I put aloe vera gel on the sore bits, to try and cool them down, as per photo:

Aloe vera gel
Burned fingers
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You can't really see that they're burned, probably because of the flash, but they were! They were a bit swollen (less wrinkly than normal!), and about two and a half weeks later (yes, it's taken me a while to get around to writing this), I couldn't figure out why my fingers on my left hand were peeling. It wasn't until I started writing this post that I made the connection, and realised they had peeled exactly where I was burnt. I've never had steam burns before, either. Strange!

Anyway, despite the burns, the meal turned out quite tasty. I served the two dishes up with roast parsnip (idea first taken from Veganomicon I think, but I just make them however, now).

Com chien, mushrooms with cardamom, and roast parsnips
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The mushrooms were less cardamommy than I expected, but very very tasty. The treacherous rice had a nice and rich, subtle flavour, and good texture because of the oil. I think the rice was even better as leftovers. However, for anyone using this technique, be really careful, and don't use too much heat!

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