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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Phirni (Light Rice Pudding) and Neebu ka Sharbat (Fresh Sparkling Limeade)

Well.  It's been a heady, exotic, seductive journey over the past week for me...a week that included an in-depth, hands-on immersion into Indian cuisine.  A journey that was over too soon...but won't be shelved!  I can now put a bit of food memory...hands on memory into my next foray into this intriguing culture. From the child-like fascination of a new exposing each of my senses to the tingling sensation of new and unexpected flavor and cultural the actual moment I knew Indian food had made its way into my life...and stay.  These two creamy and smooth and cool and tangy and fizzy and tingly and refreshing...were two of our favorites on the table.  Yes, I know.  I say that with every new post.  Like I said.  Whenever a bite/sip of one dish was in my was my complete favorite!  So, this is the final recipe post to accompany my PFB challenge #3 entry: A Taste of India (vote on the heart to vote).  Enjoy and thanks for taking the Indian food journey with me over the last week or was good to have you with me ☺.

Light Rice Pudding

adapted from Climbing the Mango Trees by Madhur Jaffrey 

serves: 4...but I doubled it...woulda trippled it if I'da realized how addicting it was!

5 tsp. rice flour (also called rice powder)  I ground up basmati rice until into coarse granules & powder
3 Tbs. plus 1 qt. milk
1/8 tsp. cardamom seeds  I used freshly ground ground cardamom
¼ c. sugar, or to taste
1 Tbs. chopped, shelled unsalted pistachios  I used salted

Put rice flour in a medium bowl.  Slowly add the 3 Tbs. milk and mix to smooth paste.

Set remaining quart of milk to boil in a heavy, smallish pan, over med-low.  Add cardamom seeds and sugar to milk.  Remove from heat as soon as milk begins to boil and rise and it'll be thicker. Slowly pour hot milk into rice paste and whisk to combine.  Pour it all back into the pot and bring to a simmer over low heat.  Stir often w/ whisk and simmer very gently for ~15 minutes.  Pour into individual bowls or one larger, shallow dish and allow to cool and set slightly.  Sprinkle pistachios over top and refrigerate. Serve cold.  I waiting to sprinkle with the pistachios until just before service.  I LOVED the salty, nuttiness when combined with the creamy coolness of the rice.  New addiction.

When trying to nail down the drink to accompany this meal, I opted for something non-alcoholic that all of the guests could enjoy.  Although some may prefer it with a kick.  I'm not sayin' who.  Just putting it out there.  Those people could successfully put something all warm and fuzzy in their glass first...and then pour this over the top and that would definitely put some perma-grin into their day...

Neebu ka Sharbat
Sparkling Fresh Limeade
inspired by Jaffrey's

¾ - 1 c. freshly squeezed key lime juice (from ~1 lb. limes)
½ - ¾ c. sugar
3 - 3¾ c. sparkling water
ice cubes

Stir the lime juice and sugar together and allow to sit for an hour or so...until the sugar is dissolved. Stir.

Put ice cubes into a pitcher/caraffe.  Pour in lime/sugar mixture.  Top off with cold, sparkling water.  Enjoy!

*All the ingredients are really "to-taste".  If you like it tarter, use less sugar (that's what I did)...or use regular limes.  You can also use regular (as opposed to sparkling) water to make it a more "mellow" limeade.  I loved it all tart and fizzy, though!  Cleared the palate instantly, too. Ha!

Thanks again for taking this delicious, Indian ride with me...and thanks to all who have voted for me to carry on ☺...that support is what keeps me goin'!  Tortilla Soup Questers...I haven't forgotten.  Watch for the latest roundup tomorrow sometime!