When I teeter between eating that last ladle of biryani and finding a dabba, transferring the last of the biryani into the dabba and putting it in the fridge I usually elect to eat it. It is so much simpler. While eating the extra biryani, I imagine myself determinedly jogging round after round the next morning burning away all those extra calories. When (if) I am jogging the next morning, I am panting like a crazy dog halfway through the first round and I stop and walk the rest of the way I imagine myself thoughtfully taking tiny bites off an un-buttered slice of toast.
Could bamboo rice be the redemption for all the biryani excesses?
I doubt. But I gave it a shot anyway.
Jagan bought a pack of bamboo rice while on our vacation in Kerala. We bought it in a small souvenir shop in Wayanad. The bamboo rice came in simple plain plastic packing. It was un-branded and un-processed. For the first time in nearly 2 decades, I transferred the rice onto a moram and sat outside in the portico to pick out stones from the rice. The last I saw someone doing this was my ammamma who’d take the rice in a moram and pick out stones and grit from the rice, everyday.
I felt all nostalgic, got carried away and spent about half an hour going through the rice. This ain’t the green rice (rice that is infused with bamboo juices) that is popularly called bamboo rice in the west. This is the real deal. Bamboo rice looks almost like wheat. It takes much longer to cook than white rice. It is chewier and has a grassy, nutty undernote. I was sceptical if it’d taste good as fried rice. I was surprised that it actually tasted better in fried rice form.
We grilled the chicken on our barbecue. But you can grill it in your oven too. We loved the combination of hot, sweet and tangy flavours. I served the grilled chicken on the fried bamboo rice. Jagan was smitten with the combination and the kids ate with great gusto. Overall – big success. And to think it was healthy too. I am surprised it went down so well.
Prep time: 15 mins (grilled chicken) + 25 mins (fried bamboo rice)
Cooking time: 20-30 mins (grilled chicken) + 25 mins (fried bamboo rice)
Ingredients – Honey Mustard grilled chicken
Chicken breast – 6 pieces each slit lengthwise into two
Honey – ¼ cup
Whole dry red chillies – 7 soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
Ginger – 2 inch piece
Garlic – 1 head peeled
Mustard sauce – 2 tbsp
Salt as necessary
Soy sauce – 1 tbsp
Ingredients – Fried Bamboo rice
Bamboo rice – 2 cups
Water as necessary to cook the rice
Garlic – 12 cloves chopped fine
Ginger – 1 inch piece peeled and minced
Onion – 1 chopped fine
Carrots – 2 chopped fine
Green Beans – chopped fine to make ½ cup
Capsicum – 1 chopped fine
Soy sauce – 1 tbsp
Black pepper powder – ½ tbsp
Salt to taste
Sesame oil – 2 tbsp
Sunflower oil or any vegetable oil – 1 tbsp
Method – Honey Mustard Grilled chicken
1. Rinse the chicken breasts and pat dry. Slit each breast lengthwise into two pieces each. Set aside.
2. Combine all other marinade ingredients in a mixer grinder and grind to a puree. Pour the marinade puree over the chicken pieces and mix well with your hands to coat the chicken. Set aside for a minimum of 1 hour or chill in refrigerator overnight.
3. Preheat oven to 200 degrees centigrade.
4. Place the marinated chicken on a greased tray and bake for 20 minutes turning over once in between. Remove from oven.
Method – Fried Bamboo rice
1. I bought my bamboo rice in a little shop in Wayanad. It came in a simple plastic pack, uncleaned and unprocessed. I had to pick out stones and tiny twigs from the rice first. If you aren’t buying a branded pack, you may need to do this first too.
2. Rinse the rice in several changes of water till the water runs clear.
3. Heat a large pot of water. Let it come to a rolling boil. Tip in the rinsed rice into the pot of boiling water. Bamboo rice takes much longer to cook than regular white rice – about 15-20 minutes.
4. Turn heat down to medium if the water bubbles over. Test one grain of rice. If the rice is done, switch off, cover the pot with a lid. Place a large bowl on your counter and have a steel tumbler handy. Use a kitchen towel to grip the pot of rice, lift it up and tilt it by 90 degrees into the large bowl in the counter while still holding the lid in place. Quickly prop the steel tumbler in between the lip of the bowl and the pot of rice so that the lid on the rice pot stays in place and the hot water drains out into the bowl. Set aside for 5 minutes.
5. Once all the water has drained out, transfer the rice on to a large plate and cool.
6. Heat up a wok and add the oils.
7. When the oil is hot add the chopped garlic and ginger and fry till the garlic starts to turn golden.
8. Add in the chopped onions and fry till they turn translucent.
9. Add in the chopped carrots and beans and fry for a couple of minutes.
10. Add soy sauce, black pepper powder and salt and mix well.
11. Add capsicum and toss well with the rest of the vegetables.
12. Ladle the cooked rice into the wok and mix gently till the rice and vegetables are well mixed and heated through. Switch off. Serve hot with honey mustard grilled chicken.