2 January 2020

Basmati

What can I tell you?

Tonight I made a chicken curry from scratch with aubergine chunks (American: egg plant), red onion, red pepper, mushrooms and coconut cream. To accompany this we had rice and peshwari nan. Nowadays I rarely cook any other kind of rice apart from basmati and I have learnt how to cook it simply so that the grains are swollen but nicely separate too. It is the best kind of rice and worth paying a little more for it.

Also on the food front, I listened to BBC Radio 5 Live this afternoon - and who should be on there being interviewed by Colin Paterson but our son Ian. The Bosh! Boys were on for forty five minutes - promoting their new recipe book - "Healthy Vegan" and talking about their TV show which begins on January 12th. Over here in England there is a "thing" called "Veganuary" in which people are encouraged to go vegan for the month of January. The BBC clearly thought this would be an opportune time to bring Ian and Henry back into the studio as they have become the country's most prominent vegan cooks.

Ian was relaxed and fluent as he dealt with the questions - some of them being phoned in live by listeners. One guy said he didn't like being preached at about what food he should eat but of course Ian and Henry have never been preachy - they are just putting delicious vegan dishes out there at a time when more and more people and environmentalists are questioning the presence of meat and dairy products in their diets. 

Somebody else questioned the fact that they have both recently been on aeroplanes to distant places - Ian to Thailand and Henry to Bali. But why they should have to defend themselves about this? I just don't understand. They are making vegan dishes - not pretending that their mission is to save the world. That would be ridiculous even though most of us are reconsidering our use of the planet's finite resources. Perhaps I should ditch basmati rice which mostly arrives in Britain's supermarkets from The Indian Sub-Continent but hell - I am not going to do that.
Basmati rice fields in India

44 comments:

  1. Ah, the "woke" set and their purity tests. Sigh.

    Funny, but I was thinking about Ian and his books today. I made a rare trip to the bookstore where I used to work and checked out the Vegan section to see if Bosh! had made it to Florence, SC. Not yet, apparently....but I bet it will soon!

    Your curry sounds delicious.

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    1. They hope to conquer America so I hope that Trump doesn't blow them up with a drone.

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  2. I keep my eye (actually, both my eyes) on all the current book reviews in the local papers and magazines here...in the hope of seeing something about the lads' latest book. As I did re their previous book, I'll let you know if I come across a review. I'm sure I'll come across one soon.

    Fortunately, I've no food allergies - for which I am thankful. And, there isn't much that I don't like...food-wise. I grilled a delicious, juicy, thick on-the-bone rib fillet for my lunch on New Year's Day. It's been a bit too hot here to get too excited about hot meals, though. I've mostly been dining on fresh fruits, cheese and raw mixed nuts. I've been lazy cooking-wise...and give no apology.

    I've just been speaking on the phone with a friend who has many food allergies...which include eggs and salmon, of all things. Unfortunately, for whatever reason/cause, she became allergic to certain foods during/after menopause. So many foods have been eliminated from her diet.

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    1. I am glad that I have no food allergies but I do have an eating problem - I can't get enough! I wonder if Ian and Henry's TV show will appear on Australian TV some time in the future.

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    2. I was thinking similar re the TV show, Yorkie. I was thinking, also, it may come onto one of the streaming services...of which I partake. Of course, I'll let you know if it does.

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  3. I dont condone the questioning about the flights but I do understand it. Vegans often get preachy and that leaves them open to people who are looking for or annoyed by hypocrisy.
    Basmati is my favourite rice, why would you eat anything else?

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    1. From the start, Ian and Henry set out not to be preachy or to suggest that their vegan way was the best way.

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    2. Yes, I've noticed that. In this case the are being lumped in with a different style of vegan

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  4. I'm kind of fuzzy about rice...I don't like it much. we didn't have rice growing up. Yes, I've tried to like rice but it's not my favorite.

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    1. I guess you are a potato guy...like Mr Potato Head.

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    2. It looks like I don't know how to spell fussy either!

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  5. Your chicken curry sounds delicious. Shirley is a lucky lady to get to enjoy your culinary skills!

    How nice to hear Ian and Henry on the radio program. It will be exciting when their television program comes on soon. I hope we will get to see it over here. We do get some British cooking programs. This seems to be the natural next step for the Bosh Boys. I know you and Shirley are proud as you should be!

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    1. They have had some success over in America but they are planning to push that particular boat further.

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  6. I made a Pakistani dish last weekend for a friend who was leaving the hospital I work at. It was called Karahi chicken and he loved it which was a relief, but I cooked basmati rice for the first time to go with the chicken and I was shocked at how much faster it was to make.

    It must be exciting for your son and his friend to have so many good things going on right now.

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    1. They are like surfers riding a wave Lily. I hope your basmati rice wasn't too congealed!

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  7. I have come across 'Veganuary' on another blog yesterday and think it is indeed the perfect time to promote the Bosh! boys' work.
    People will always try to 'uncover' assumed contradictons and errors in others, for the sake of justifying their own stubborn refusal to change anything in their lives.
    Nobody likes to be preached at, but Bosh! has never done that.
    Your curry sounds delicious! We ate at a Thai restaurant last night. I had a vegetable curry with coconut milk in the spicy sauce, too, and rice.

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    1. Mmmm...That Thai curry sounds delicious. My favourite in the massaman curry from southern Thailand. I think you are right about those "knockers".

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  8. I'm not a curry, nor coconut, fan - they are something I would never cook. I've tried them in the past, but they are not to my taste.
    We never ate rice at all when I was a child - my mother never bought any. Her reasoning was that it was the staple diet of many poor countries. By eating it, we were literally taking it out of their mouths and causing a shortage because it was being exported to countries who would pay more, so were forcing the price beyond their pockets. They didn't have the luxury of choice, as we had in the west.
    I've always remembered this, and even today on the very rare occasions I cook rice, I wonder if someone, somewhere is starving because of me!

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    1. Interesting theory but I am not sure it would play out in ecomomic reality.

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  9. I believe a lot of rice contains arsenic. Arsenic occurs naturally and it's also in pesticides. It makes you wonder what commercially produced vegetables contain? Says me who grows vegetables chemical free and buys 49 Cents carrots from the supermarket. We only have one car but that's a diesel and we use planes to go on holiday to Portugal..





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    1. May I suggest holidaying in Killarney in future or perhaps Ireland's own sunny Canary Islands - The Aran Isles.

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    2. I was in Killarney last week and I have been to Inishmore YP. Portugal is my favourite destination.

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    3. I also like Portugal. You can get cheap flights to The Azores from Manchester nowadays. I would like to take advantage of that link in the not-too-distant future. Have you been to Madeira?

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    4. I thought you would have used Yorkshire Airways? No we have only been to the Algarve. Madeira is supposed to be good for walking. Also the home of Mr Twinkle Toes - Sir Christiano Ronaldo.

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  10. As someone who has been on and off vegetarian all my life for no other reason than personal choice, I do rather wonder at the current legal case where a vegan is trying to claim that veganism is a religion. It would be easier to become a Jainist and that's automatic. As for your making curry from scratch I admit it's a little while since I did that. There was a time when curries of all sorts were my speciality. The trouble is that some of them can take three days to make when you are feeding varied curries to a dozen people. I loved it but couldn't do it now.

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    1. I see that that fellow has just been vindicated in court. I wonder if being a Hull City supporter might count as a religion.

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  11. Everyone has an opinion these days and some just like to knock people off their pedestals because they can't bear the success of others.
    Just keep buying the rice, cooking the curry and ignore the lot of them.
    There's a French proverb I like, "Drink the wine, eat the food, praise the God of all and let the world be the world"
    I may have paraphrased slightly......

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    1. I applaud the spirit of that quotation Christina.

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  12. My current favourite indulgence is the brown basmati rice with red camargue and wild rice from Waitrose. It makes my poor attempts at cooking taste a little more interesting.
    As northsider commented above, I saw a TV programme with Dr Michael Moseley where he tested various cooking methods for rice to ascertain the residual amount of arsenic left. He advocated a lot of soaking and rinsing prior to cooking to remove as much as possible.
    If I ever feel like poisoning Peregrine with arsenic I could always blame the rice.

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    1. The rice eaters of The Punjab would be bemused by the arsenic scaremongering.

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    2. Look it up YP on tinternet. I am not scaremongering. There is even a case of some allotments in Yorkshire finding Arsenic in the soil. Pesticides are known to contain Arsenic and there is a link to Parkinson's with granulated fertilizer.

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  13. The only trouble with rice is, no matter how much you each, you feel hungry again after a couple of hours.

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  14. I agree with kylie. Basmati rice is the only kind I eat since I discovered it. Not like Columbus discovering America, but you know what I mean.

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    1. Yes I do. You sailed your car westward until you came to a grocery store and there upon the shelves you discovered The Land of Basmati. Happy New Year Bob!

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  15. There is actually a variety of basmati brown rice grown in Texas. I cook with that sometimes. I also love the white basmati rice and also, Jasmine rice. Very lovely. Last night I made a risotto with arborio rice, mushrooms, spinach, sun dried tomatoes, onions, garlic and Parmesan. Time-consuming and a bit of effort but one of my favorites. We love rice. Hell, we love food. I bet your curry was terrific.

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    1. Yes it was but I must confess that I am not a big risotto fan - though yours sounds pretty good. It's just the sameness of the mouthfuls that fails to grab me.

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  16. Big Bear being Middle Eastern and all, I have been cooking with Basmati rice for over 50 years. I am sure by now that I am the best rice cooker in all of the United States. My recipe takes quite a while but it is well worth the wait. Let me know if you are interested in the secret of good rice.

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    1. Of course I would like your rice tips P.Thyme - as long as it doesn't cause you to write reams.

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    2. To serve four:
      Rinse 3 cups basmati rice 5 or 6 times in cool water to rid most of the starch
      Cook in a big pot of boiling water until almost done (the ends of a piece of rice should be done but the middle still firm)
      Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking
      In same pot, under medium temp, place and mix together 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/8 cup water, a few saffron threads (optional) and 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
      Pile the rice on top and push it away from sides of pot into a cone shape. With the end of a wooden spoon, make three or four holes in the rice from top to bottom.
      Cover and cook for five minutes. Lower the heat to minimum, cover the pot TOP with a clean towel and replace it on the pot and cook on very low for 30-45 minutes. Don't peek!
      You should have lovely rice with a beautiful golden crust on the bottom of the pot.

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  17. You're right about the argument that Ian and Henry are somehow being hypocritical by flying. That's just a right-wing knee-jerk response. Glad to hear they got some radio time for Veganuary!

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