Pimp My Rice – Book Review. And a Fun Recipe.

Call me conservative, but the charm of cooking with a good ol’ recipe book beats YouTube videos or articles on the web! Which is why I was super thrilled to receive Nisha Katona’s new cookbook – Pimp My Rice – where rice is the supreme star! An entire book with recipes ranging from smoothies, to mains, to dessert all emphasizing on everyone’s staple crop, is a genuinely handy book to have.

What pleasantly surprised me in the first glance was the versatility of rice that was demonstrated in the book – rice tea, breakfast based dishes, soups, mains, appetizers, dessert, cakes, and even a black rice – coconut sorbet! Who knew you could do that much with rice?

Katona’s Indian heritage is evident in a lot of the recipes – rice flour bhajiyas, colonial kedgeree (also known to us as khichdi), and kheer inspired rice pudding are just a few of the recipes where you’ll find an Indian influence. I particularly enjoyed the quirky introductions made to each recipe, and the pictures in the book are beautifully styled and depicted. She also includes recipes with varieties of rice – red rice, black rice, sushi rice, sticky rice, wild rice and more; some of which may not be readily available in Indian markets.¬†

I particularly found useful the pages where she speaks about the basics about rice, different cooking methods for each type, and cultural backgrounds for each – made for an enlightening read. I only wished there were more pictures in the book. I like being able to see if the end product in my kitchen matches the intended end product in the recipe.

I’ve tried replicating two recipes from the book so far; a Spiced Coriander Rice, and a Caramel Berry Blend. Both of them turned out really well, and the recipes were easy to follow. I made a few alterations in the measurements here and there – I am quite a rebel like that – but both dishes turned out fab! I particularly loved the Caramel Berry Blend – a sweet, coconut based, berry porridge – which I’d happily make a meal out of. I only used tinned strawberries here, even though the recipe demands raspberries, because they’re hard to find in this heat! Here’s the recipe derived from the book:

What you’ll need:

  • 300 grams strawberries
  • 2 tbsp demerara brown sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice¬†
  • 100 grams Thai rice or short grained rice soaked for 2-4 hours
  • 650 ml coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • A pinch of salt

What you’ll have to do:

  • Chop the strawberries into large chunks.
  • For the congee /porridge, heat the rice, coconut milk, caster sugar and a pinch of salt in a saucepan. Once the rice begins to boil, reduce the heat, and stir occasionally till a porridge like consistency is formed.
  • Put the strawberries, brown sugar and lemon juice in a shallow frying pan over a medium heat and stir occasionally. Do this till the fruit softens, and a caramelized syrup is formed. (I carried out this step in a microwave, heating the mixture for 5 minutes, and it worked just fine.)
  • Stir the berry mixture into the porridge. Top the porridge with some reserved fruit, and some more of the berry mixture. Ta da!

Recipe derived from Pimp My Rice by Nisha Katona. Published by Nourish Books. Available on Flipkart and Amazon.

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