Friday, September 15, 2006
A simple dish can have very many pleasures. Easy and quick to prepare and when a few very specific spices are added to enhance the taste the simplicity of the dish turns into something exquisite.
Soeren was away at his grandparents and I was in the mood for something hot. OK - Tom was right there sitting on the couch and he is HOT! But I was thinking of something edible. OK - Tom is so hot that I could eat him. Errrr! I guess I better move on quickly before this turns into and "X" rated post.
I was actually thinking of curry. Indian tasting hot curry. So I decided on something so delectable that when you read the post you'll start drooling. But you'll have to wait on that as I'll be covering the curry in another post - LOL!
This post is about the rice I served with the curry. I did not want plain rice and was in no mood to make a lavish pilaf (pilaw) type of dish. I was in the mood to experiment again though and went in search of ingredients.
I found a small bag of mustard seeds in my spice cabinet, still sealed. I was scratching my head as to how this ended up here. I had never used mustard seeds in any of my dishes.
Mustard powder - yes. Mustard - yes. Mustard seeds - never.
I must have bought it in some kind of fantasy of making some dish that never came to be. That is when it struck me that Barbara had asked us to go Back to School and research a spice never used before. When I initially read the theme I was so excited. I need any excuse to start experimenting again and this was the perfect opportunity. I love researching ingredients, spices, herbs and such events are always a true joy to me. That, and the fact I love parties LOL!
Off I went "Back to School" and Googled my way through everything I could find on mustard seeds. The more I read the more I was amazed at what power lies behind these little seeds.
Mustard seeds originate from the Brassica foods found in the cruciferous plant family. They are a very good source of selenium, a nutrient that can help to reduce asthma. It also can help reduce certain symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, and help prevent cancer. Furthermore, mustard seeds are also a good source of magnesium which also helps against asthma. The magnesium found in mustard seeds also helps lower high blood pressure, restore normal sleep patterns in women suffering with the symptoms of menopause, reduce the frequency of migraine attacks, and to prevent heart attack in patients suffering from atherosclerosis or diabetic heart disease.
Mustard seeds also qualify as a very good source of omega-3 fatty acids as well as a good source of iron, calcium, zinc, manganese, magnesium, protein, niacin and dietary fiber.
Mustard seeds are mentioned in Sanskrit writings that date back to 5,000 years. They can be traced to different areas of Europe and Asia. There are three different mustard seed varieties. The white variety originates from the Mediterranean regions, the brown from the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains, and the black from the Middle East.
Although the actual seeds were used in ancient Greece cuisine, it was the Romans who experimented with making a paste out of them. This is thought to be the ancestor of our modern day mustard condiment.
Mustard seeds belong to the most popular spices traded in the world today. As it grows well in temperate climates, the areas that produce the greatest amount of mustard seeds currently include Hungary, Great Britain, India, Canada and the United States.
Selecting and Storing
I would recommend exploring you local spice stores around your areas. Even though such spices are widely available in supermarkets, the spices and herbs available in spice stores are often of a better quality and freshness compared to those available in the supermarkets. Try selecting organically grown mustard seeds since this will give you more assurance that the spice has not been irradiated.
Mustard seeds should be kept in an airtight container in a cool, dark and dry place.
I went to work with this knowledge of creating a very aromatic and tasty rice dish.
The Monthly Mingle goes into it's fifth round. Are you all up to a challenge? Well check out Take Two and show me what you can do!
Music while cooking:
Bombay Rockers - Who Do You Love
Album - Introducing ... *Highly recommended
150 g Basmati rice - washed
1 onion - finely chopped
4 teaspoons - butter or "ghee"
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
Place the rice in 300 ml of salted water. Bring to a boil and then allow to simmer on a very low heat for 20 minutes. Drain and let cool.
In a large pan heat up the butter and sauté the onions. Add the mustard and coriander seeds and sauté for a further few minutes.
Add the rice to the pan and sauté for 8 to 10 minutes on a medium heat until the rice takes on a nice gold color.
Serving idea: Spicy Beef and Potato Curry.
Now this really spiced up our evening! The rice was fluffy and by frying it in the butter with the seeds it took on a completely different taste. The seeds released their aromas and fragrance, harmonizing with the rice perfectly.
I would recommend this to anyone who likes it spicy but not the "hot" kind of spicy from chilies. The mustard seeds really adds a pizzaz incomparable with other tastes I have had in the past.
coriander, mustard, spice, rice, event, food, recipe, pilaw, pilaf, food blog, Spice is Right, Bombay Rockers, music, condiment