This dish was inspired by South Indian Thayir Sadam and the quintessential Indian raita, made lighter by adding interpretations of a-day-in-the-summer-beach nuances. Kamini rice from Bengal was used for its subtle sweetness and aroma, adding to the Bengal connect of a gondhoraj kosho brine.
There are five components of this dish:
1. Quick pickled cucumbers
- Firm cucumber, 1 large
- Rice Wine Vinegar, 2 tbsps
- Gondhoraj kosho*, 1 tbsp (*or grated and muddled Gondhoraj leaves and zest)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Water, ½ cup
- Thinly slice the cucumber either with a mandolin or a very sharp knife.
- Mix everything else together in a bowl. Add the cucumber slices. Stir gently, once and keep the bowl covered in the fridge until required.
2. Cucumber-Tender coconut risotto
For 2 servings
- Kamini rice, 80gms, washed
- Tender coconut water, 50ml
- Cucumber, 1 large, skin on, grated
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Buttermilk, 30 gms, whisked to smooth
- Cumin seeds, 1 tsp, dry roasted and crushed coarsely
- Butter, 1 tbsp
- Grate the cucumber and set it aside in a bowl with some salt and pepper.
- Strain the cucumber through a fine mesh strainer, keeping the solids for Cucumber broth. Reserve the liquid.
- Mix the cucumber and tender coconut water. In total it should come to around 100-120 ml. If not, add some plain water to adjust.
- On a pan over medium heat add 1 tbsp butter. As the butter melts, add the washed rice and stir it around for a minute.
- Add the water mixture, two ladles at a time, keeping an eye on the rice. Keep the flame gentle and low, stirring occasionally, covering, and adding liquid as you go. The rice should be cooked within 10-12 minutes.
- Finish the rice with whisked buttermilk and crushed cumin. Check seasoning. Keep it covered.
3. Sambal Tumis Emulsion
Makes about a cup
- Onion, 1 large, chopped roughly
- Garlic cloves, 2 crushed
- Ginger, ½ inch
- Shrimp Paste, 1 tbsp
- Fresh red chilies, 50gms, chopped
- Oil, ½ cup
- Jaggery, 2 tbsps
- Coconut milk, 100 ml
- Tamarind paste, 1/2 tbsp
- In a pan, add 2 tbsps oil to heat up. Add the chopped onions and cook on low heat.
- As the onion caramelizes, add the ginger and garlic along with the shrimp paste. Cook on low for 2 minutes, gently stirring occasionally.
- As the oil starts to separate, add the jaggery and red chilies. Stir and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Add the coconut milk and stir. Simmer on low for 6-8 minutes. Stir in tamarind paste.
- Cook till the oil separates. Cover and cool it down. You can use it like this or make an emulsion.
- To make the emulsion, pour the sambal in a blender and drizzle the remaining oil slowly in a steady stream. Adjust seasoning and strain through a fine mesh strainer. Reserve. You can keep it in the fridge for up to 7 days.
4. Black Sesame Tuile
For 3-4 tuiles
- Black sesame, 25-30gms
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Oil, to fry
- Water, as needed
- Add black sesame and whole wheat flour in a small bowl. Add water to a consistency of a loose sauce, not too thick, not too thin; it should just coat the back of the spoon. Adjust seasoning.
- Heat 4 tbsps oil in a pan. Keep the flame medium. Add 2tbsps of the batter in the pan. Keep the heat low and fry the tuile for a 30-45 seconds. Turn it over and fry over another 45 seconds. Take out and drain. Continue with the rest of the batter.
4. Cucumber broth
- On a hot pan, add the grated cucumber (the herbaceous, vegetal quality of cucumber is enhanced when gently roasted). Once it starts to brown, add half the brine from the cucumber pickle. Simmer for a minute. Strain and reserve.
- Spoon the rice equally in each bowl. Arrange the pickled cucumber slices on top.
- Drizzle the sambal tumis emulsion.
- Pour the cucumber broth around. Serve with black sesame tuile.
*Kosho is a Japanese condiment typically using yuzu. Gondhoraj or any citrus fruit can also easily be used. Just zest and juice enough lemon or citrus fruit (e.g 10-12 limes or 3-4 gondhoraj). Weigh out the juice and zest. Add 10% by weight of non-iodised salt. Mix once and keep it in a sterilized jar at room temperature, Kolkata heat is ideal, for up to 2 weeks. After that, store it in the fridge for whatever time you want. Use in small quantities to marinades, rubs or broths.