I first came across rosematta rice almost a year ago, on Mahanandi, in this post where Indira waxed poetic on this rich, beautiful, unpolished traditional rice from Kerala. I then saw it on Jugalbandi too - used in different recipes , each more beguiling than the other. The fact that both these talented bloggers (three actually) used rosematta to make these lovely idlis piqued my interest even more.
Then this year as part of our resolve to eat more healthily and to make healthier eating a part of our life rather than a diet which would fade away, I decided to try rosematta as an alternative to the white rice we consume. I have been thinking of brown rice for some time, and then thought I might as well try our own traditional rice first.
I bought it and looked wonderingly at those fat pink grains....and I thought to myself, for the first time I won't just cook these and try to eat it as part of our usual meal with a sambar or rice - that could come later when we were on more familiar terms - the first time I would treat it like a guest and make something suitably different and special!
I went over to Jugalbandi for some inspiration....and came across this post where they had one of Ursula Ferrigno's recipes - and there was another one called Risi e Bisi also from the same author.
While following this link from their post, I came across a recipe for tomato risotto which instantly appealed to me. I couldn't resist the plump peas I had just shelled, and added them to this recipe.
Cooking this rice risotto style was a bit longwinded, what with adding the stock one ladle at a time and waiting for it to be absorbed fully before repeating it, stirring it constantly; but I must say that it was completely worth it.
I soaked the rice for an hour before cooking;I omitted the parmesan, since I didn't really envision this as a Western dish, instead wanted to incorporate it as part of an Indian meal.
The white wine is an aberration in an Indian meal, but I could live with that.
I also followed J&B's recommendations to cut down on the fat content in the original recipe.
I made vegetable stock from scratch since I don't get a good quality vegetable stock cube hereabouts.
I served this with grilled aloo tikkis (potato cutlets) and a lovely raita made with grated bottlegourd (ghiya/lauki/sorakkai) and cumin spiced curd. It was a delicious meal and I loved the texture of the rice - firm and flavourful- a completely new experience for us.
The tomato flavour was just right too - not too tangy; and I'm glad I added the peas! The best part for me was the shallots - completely divine plump soft sweet pieces in a mouthful of rice!
This tastes best when eaten immediately, the leftovers I tasted the next day weren't the same.
Rosy Tomato Risotto
Rose matta rice - 1 1/4 cup, soaked for an hour
Vegetable stock - 6 cups - heat up the stock when you are cooking the rice.
To make veg stock from scratch, saute two small chopped onions with a 1 tsp butter, add 1 cup assorted chopped vegetables like potato, carrots,beans, cabbage,pumpkin and saute for 3-4 minutes. Add 1.5 litre water, salt and pepper powder and bring to boil; simmer over medium flame for about 20-25 minutes till the vegetables are well cooked and stock is reduced. Strain the vegetables and use the stock. Vegetables can be lightly sauteed, tempered and eaten separately.
Garlic - 3-4 cloves, crushed
White wine - 1/2 cup
Tomatoes - 6 medium sized, deseeded and roughly chopped
Peas - 1//2 cup
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Butter - 2 tbsp
Shallots - 8 (I put them whole)
Mint leaves - 1/2 cup torn
salt - to taste
Lots of Freshly crushed pepper
1. Heat the butter and oil in a heavy pan till just warmed, add the shallots and saute for 2-3 minutes, then add the crushed garlic and saute for 1 more minute
2. Drain the soaked rice and add to the pan and if you are using fresh peas then add these also now; fry lightly for about 2 minutes.
3. Pour in the wine and keep stirring till it is absorbed.
4. Add 1 ladle of hot stock and simmer. Stir the rice and wait till the stock is completely absorbed. Repeat this for the next 10 minutes.
5. Now add the chopped tomatoes, mix well. Add the hot stock one ladle at a time as before, waiting for it to be absorbed before adding the next ladle - it will take another 10 -12 minutes for the tomatoes and rice to be cooked. The grains should be tender and plump, but not mushy.
6. Add the mint, salt and crushed pepper and give it a final stir, remove from heat, transfer to a warm serving bowl and cover and keep aside for a couple of minutes.
7. Serve immediately. I chose to make it part of an Indian meal and served it with ghiya raita and aloo tikkis.