17 March 2011

Food: Hamantaschen and more!

It's almost Purim! And it can't be Purim without hamantaschen!

JoyOfKosher.com offers a roundup of interesting fillings for these little triangle pastries.

Click on these for some yummy treats:

Cheating Hamantashen
Apple Pie Hamantashen
Cranberry White Chocolate Hamantashen
Gluten Free Hamantashen
Lemon Hamantashen
Date-Walnut Hamantashen
Chef Laura Hamantashen (almond and rosewater filling)
Cinnamon Dulce De Leche
Cinnamon Apple Hamantashen
Pumpkin Whole Wheat Hamantashen
Almost Like a Bakery Hamantashen with Poppyseed Filling

What's better for Purim than a Persian menu?

ChefLauraskosher.com offers a Persian menu on her blog, incuding meatballs a chicken herb stew, rice and a rosewater rice pudding.

However, while it sounds and looks delicious, it is not entirely authentic as Persians do not eat saffron rice with any khoresht (a stew), but only chelo (steamed white basmati rice with a crunchy crust). Saffron is not incorporated into the entire dish, but a small amount of the white rice is mixed with a few drops of prepared saffron liquid and then that small amount of golden rice is sprinkled over the top of the rice platter to decorate it. A form of saffron rice is used with havij polo (rice mixed with carrots and kidney beans).

Also, her rice cooking method is not authentic and does not result in separate, fluffy grains as it should.

The Persian method is to parboil the washed and soaked rice for 7-8 minutes and drain it. Place oil and turmeric in the bottom of a heavy dutch oven, pat down a layer of the rice and add the rest spatula by spatula, mounding it up. Poke a few holes in it. Cook on medium high for 10-12 minutes, lower the heat. Make sure to use a double layer of white paper towel under the tight-fitting lid to absorb the condensation and avoid soggy rice. Cook another 20-30 minutes on medium, then raise a corner (keep it slightly open) of the pot to let out the steam, and lower heat to very low. Keep it on the burner for up to 20 minutes.

This method will result in fluffy grains and and a fabulous golden crispy-crunchy layer that Persian diners fight over. Yum! My trick is to use a circle of parchment paper on the bottom of the pot, add the oil and turmeric on the paper and then add the rice. The crisp tahdik (literally, "bottom of the pot") will lift right out of the pot!

My favorite brand is Lal Qilla aged malai basmati rice, best purchased in a Persian or Indian store, where you know there is a lot of turnover. There are other good brands as well. Long-grain is used for Persian rice eaten with a meal, but short-grain (sometimes called rice for ash - a thick soup-stew) is used for desserts, like the rosewater rice pudding in the menu above.

In some Persian families, the Purim menu uses fish or vegetables (sometimes stuffed, representing Esther's hidden secret), representing the menu that she ate in the palace as she tried to keep to the Jewish dietary restrictions.

However, it doesn't matter really - it is all delicious!

1 comment:

  1. joyofkosher recipes are always reliable, aren't they?!