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Rice and tasty; Think rice is just the stuff that pads out the interesting bit of a meal? Let food writer Nisha Katona prove you wrong with some fabulous dishes from her new book.

Byline: Nisha Katona

RICE doesn't have to be just steamed or boiled, it can be transformed into exciting recipes.

Pimp My Rice by food writer Nisha Katona aims to do just that.

The Indian cookery teacher and founder of Mowgli Street Food restaurants, who is also a barrister, is a rice evangelist and her new book has a host of recipes from Pimped Rice Piri Piri to beefed-up Bibimbap and black rice sorbet.

She explains: I wrote this book because I felt rice needed to be celebrated. I think this is borne from my guilt. Guilt because for years I overlooked rice as an anodyne, pasty-faced accompaniment - always the bridesmaid and never the bride.

"Rice is full of good carbs. Unrefined and easily digested. This carb hit is just right to give you that spring in your morning step but it does not sit heavily in the stomach, weighing you down into slumber at work.

"Rice is a slow burner - it keeps you full until lunchtime at least and this makes clever choice for those prone to the 11am nibbles.

"We need to get to grips with the grain and I don't know of a book that helped me do this. Hence, wrote one." " Here the chef shares aof her delicious rice-based dishes.

| Nisha's recipes are taken from Pimp My Rice, Nourish Hardback, PS20 "THE triple comfort whammy of musky rice, creamy coconut and floral vanilla mediates with the fragrant freshness of the peach beautifully in this dish.

"Caramelizing the fruit in this way makes for a warmly sweet alternative to the hospital-ward, boiled-to-anaemia peach."

INGREDIENTS: 100g/31/2oz/heaped 1/2 cup Thai fragrant rice or any short-grain rice 800ml/28fl oz/31/2 cups coconut milk 3 tbsp soft brown sugar a pinch of salt 2 drops of vanilla extract For the caramelised peach 3 peaches, skinned and pitted 2 tbsp salted butter 30g/1oz/21/2 tbsp muscovado/soft brown sugar For the topping 8 tbsp caster/granulated sugar METHOD: 1. Soak the rice in cold water for 4 hours or overnight, then rinse and drain. Bring the main ingredients to the boil, then simmer gently until you have a thick porridge, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. This will take about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat.

2. Set a strainer over a bowl and cut the skinned peaches into pieces over the strainer, so their juice collects in the bowl.

3. Heat the butter in a non-stick pan over a medium heat. When it is hot but not smoking, add the peach pieces and saute until they sizzle and their juices reduce and thicken, which should take 2-3 minutes. 4. Sprinkle the sugar over them and saute until the juices further thicken and the sugar caramelizes slightly, about a minute.

You may want to increase the heat under the pan to medium-high. 5. Allow the peaches to cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the juices are very thick, which will take a minute or so.

6. Just before serving, stir the caramelized peaches into the congee. Spoon the mixture into four heatproof ramekins, then sprinkle 2 tablespoons caster/granulated sugar evenly over the surface of each congee brulee.

While the sugar is still dry, immediately caramelize with a chefs' blowtorch, or by placing the ramekins under a hot grill/broil until the sugar bubbles and turns golden brown.

RED RICE RENDANG (Serves 4) "LEMONGRASS, galangal and kaffir lime leaves are hugely fragrant and give the beef a brave feminine dimension. It is so important that the beef becomes tender and utterly penetrable to these iconic spicings."

INGREDIENTS: 50g/13/4oz/1 cup coconut flakes 2 lemongrass stalks, hard outer layers removed 2 small onions, chopped 3 garlic cloves, chopped 6cm/21/2in piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and grated 1 tbsp chopped galangal, or paste 4-6 red chillies, deseeded and roughly chopped 1 tsp turmeric 2 tbsp oil 4 cardamom pods, lightly crushed 1 cinnamon stick 650g/1lb 7oz braising steak, diced into 3cm/11/4in cubes 400ml/14fl oz/12/3 cups coconut milk 4 kaffir lime leaves Grated zest and juice of 1 lime 190g/63/4oz/1 cup red rice, preferably Bhutanese (available online), soaked overnight, then drained Salt 2 shallots, finely sliced and deep fried 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves METHOD: 1. Toast the coconut flakes in a dry frying pan until browned, then remove them from the heat. Roughly chop 1 lemongrass stalk. Blitz the toasted coconut, onions, ginger, galangal, chopped lemongrass, garlic,


| Nisha Katona whose new recipe book suggests fresh ideas for serving rice
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Nov 29, 2015
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