Thursday, October 23, 2008

Eating Art: Deconstructed Shrimp Biryani


We all have kitchen failures. Mine is often short-grained rice. I am a bit of a space cadet and a multitasker; the combination has overcooked more than one pot of rice. (I also seem to always misplace my timer.) But, I hate throwing out food or even composting it before trying to use it for another purpose.

We planned the Eating Art dinner, 10 courses/ 20 diners, in about three weeks. The weekend before, we made a list of things that could be made ahead of time and frozen. We also identified the recipes that were harder or completely new to us. As such, some dishes received more attention (such as the tea house soba noodles.) Some dishes that were to be a breeze were basically decided to be givens. The Pistachio Kulfi from the dessert course was one of these.

Kulfi is Indian ice cream. Unlike its Western sisters, it is unchurned and therefore dense and creamy. I have made this sweet treat many times before, and there in was my familiar. Somehow in the hullabaloo of dinner preparation, my husband and I completely miscommunicated about the proportion of nut extract and rose water needed. When it came out of the freezer, I was basically like cold, thick perfume and the unedibility was remarkable. My husband wanted to chuck it was our freezer was rapidly filling up and our refrigerator was bursting at the seam. But, I just couldn’t.

As we debated, the kulfi was defrosting on the counter, turning into a pale green glop. And, somehow, my husband’s inner brilliance began to shine—it could be the marinade for the shrimp biryani.

As we had some who don’t eat shrimp, we went with a “deconstructed” biryani. (I know that word has become so cheesy.) We made saffron rice with dried unsulfured apricots, slivered almonds, and mint. We also made a rich curry sauce sweetened by the last of the season’s Sweet 100 tomatoes. And then we had planned for grilled marinated shrimp.

So, we marinated 1.5 lbs of American shrimp in a little more than 1/2 cup of pistachio kulfi melted, 1/3 cup coconut milk, 2 T chilli powder, 2 T garam masala, 1 sprinkle asofoetida, and a sprinkle of fresh mint.

We grilled them up and at the same time cooked the marinade down into a rice curry sauce. Yummy, yummy innovation.

For the Kulfi recipe, follow my kulfi recipe but add 2 drops pistachio extract.



La Cuisine d'Helene said...

I love shrimps. That would be a dish I would enjoy eating.

Sophie said...

LOL I am the same way when it comes to rice, that's why I thank God for my rice cooker :). Pistachio extract? That sounds too cool!

eatingclubvancouver_js said...

Melted kulfi as marinade? Ingenious.