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Imagine yourself in the following scenario. You’ve had a hard day at work and the drive home took longer than the usual hour due to heavy traffic. Summer’s long gone, and you get drenched from the rain and wind while trying to get your laptop safely out of the car and into the flat. After a quick change of clothes you eat some leftover soup from last night (better the second day!) and cozy up in a blanket on the sofa to watch whatever TV comes on because you just want to be warm, and it’s either this or go to bed.
Soon your partner, the love of your life, jumps up saying, “Wait here! I’m going to make you a pudding.”, and disappears for an intensive 5 minutes of surfing the net. Eventually smells start wafting across from the kitchen, gorgeous smells. These are smells of, what is that…coconut?…butter?…something Thai? Yes, it smells like those little Thai coconut jellies. How could he be making those? I wait patiently. This is where we differ. He’d let curiosity get the best of him and look. But me, I like the element of surprise.
Voila! Rice pudding? School days and university residence hall dinners revisited. But wait…this is the best rice pudding I’ve ever tasted. It’s not too sweet, creamy as all get-out, and buttery and rich. NOW I’m warm! Thank god for the internet!
Note: He left out the golden raisins, added cinnamon, and used jasmine rice. He also sprinkled a bit of cinnamon on top.
One of those things that just comes to you one day and you wonder why you’d never thought of it before.
Here’s what I did:
In a pan over medium heat, I lightly roasted (about a minute or until getting fragrant but not burnt) a few spices. These included a couple of pieces of cinnamon bark, five cloves, two smashed green cardamon pods and about an eighth teaspoon of mixed spice because I was afraid that it wouldn’t be spicy enough. Just experiment.
Then I added about a tablespoon of cocoa powder and let it heat through with the spices in the dry pan. You’ll be tempted to add more cocoa as if you are making hot chocolate, but think of the cocoa as just another spice in the chai. You don’t want anything overpowering anything else and upsetting the balance.
Finally I added 2 mugs full of milk and three teabags or three teaspoons of loose tea. I used semi-skimmed (half fat) but if you use full fat it will be creamy and lovely. You might want to substitute a bit of water for some of the milk if you go the full fat route.
If you want to add sugar, add it at this point so that it melts in the tea. I waited until after it was made and served the sugar on the side s people could have as much or as little as they liked.
Be sure it doesn’t scald. When heated, strain and pour into cups to enjoy, MMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
I liked this idea, even if it’s not very green. But if you are in a hurry, making everything in one tidy packet is much quicker than trying to keep your hands wet so the rice doesn’t stick to them. You also don’t have to mess around with the onigiri form.
1) Mix the flavourings that you want into hot rice and turn it over a few times to cool it a bit.
2) Line a teacup or rice bowl with plastic wrap and fill with a handful of the rice mixture.
3) Push a little well into the centre and add your filling. I’ve used umeboshi (Japanese style pickled plums).
4) Twist the ends of the wrap together and form a ball with the rice working it together a little bit.
5) Using your first two fingers, form the three corners of the triangle.
6) Then you can untwist the plastic wrap and wrap it around the onigiri nicely so that it can be packed for lunch.