Indigenous ‘rice’ to the occasion
Thengai Pal Sadam

Indigenous ‘rice’ to the occasion

The festival was curated to make people aware of the various rice varieties that exist and to display the versatility of the varieties. The pop-up menu which has 12 dishes are an amalgamation of Indian and International cuisine.

CHENNAI: The Indigenous Rice Festival is an ongoing collaborative initiative by Sempulam (CIKS) and Chef Rakesh Raghunathan at Wild Garden Café at Amethyst. The festival was curated to make people aware of the various rice varieties that exist and to display the versatility of the varieties. The pop-up menu which has 12 dishes are an amalgamation of Indian and International cuisine.

Ramzan Nombu Kanji made from Seeraga Samba rice was served as an appetiser. The caramelised onion complemented the soft texture of the rice. The beautiful flavour of ghee blended strong spices like bay leaf, cumin, star anise and other spices so well, that the flavours almost tasted like a gentle breeze of mashed biryani. The kanji, despite being served in a small bowl, was very filling.

Ramzan Nombu Kanji
Ramzan Nombu Kanji

One bite of the Bannur Mutton Pulao Arancini with yoghurt onion rings turns your heart into a fountain, especially if you love meat. This starter, which has minced mutton with pulao made from Kalanamak rice, is coated in panko crumbs. The crunch of the crumbs despite contrasting the smooth texture of the rice, somehow found a common ground of uniqueness. The dish is so good by itself that the accompaniment, yoghurt onion rings (raita) is not required to enjoy the flavours of the dish.

Bannur Mutton Pulao Arancini
Bannur Mutton Pulao Arancini

It is true that appearances can be deceiving. It was proved to be true in the case of the main course, Thengai Pal Sadam. The Thengai Pal Sadam made from the rice Anandanoor Sanna, at first glance looks very bland and savourless. In appearance it looks like plain boiled rice topped with raisins and cashew. But when you take a spoonful of the rice, the sudden blast of flavours takes you aback. Shocked, by the deception this rice portrays, we discussed it with the chef, who disclosed that the rice only has coconut milk, pepper, star anise, and cardamom. This dish is a must-try.

Thengai Pal Sadam
Thengai Pal Sadam

The French Onion Risotto which shows the versatility of indigenous rice at its best is another main course made from Karunguruvai rice. The texture of the Karunguruvai rice can replicate the texture of the Arborio rice used for risottos. The consistency of the cheese and cream with ample amounts of herbs and flavours made the dish the star of the menu.

French Onion Risotto
French Onion Risotto

No meal is complete without a dessert, the Riz au lait, made from Navara rice, which is a French dessert made up of rice and milk pudding with espresso caramel. This dish is an absolute treat for coffee lovers. The taste of coffee tugs at the strings of your heart that makes this dish an experience.

The food festival at Wild Garden Amethyst which began on May 13 will end on May 24.

Riz au lait
Riz au lait

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