When I was just about to throw all those orange and lemon peels into the dustbin after making a refreshing juice, an idea struck me! Why not use these beautiful orange and lemon skins to cook up something innovative? Within the next hour, my home was overflowing with the citrus aroma of this flavourful rice dish, with subtle flavours of orange and lime skins!
Zest, or the citrus peel, is obtained by scraping or cutting the outermost, fragrant skin of citrus fruits, such as oranges and limes. One can use a vegetable peeler, pairing knife or a zester to obtain the zest from the fruit. For this dish, I preferred slicing the peel and removing the whitish, bitter pith away, to get the star ingredient of today’s post—the citrus zests of oranges and limes! By doing so, the zest is a little more chewy (which is the preferred texture here) than the soft, scraped zest.
I quickly made up my mind for the ingredients that should go into the dish. Since I wanted to emphasise on the natural flavour and aroma of the zests, I cut down on all the strong-smelling spices. The only mild spice used for tempering was the fennel seeds, whose sweet taste generally goes well with the oranges and limes. I planned to add a little lime juice to the preparation, in order to balance the sweet taste of the oranges. Another noteworthy ingredient is the light muscovado sugar (or the cane sugar), used as a balancing agent against the sourness of the lime juice added to this dish. I always prefer these healthy options of using the muscovado sugar or jaggery in cooking, the former being more compatible in rice dishes due to their powdery form.
One has to be careful in using just the right amount of lime zest, the excess of which would lead to imparting an unwanted, bitter taste to the dish.
I am linking this post to the Food Frenzy Recipe Challenge: this month’s topic being Orange. This topic has been chosen by my dear foodie friend Manu, who is the winner of the May Challenge. Interestingly, it is Manu again, who has recently awarded me with The Versatile Blog Award! Thank you, Manu, for appreciating and honouring my blog with this award. Do visit her wonderful blog, Manu’s Menu, for great food photography and awesome recipes.
Citrus-Zest Fried Rice
- Aromatic rice: 2 cups
- Orange zest: 3 tbsp
- Lime zest: 3 tbsp
- Lime juice: 2 tbsp
- Fresh orange: 1 whole
- Milk: ½ cup
- Raisins: ½ cup
- Light muscovado sugar (or fine jaggery): 1 tbsp
- Spring onion greens: ¼ cup
- Fennel seeds: 1 tbsp
- Turmeric: ½ tsp
- Water: 3 cups
- Oil: 3 tbsp
- Salt: 1 tsp
Method of Preparation:
Soak the rice in the turmeric-water for 15 minutes.
Heat 1 tbsp oil and fry the raisins till golden and puffed up. Remove and set aside.
Add 2 tbsp oil to the skillet again and let it reach the smoking point. Add the fennel seeds and wait till these are browned.
Add the finely chopped spring onions immediately. Sauté for 2 min on a medium flame and add the zests (add the orange zest first).
Continue to sauté for two more minutes and then add the chopped oranges (reserve three orange cloves for garnishing).
After 1 min, add the rice and stir. Add the fried raisins and the milk.
Also add the muscovado sugar, lemon juice and salt. Mix everything once, add water and pressure-cook till the rice is just done. Garnish this aromatic dish with the reserved, chopped oranges and fresh orange and lime zests.
This fried rice tastes divine with medium-spicy curries.
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