Kanika…. The sweet rice from the state of Odisha

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“Autumn is the second Spring, the only difference is the color expressed by the foliage”; I got this caption from the local botanical garden advertisement. And not to say fell in the love with nature once again. If you ask me, how I want to connect my love and memories, I do explicitly with the season. Truly, these two seasons are the medley of the extremes and go well with their delicate transitions, giving the hope that things do mend well. Every culture celebrates it in various ways. Well, it’s again that time of the year, which gives me immense nostalgia.

Kanika
Kanika

If you are from India, you can well relate this time of the year with Navratri or Durga Puja or Dusshera. Belonging to the Eastern part of India we celebrate it as Durga Puja in the state of Odisha. This time of the year is very lovely, with faint chilled wind blowing in the early morning and evenings and schools having a week long vacation for Puja. There is celebration all around the city, the houses gear up with shopping clothes and gifts for friends and relatives. Among all this hustle and bustle one thing that’s more important is planning the traditional Durga Puja food and I think there are many which are kin to this festival, but probably Kanika is something my mom never missed any year.

The close up of Kanika Offered for Puja
The close up of Kanika Offered for Puja

Kanika is a mildly sweet fragrant rice flavored with some spices and ghee (the clarified butter) loaded with cashew nuts and raisins and is colored with the turmeric. The basic feature of the rice is the well separated puffed grains embellished with a perfect shine from the Ghee. And though the recipe is very simple with  few ingredients, the basic features are never to be neglected. I remember my mom cooking it with utmost care, so that not a single grain is mashed. Traditionally, it was considered as the first test for the newly married bride to check her potent in calculation of rice and water. Good old stories I heard from Granny, how she passed her test in the kitchen. Continuing the family tradition, I have always had Kanika in my festive platter during Durga Puja.

My Puja Serving
My Puja Serving

Here goes the recipe:

Ingredients:

The whole spices and dry fruits
The whole spices and dry fruits
Sugar and Salt
Sugar and Salt
  1. Basmati Rice – 1 cup
  2. Bay Leaves – 2
  3. Cinnamon Stick – 1
  4. Green Cardamom – 2
  5. Clarified butter – 4 tbsp
  6. Salt – 1/2 tsp
  7. Turmeric – 1 tsp
  8. Sugar – 1/3 cup
  9. Cashew nuts – handful
  10. Raisins – handful
  11. Water – 2 cup

Steps of Preparation:

  1. Rinse well the Basmati rice till the water is clear and soak it for 30 mins.

    Soaked Basmati Rice
    Soaked Basmati Rice
  2. Heat a pot, add the clarified butter or ghee.

    Heating the clarified butter.
    Heating the clarified butter.
  3. Stir fry the cashew nuts and raisins, till golden brown. This step has to be done in medium heat with caution as it gets easily burned out.
    Sauting the dry fruits
    Sauting the dry fruits

    Fried Cashew nuts and Raisins
    Fried Cashew nuts and Raisins
  4. Add all the whole spices (bay leaves, cardamom and cinnamon).

    Adding the whole spices
    Adding the whole spices
  5. Once these releases the flavor in the clarified butter, add the rice and saute it till its translucent and shiny.
    Sauting the rice
    Sauting the rice

  6. Add the salt, turmeric and sugar and mix it to coat well. Do mix with caution, making sure no grains are broken."<yoastmark"<yoastmark"<yoastmark
  7. Add 2 cups of water, cover it and let it cook on medium flame till the rice puffs and water dries out.

    Adding water
    Adding water

The sweet rice is a lovely combination with milder Dalma or spicy Aloo dum during festivities. Where as some Sundays it goes really well with Chicken or Mutton Kassa.

Kanika

Kanika.... The sweet rice from the state of Odisha
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 4
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
Kanika is a mildly sweet fragrant rice flavored with some spices and ghee (the clarified butter) loaded with cashew nuts and raisins and is colored with the turmeric. The basic feature of the rice is the separated well puffed grains embellished with a perfect shine from the Ghee.

 

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