Fennel & green Garbanzo Polo

By • March 24, 2013 • 11 Comments


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Author Notes: Mention fennel to any Orthodox South Indian Lady (preferably over 60) and in all likelyhood, their pleasantly lined faces will scrunch up into a grimace, coupled with the eyes crinkling in disgust and the nostrils crimping tightly shut as if the mere mention of the spice elicited an odor of skunk. For some reason, fennel (derogatorily mispronounced in Tamil as 'SOAMBU' , a deliberate corruption of the hindi 'Saunf') was always looked down upon in orthodox cooking, and the best way to add fuel to this fire is to cheekily point out the fact that the lump of asafetida that they hold so highly in regard is nothing but an extract of a wild variety of fennel!
I believe that Food & Festivals need no reason and had made this rice polo on the Persian new year day (Navroze) a couple of days back. The recipe makes use of fennel in3 forms, the bulb, marinaded & roasted along with shallots & pepper, a tempering of tender green fennel seeds with nigella & finally a liberal garnish of the fennel fronds.
Panfusine

Serves 5-6

Rice

  • 1 cup Basmati rice, cleaned, rinsed & drained
  • 2 tablespoons Ghee
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 cups boiling water
  1. Melt the ghee in a heavy bottom pan. Add Basmati rice and toast in the ghee until it begins to emit a characteristic fragrant aroma.
  2. Add the boiling water along with the salt, give the mixture a good stir to dislodge the grains that are holding on to the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat to barely above a simmer, cover with a lid and allow the rice to cook & absorb all the liquid. (~ 20 minutes), Fluff and set aside.

Polo

  • 1 Large Fennel bulb
  • 1 cup shallots cut into thin strips or thin slices
  • 1 cup sweet mini peppers cut into strips
  • 2-3 tablespoons Olive oil
  • Salt & freshly cracked peppercorn to taste
  • 1 1/2 cup Fresh green garbanzo (or frozen edamame)
  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 1 teaspoon Green fennel seeds
  • 1/4 cup Fennel leaf fronds
  • 1 pinch Paprika or cayenne pepper powder (optional)
  1. Using a mandolin, slice the fennel bulb into thin slices. Reserve the fronds. combine fennel with the shallots and the sweet pepper in a large bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil, and season with Salt & fresh crushed pepper. Using clean hands, toss the vegetables to coat evenly with the olive oil. Layer evenly on a baking sheet and roast in a 450 F oven until the shallots turn translucent and begin to caramelize. (~ 30 min)
  2. Steam the Fresh green garbanzo (or edamame) until done and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl add 2 cups of rice, the steamed garbanzo and the roasted fennel, Shallot & pepper mix.
  4. Heat the ghee until almost smoking and add the fennel & nigella seeds. once the fennel seeds 'split' (like cumin under similar conditions) pour this tempering into the rice mixture. You may add the paprika if you choose into the oil just before pouring it into the rice. Gently fold the mixture to combine the ingredients. Taste and adjust for seasoning with the salt & pepper. Garnish with the Fennel fronds & serve warm with tsatziki, raita or plain yogurt.

Comments (11) Questions (0)

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Flower-bee

about 1 year ago Droplet

I am curious- is there any technical difference between a Polo and a Pulao or is it just a regional difference in designation? This looks very good.

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about 1 year ago Panfusine

Thanks Droplet! I adapted the technique from classic Persian rice dishes where the rice is cooked and hence calling it a Polo seemed to be appropriate.I think the origin of the word is the same.. they just get a different tweak in pronunciation depending upon the country, separately and then folded into spiced vegetables Pulao, Pilaf, Polo, Paella, or meatballs referred to as Kofta, or Kefte..

Dsc_0122.nef-1

about 1 year ago Panfusine

AARGH.. the reply got garbled above! wish we cd edit our comments!


Thanks Droplet! I adapted the technique from classic Persian rice dishes where the rice is cooked separately and then folded into spiced vegetables, hence calling it a Polo seemed to be appropriate.I think the origin of the word is the same.. they just get a different tweak in pronunciation depending upon the country, Pulao, Pilaf, Polo, Paella, or meatballs referred to as Kofta, or Kefte..

Flower-bee

about 1 year ago Droplet

Thank you for the clarification, Panfusine. I will make it when I get a chance (would have to track down some green garbanzo's) and I think I might add one or two boiled chopped eggs kedgeree style.

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about 1 year ago Panfusine

The Eggs sounds like a great idea droplet, you could use edamame as well (the texture is similar to the fresh off the pod green garbanzo), The Indian grocery stores stock frozen green chickpeas, but those tend to be the indian variety with a tough 'ish' leathery outer skin

036

about 1 year ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

This sounds wonderful! I love the little old ladies scrunching up their noses ...

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about 1 year ago Panfusine

Thanks aargersi! to this day, my MIL will walk out of the kitchen the entire day if any Fennel or Cinnamon makes is appearance in any dish!

Massimo's_deck_reflection_10_27_13

about 1 year ago lapadia

Love your recipe, PF! Will look around for nigella seeds, may be able to find them at Central Mkt.

Dsc_0122.nef-1

about 1 year ago Panfusine

Thanks Lapadia!

Jampro

about 1 year ago Bevi

This sounds lovely, PF. Where do I buy nigella seeds?

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about 1 year ago Panfusine

Thanks Bevi, I've seen Nigella seeds at the Savory spice store (they have stores all over), or else any Indian grocery store carries them.. They're often referred to by the native name 'Kalonji' or mislabeled as onion seeds.