Chunks of mako shark perch atop Indian-style rice redolent of cinnamon, bay leaf, mustard seed, clove and cilantro—a tantalizing combination that's heady but not hot. It's customary to leave the whole spices in the rice, but warn your guests about the cloves; they're overwhelming if you bite into one.
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1 1/2 cups basmati or other long-grain rice
2 1/4 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks
3 bay leaves
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon butter
4 tablespoons cooking oil
2 teaspoons black or yellow mustard seeds
1/4 cup chopped, roasted, unsalted cashews
1 1/2 pounds shark steak, about 1 inch thick, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1/3 cup chopped cilantro or parsley
4 lemon wedges, for serving
How to Make It
Rinse the rice until the water runs clear. Put the rice in a medium saucepan with the water, cinnamon sticks, cloves, bay leaves, turmeric, and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and cook, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit, without removing the lid, for 10 minutes.
In a small frying pan, melt the butter with 2 tablespoons of the oil over moderately high heat. Add the mustard seeds and cook, stirring, until they begin to pop, about 30 seconds. Add the cashews; cook, stirring, for 30 seconds longer. Gently stir the cashew mixture into the rice with a fork.
Heat a grill pan or large heavy frying pan over moderately high heat. Thread the shark onto four small skewers; rub with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, the lemon juice, and garlic. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Cook the kabobs, turning, until just done, about 8 minutes. Add the cilantro to the rice and mound on plates. Top with the shark kabobs and serve with the lemon wedges.
Try matching this aromatic preparation with that most aromatic of all whites, Gewürztraminer. Look for a bottle from Alsace or a slightly less acidic version from California.
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