Offering 12 different dishes made with 12 different types of rice, the pop-up menu at Amethyst is full of surprises

Chennai-based Chef Rakesh Raghunathan has created dishes that use ingredients like Kaivari Samba and Kuzhiadichan! Get an education in indigenous rice variety along with a delicious meal at Amethyst

author_img Sabrina Rajan Published :  13th May 2022 12:00 AM   |   Published :   |  13th May 2022 12:00 AM

Desserts made with indigenous rice

Offering a dozen dishes, all made with rice, the pop-up menu starting today at Amethyst has food historian and chef, Rakesh Raghunathan, surprising our palate with flavours and textures that made us rethink our perception of this staple grain. “Besides familiar dishes like the biryani, we are also showcasing how we can incorporate our indigenous grains in global dishes. Like an Egyptian koshari, Italian arancini, risotto or a French rice pudding,” says Rakesh who has collaborated with Sempulam (CIKS) for sourcing the rice variety that will also be available for sale at the venue, Wild Garden Café. A preview of the menu found us getting educated in the many varieties of rice available in the country — thanks to Sempulam Sustainable Solutions who have been conserving and celebrating forgotten species of rice for the past 27 years. We start off with a soup of sorts — the Ramzan Nombu Kanji that is made from Seeraga Samba rice and is the ultimate comfort food.

Chef Rakesh Raghunathan

Did you know?

The arancini starters are generously sized deep-fried orbs and the vegetarian version has ven pongal made with Kalvari Samba rice and a dollop of cheese in the centre. Meanwhile, the non-vegetarian option (Bannur mutton pulao arancini) is alluringly fragrant and Dr K Vijaylakshmi, director Sempulam, tells us how the kalanamak rice used brings robust aroma to any dish. She further added, “It also has a very low glycemic index. These indigenous rice varieties offer an exciting range of health and nutritional benefits.” The mains find us stuffing our face with the creamy, delicious French Onion Risotto that has Karunguruval rice giving the traditionally used arborio rice a run for its money. The other dish that had us scraping the bottom of the dish was the Thenga Pal Sadam made with Anandanoor Sanna rice. Sweetish with raisins and nuts, this one is a keeper. The Kongunaad Biryani made with Mullan Kaima rice saw succulent and flavoursome mutton pieces, falling off the bone delightfully.

Ven Pongal Arancini at Amethyst

Sweet and meaningful

The desserts satiated our sugar craving to the hilt. Starting with an ingenious tart that was filled with mildly sweet mango phirni (made of Thaayamalli rice), followed by a French rice and milk pudding topped with espresso flavoured caramel and made with the Navara variety (that helps with immunity against respiratory diseases informs Vijaylakshmi). The familiar Akkaravadisil showcased the Thanga Samba rice and saw us conclude the meal with a happy sigh.

A la carte meal for two at about INR 1,200, from May 13 to 24, at Wild Garden Café, Amethyst.

- Sabrina Rajan