I made Baked Pumpkin Brown Rice with Seafood and Cream Sauce recently; it was a rather involved process so I wasn’t planning to blog about this, but… it was too delicious not to share!
When it comes to pumpkin, in the past I’ve made Japanese-style stewed pumpkin “kabocha” , pumpkin soup and then there was also pumpkin pie (but that was using canned pumpkin puree, so it doesn’t count). Pumpkin tastes so wonderful, I like the mild sweetness with the nutty undertone, and the smooth creamy texture. The bright orange-yellow color of the flesh is, of course, a joy to look at. So vibrantly neon, like scooping up sunset with a spoon. :)
So what happened was I popped by this Asian Masters 2012 cooking demonstration, hosted by Naturel (the organic food brand) at one of the malls a couple weeks ago. During the demonstration I got to sample this Baked Pumpkin Brown Rice with Seafood and Cream Sauce that the chef had prepared prior to my arrival. I loved the flavors of the dish and even though I missed the demonstration of how to make this, I decided I was gonna attempt to recreate it myself at home. After all, it was almost the weekend at the time and I wanted to have a bit of R&R time alone in the kitchen whipping something significant. I mean, I wanted to take my time making and preparing something, not rushing myself. I didn’t have the foresight though that this baked pumpkin rice could’ve fed an army, else I’d have invited some friends over to help me eat. Either way, I wanted the R&R time and making this dish was the perfect way to spend my weekend.
As it was, pumpkins were readily available at the supermarket and I managed to snag the smallest one outta the bunch for just a little over three bucks. I wanted to use the pumpkin as a serving container/bowl… this was gonna be a self-containing one dish meal. The challenging part for me was cutting the top part of the pumpkin off, to make a lid. I felt like I didn’t have the right knife to do this and it was rather scary because my knife would get stuck in the pumpkin and I had to yank it out with each cut. *scary scary* There’s gotta be an easier way to do this, but I don’t know what it is…. so maybe you all can give me some tips in this department. What I ended up doing was steaming the whole pumpkin for a good 15 minutes or so to soften it, and then carve out the top.
The filling of this pumpkin dish was essentially stir fried (cooked) brown rice with some seafood bits thrown in there. I used some frozen fish fillets and crab meat sticks. I had a packet of enoki mushroom and some leftover bacon in the fridge so I decided to throw all of that into the mix as well. I’m thinking that perhaps next time when I make this again, I may add some raisins into the stir fried brown rice. I think that’d give this dish an extra flavor and texture; I imagine the raisins will go quite well with the pumpkin.
Making this was a tad involved because I had to separately steam the pumpkin, while cooking the brown rice then stir-frying it with the seafood etc. After that, I combined the two and made a cream sauce on the side to be poured over the pumpkin and rice. And last but not least, everything goes into the oven to be baked so that all flavors are incorporated. Yup, this took me pretty much all day to prepare (paced out leisurely, of course, as I had intended).
The result was this creamy, risotto-like baked rice in cream sauce that tasted really delicious. The rice was fluffy, the seafood and bacon gave it a nice flavor, and best of all, this dish wasn’t oily or greasy one bit. The creaminess may fill you up though, but generally the flavors are not heavy and this dish was a delight to eat one scoopful at a time. So as I had pointed out, this is a self-containing one dish meal but it doesn’t mean that you can’t eat the container, ie. the pumpkin itself! After the dish is cooked and ready to be served, I dug into the rice, conveniently scraped the sides of the pumpkin too and mixed it together onto my plate. Yummmz!
Predictably, I had a lot of leftover and wanted to make riceballs with it. I was thinking of coating the riceballs with panko breadcrumbs and then deep-frying; that’d have made a delicious snack. But alas, I got lazy so I abandoned the idea. :p Anyhoo, I don’t have an exact recipe for the Baked Pumpkin Brown Rice with Seafood and Cream Sauce that I made. But here’s sharing the chef’s version from the Asian Masters 2012 cooking demonstration; it’s a lot fancier than mine so I just glanced at it real quick and referenced it loosely to create my own version that you’re seeing in the photos. (I’m too lazy to type it all out so I scanned the recipe printout instead; read on to find out why below…)
RANT: I am still unaccustomed to metrics-based recipes and I dread having to convert the ingredients amount/weight into more familiar measurements such as cup, tablespoon, pound and ounce. For example, if I read “one tablespoon of butter” or “one cup of milk”, I usually have a pretty good and accurate visual in my head right away of how much that quantity is. And then I have a mental picture of how the dish is gonna come together step-by-step, from reading the recipe and ingredient quantities. (I’m not crazy and I’m not the only one who does this, right? right? rightttt???)
But when I read something like, “40 grams of butter” or “300 grams of chicken stock”, I’m like… WTF IS THATTTT!!!?!?! }:[
At least in the department of cooking temperature conversion, that has been solved. For now. I’ve set my oven temperature knob to the empty unmarked space smack dab in the middle between the 150°C and 200°C markings, as a default. That kinda roughly converts to 350°F. I think. ….. Uhm, well, so far nothing’s been charred and burnt yet. :X
Ugh, I really hate Math.