Festive Yellow Rice
SERVES 4 – 6
When using lemongrass, Banda's cooks often bruise the stalks, then tie them into knots.
3 fresh or frozen whole daun pandan
(pandanus or screw pine leaves)
2 thick stalks fresh lemongrass, trimmed
2 cups jasmine rice
1 1⁄2 tsp. ground turmeric (not fresh)
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
3 whole fresh or frozen kaffir lime leaves,
1. Tie each daun pandan leaf in 3–4 knots; set aside. Remove and discard outer leaves of lemongrass and, using a blunt object such as the smooth side of a meat mallet, bruise stalks until they are slightly shredded and flexible, then tie each in a knot; set aside.
2. Put rice into a 2-quart pot, cover with cold water, and gently swish around with your hand until water clouds; drain water. Repeat process 3 more times (water will run clearer but will still be slightly cloudy). Put turmeric and 1 1⁄2 cups water into a small bowl; stir to combine. Add turmeric water, daun pandan, lemongrass, coconut milk, kaffir lime leaves, and salt to taste to rice pot; stir well. Bring rice mixture to a rolling, noisy boil over high heat, stirring constantly, to prevent rice from sticking to bottom of pot. Allow to boil for 15 seconds, stirring constantly, then reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes more (don't lift lid). Remove from heat and keep covered for 10 minutes more.