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It's interesting how certain things make you think of a post. I was driving along and I saw a poster for the International Comedy Festival featuring comedian Shaun Majumder. For those of you who don't know, Shaun is of Indian heritage and is from a small town in Newfoundland, Canada. His father was a doctor, settled in Newfoundland for his practice, married, and the rest is history. Shaun is probably most known for his work on CBC's This Hour Has 22 Minutes and the many clever characters he creates for the show.
Add that thought to another CBC show I was listening to on the radio this week. Lenore Newman was being interviewed about her book Speaking in Cod Tongues: A Canadian Culinary Journey and she was talking about how Canada's food has become a creole. Usually attributed to languages where two languages are combined to make a new language, Newman expanded this to mean a blending of food from different cultures. Canada is rich with this tradition, especially now with the proliferation of fusion restaurants.
Those two things reminded me of a recipe I tried a few years back. I love crispy rice squares. To me they remind me of childhood. They can be crammed with all sorts of different ingredients, like chocolate chips or peanut butter. Even the plain version with just the butter, marshmallow, and crispy rice is perfection. I started to explore with the flavours one could use in a square. Could the square be slightly savoury instead of sweet?
Seeing the poster and hearing the radio program caused a chain reaction in my head and brought me back to this recipe. The curry is subtle, so you're not smacked in the face with just curry flavour. The apricot is such a common fruit for a lot of East Asian cooking and it blends well with the coconut and marshmallow. Try this treat the next time you're asked to bring something for a pot luck or want to expand your culinary horizons.
Start with melting the butter in a large saucepan under medium low heat. When the butter is melted add the spices. The spices need to cook a little in the butter to release their flavour. This way you'll get a nice creamy aroma mixed throughout the square instead of throwing the spices in dry later on. Add the marshmallows and stir until melted. Remove from the heat and add the extract.
The next bit will have to done quickly. Add the crispy rice, apricot, and coconut and mix well. Everything should be well distributed throughout. Transfer it to a greased 9 by 13 pan and press down to make an even layer. I just lightly wet my hands and pressed down. This way the batter won't stick to my hands and it's faster than using a spatula. Refrigerate until firm and cut into squares. Enjoy this great tasting treat!
*N.B. If you want a deeper flavour, try toasting your coconut before mixing it in to the batter.
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp curry powder
400 grams mini marshmallows
6 cups Rice Krispie cereal
1 tsp butter extract (use vanilla extract if you don't have butter extract)
1 cup dried apricots chopped small dice
1 cup shredded coconut