Rice Varieties.

Mushroom & Peas Pulav slow cooked in spicy tomato gravy.

One of the things I really run out of ideas are one pot meals. I love to spend weekends with my family rather than to put together an elaborate meal. One pot meals are the best as they bring together vegetables and rice in one go. I also like to have a completely different tasting pilaf to take out the monotony of smelling ther self same garam masala. This is one dish that has no garam masala added to  it…Try it and I am sure you would love its taste and texture.

INGREDIENTS:

1 Medium Onion.

2 Ripe Tomatoes.

3 Tbsp Fresh Grated Coconut.

2 Tsp Poppy Seeds/ Khus Khus.

3 Cloves.

2 Roma Tomatoes.

1 Tsp Salt.

1 Tsp Kitchen King Masala.

1 Inch Cinnamon.

1 Onion finely diced.

1/2 cup Beans.

1/2 cup Diced Mushrooms.

1/2 cup Fresh Peas.

Ghee, Cinnamon, Jeera, Star Anise for tempering.

Salt.

Turmeric.

Red Chilli Powder.

PREPARATION:

  • Wash 2 cups of Basmati Rice and keep ready in an electric  rice cooker vessel.
  • In a mixer add grated coconut,  poppy seeds, cloves, tomatoes, salt, kitchen king masala, small piece of cinnamon and puree with a little water to a fine paste.
  • Add this paste to the basmati rice. This should be part of the 3 1/2 cups of water that is added. So pour out the contents of the mixer in to a cup. If it is little less than a cup, add water and make it one cup.
  • Add the remaining 2 1/2 cups of water, and a dollop of butter to the rice. Allow to cook.

  • When done, open and puff up the rice with a fork and allow to cool.
  • In a kadai add 2 spoons of ghee and all the tempering ingredients.
  • Now add onions and allow to saute well.  When done pop in the beans, peas and the mushrooms.
  • Add salt just for the veggies as the rice already has salt added to it.
  • Keep stirring and add turmeric, red chilli powder and a pinch of kitchen king masala to the veggies.

  • When the vegetables are well cooked, add the rice already cooked in spicy tomato paste.
  • Mix well and garnish with chopped cilantro.
  • Serve HOT with chilled Cucumber Raita.

HINT:

This particular rice dish tastes better with time. So make sure that you make it at least an hour ahead of serving. All you would need to do is to pop it in to the microwave or in to the oven.

Rice Varieties.

Simple Tiranga Pulav (Tri coloured Pulav with whole spices made in a jiffy!)

Tiranga Pulav

Everytime I make an elaborate gravy like the Butter Mushroom Masala or the Aloo Dum or Stuffed Tomatoes in Green Gravy etc, I make it a point to keep the main pulav very simple and straight.  Tiranga Pulav is a very easy option to fall back on when you are really crunched on time, but cannot compromise on flavour. One of the main ingredients of course is Basmati Rice, and as you must have collected from my blog postings, I swear by Daawat Basmati Rice. It has a very rich flavour and aroma which is bearing on the taste of the final preparation. On to the preparation…

INGREDIENTS:

2 cup of Daawat Basmati Rice.

1/4 cup Light Coconut Milk.

3 1/2  cups Water.

A blob of butter.

Salt to taste.

3-4 Star Anise .

4 Cloves.

2 Bay Leaves.

2 inch piece of Cinnamon.

1 Tsp Elaichi Powder.

Handful of Broken Cashews.

1 cup finely diced Carrots.

1 cup Fresh/ Frozen Peas.

PREPARATION:

  • In the rice cooker take 2 cups of rice. Wash well add 1/4 cup Coconut Milk + 3 1/2 cups of Water. Add salt and a blob of butter and allow to cook.
  • If butter is not available, add a spoon of oil/ghee. This coats the rice with a layer of oil and keeps it non-sticky and also prevents the base of the cooking vessel from browning.
  • When the rice is done, puff it with a fork and allow to cool.
  • Pop the carrots in to the microwave for 3 mins so it gets half cooked. Set aside.
  • In a wide mouthed wok/kadai, add 2 spoons of  ghee. Roast the cashews and set aside.
  • Add a little more ghee if needed and slowly add the whole spices – Anise, Bay leaf, Cinnamon, Cloves and finally the elaichi powder.
  • With a spatula allow the spices to fry well in the ghee.
  • Add the carrots and peas and stir in well with the spices. Add sufficient salt.
  • When the vegetables are sauteed for a couple of minutes, add the cooked basmati rice.
  • Stir in well and switch off the stove.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves and serve Tiranga Pulav with Aloo Dum or Mushroom Butter Masala.
No Need of Onions!!! · Rice Varieties.

Aromatic Saffron flavoured Spinach Pulav.

Healthy meals have been an imperative rule in every household and ours is no exception.My daughter recently learnt from school that one has to eat at least 5 different vegetables in our daily diet and we have started a fun way to incorporate this rule almost every single day. When I was a small girl, we used to have two vegetables everyday. One of which would definitely be greens/ spinach etc. In India, there are so many different varieties of greens that are available, each unique in their taste and texture. Of course, our favourite preparation would almost always be Keerai Molagootal. Other varations would be Keerai masiyal, Keerai Sundal etc.

This time around I wanted to make spinach rice after seeing it in Viji`s blog some time back I so wanted to use my spinach in a one pot meal. It`s always easy to pick out ingredients from a party and throw them in to a rice pilaf preparation. This was one such preparation and the result was almost restaurant style rice pulav with a warm comforting aroma.

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups Basmati Rice.

1/2 cup Light Coconut Milk.

2 1/2 cups Water.

1 Bay leaf.

1 stick of Cinnamon.

Pinch of Ground Cardamom Powder.

1 tsp Fennel/ Somph.

Handful of chopped cashew pieces.

1 Bunch of fresh Spinach including the tender stalk.

5 Green chillies chopped fine.

1 Medium Red Onion chopped fine.

1 cup of fresh peas and corn kernels.

2 inch Ginger.

1 Tbsp Grated Fresh/Dessicated Coconut. (Optional).

Pinch of Turmeric.

1 Tsp Garam Masala.

Pinch of saffron soaked in a spoon of warm milk.

PREPARATION:

  • Wash the basmati rice and place in the electric rice cooker. Add 1/2 cup coconut milk, 2 1/2 cups water, a blob of butter, the saffron soaking in milk, salt and allow to cook.
  • When done, fluff the rice with a fork to seperate the grains and allow to cool.
  • The butter added coats the grains with a layer of fat, so this keeps the grains without sticking to each other.
  • In the mixer add ginger, a few pieces of green chillies, grated coconut and the spinach leaves. Pulse to a coarse paste adding a few drops of water if needed.
  • In a kadai add 2 spoons of ghee.  First fry the chopped cashew pieces and remove and keep aside.
  • In the same kadai, now add cinnamon, bay leaf, cardamom powder and allow to roast for a couple of seconds.
  • Slowly add the chopped green chillies and onions and saute well until the onions turn a light pinkish brown.
  • Next add the pulsed spinach paste and bring the flame to medium low.  Stir in the peas and corn kernels and allow the mixture to cook on the medium flame as this enhances the flavours.
  • After 8-10 minutes, all the water evaporates from the spinach paste and you see it coming together as one.
  • At this point, add the cooked  basmati rice and stir carefully so as not to break the rice grains.
  • Add a spoon of ghee if needed and serve with a garnish of saffron and grated coconut.

Aromatic saffron flavoured spinach pulav is a wholesome delicious meal ready in a matter of minutes. Serve with your favourite cucumber raita.

Rice Varieties.

Quick Fix Paneer Capsicum Rice. (For those instant night dinners and easy fix lunches!)

Quick Fix Paneer Capsicum Rice.
Quick Fix Paneer Capsicum Rice.

Many times, the menu for dinner or lunch is completely directed by the ingredients in the pantry. Most vegetables are bought from the store, with a particular preparation in mind, and most of the times, never really gets in to the Most Wanted Dish!!!  I would have selected fresh spring onions to make spring rolls or chinese noodles, but end up using them in soup instead, or even a kootu!!! Pudina would have been carefully selected, wrapped and stored to make spicy pudina rice, but could conveniently end up becoming a side dish in the form of Pudina Chutney for Dosa or Idlis!!! Last week I had got fresh capsicums to make Capsicum Subji that my husband loves, but ended up in a one pot dish for this Quick Fix Paneer Capsicum Rice!!!

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 Cups of Fragrant Basmati Rice cooked with 3 cups of water.

2 Fresh Capsicums sliced thin.

1/3 cup of Panner Cubes .

1 spoon of Ghee.

A Pinch of Garam Masala.

Seasoning:

1 spoon of Somph/ Shahi Jeera.

8 Green Chillies slit vertically.

1/2 Spoon of Jeera

1 0r 2 Bay Leaves.

4 Cloves.

A few Broken Cashew Halves.

Curry Leaves.

PREPARATION:

  • Take a wide mouthed kadai and add 2 spoons of ghee. Allow to heat.
  • Add the seasonings one by one – Cloves, Shahi Jeera, Jeera, Cashews, slit green chillies and curry leaves. Allow to saute for a few minutes and for the aromas to waft. This is important as at this point the spice of the chillies sink in to the oil.
  • Add the chopped capsicum pieces and mix in well with the seasonings. Add sufficient salt for the capsicum.
  • Keep the cooked rice spread out on a plate so it removes the starchiness from them.
  • In a few minutes the capsicum begins to sweat and reduce in size and quantity.
  • Add the cooked rice, salt for the rice, a pinch of your favourite garam masala and mix in well.
  • Now at this stage, add the chopped paneer and finish up the rice by adding a garnish of chopped cilantro.
  • This rice preparation is very simple and very flavourful as the main aroma comes from the seasonings and the chillies.
  • Serve with simple Onion Raita or Dal Makhani.

HINTS:

  • Peas can be added for more nutrition and taste.
  • Onions can be sauted too for added flavour.
Easy LunchBox Series. · Rice Varieties.

Express Lunch – Delicious Alu Methi Pulav.

Alu Methi Pulav
Alu Methi Pulav

The Green Blog Project had set me thinking on my own little contribution to taking  this world, in to little baby steps towards a greener tomorrow and a pesticide free tomorrow. I had planted little methi seeds in my own little patio garden in my apartment and I got lovely green tender methi leaves. I had been wanting to use those tiny leaves and this was my chance. I had some leftover rice from dinner and I decided to make Alu Methi Pulav as an express preparation for my husband`s lunch for the morrow.

All the ingredients would ber definitely available in your pantry at all times. The only two spices that are a must are Star Anise and ShahiJeera or Somph. These cant be substituted as they constitute the base flavour for the whole pulav, of course apart from the methi.

INGREDIENTS:

1 medium onion sliced long.

2 Potatoes chopped to fine pieces.

3-4 Star Anise.

Small piece of Cinnamon.

2 cloves.

1 tsp of Shahi Jeera or Somph.

1 Bay Leaf.

Turmeric

1/2 spoon Red Chilli Powder.

Garam Masala to taste.

Freshly chopped Methi seeds or 1 Tbsp of Kasuri Methi.

4-5 Cashews sliced in to halves.

Salt to taste.

Ghee for garnish.

PREPARATION:

  • Pop the chopped pieces of potatoes in to the microwave after sprinkling a little salt on them. Cook for 3 mins on HIGH. Set aside.
  • Take a wok or kadai and add 2 spoons of oil. Add the Star anise, shahijeera, cloves, cinnamon and cashew  and allow to saute for a couple of seconds. The jeera and the anise give out a very delectable aroma.
  • Now add the chopped onions and saute for a few minutes until the onions turn a little pinkish brown.
  • Now add the semi cooked potatoes, turmeric, red chilli powder, salt, garam masala and stir it all in quickly.
  • Allow a few more minutes for the spices to sink in to the potatoes.

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  • Now add the chopped fresh methi/ kasuri methi and stir in well.
  • After a few more minutes, add some chopped cilantro and mix well.
  • Now add the cooked rice , more salt as required and gently mix it taking care not to break the rice particles.
  • Finish off by dolloping a spoon of ghee.
  • Serve HOT with raitha. Excellent option for LUNCH along with Raitha or just plain curd.

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Rice Varieties.

Ready in a Jiffy Pulav – Lunch Box Options.

Ready in a Jiffy Pulav.
Ready in a Jiffy Pulav.

Planning lunches for my husband everyday is a task in itself. Although he is very non fussy, it becomes important to fix a lunch with servings of vegetables, protein, fruits etc, which needs to be easily prepared and filling, nutritious and tasty, interesting and non repetitive. This basic Pulav can be made even with left over rice, as long as its not cooked too mushy. Many times, when I have a lot of leftover rice from the morning, or basmati rice which is too much for a single serving, I put away a little in an air tight container to make my quick fix pulav with whatever vegetables I have in the pantry. The best thing about this is that, depending on the veggies, the taste of the pulav also varies, so It almost makes you feel its a different delicacy.

This morning, I had frozen peas, and some onions so this is what I used to make this rice dish.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup cooked Basmati Rice.

Frozen Peas.

1/2 of a Red Onion or one regular sized onion sliced long.

6-7 mint leaves chopped.

Chopped cilantro.

A pinch of ground cinnamon clove powder.

Seasoning:

Jeera/Shahjeera, Bay Leaf, Cashews, Star Anise.

PREPARATION:

  • If preparing rice for the pulav, cook the rice with a spoon of coconut milk and a bay leaf.
  • Take a kadai and add 2 spoons of ghee in it.  Add a bay leaf, star anise and shah jeera/ jeera and then the cashew.
  • In a couple of seconds add the cinnamon-clove powder and the sliced onions.
  • Saute them till the onions begin to sweat. Add the peas and salt and saute again.
  • Now add the chopped cilantro and the chopped mint leaves and mix well.
  • After a few more minutes switch off the gas and add the cooked rice and salt.
  • Mix well until the ghee/oil is coated on the rice.
  • Serve with Aloo Dum , Paneer Butter Masala or Cucumber Raitha.

HINT:

  • Substitute the same recipe to include cauliflower and peas, capsicum and carrots, carrot and peas, beans, carrots and peas etc.
  • You can add a pinch of garam masala but the cinnamon clove powder, and the chopped mint provide the aroma and flavour that`s needed.
  • In case the side is just raitha, you can add more garam masala. When the side is a heavy masala gravy like Aloo Dum etc, keep the rice simple.
  • For a wholesome lunch box, pack with a side of grapes/strawberries and a kosumbhari salad.


No Need of Onions!!! · Rice Varieties.

Corriander Rice Pulav with Vegetables.

Corriander Rice
Corriander Rice

Corriander has always been my all time favourite garnish. Now there are really two schools of thought on the subject of corriander garnish. My grandmother etc has always been on the opinion that a good dish prepared sumptously with ingredients in the right proportion, with devotion, can stand up for flavour and taste all by itself. It does not need a garnish of chopped corriander. I am of the opinion that even a simple dish can be elevated in taste and flavour by just a dash of a corriander sprig….Well…to each his own. TO think of a dish spiced completely with this aromatic leaf itself seemed to be a very welcoming thought…It was an inspiration from my earlier post Pudina Rice…I simlpy allowed my hands to pick up whatever It felt like and came up with this dish…

Today was a picnic at the Zoo, so it was a really tasty course with a side of Raitha and Chips. Do try it and hope you really like it.

INGREDIENTS:

A big bunch of Corriander Leaves.

5 Green Chillies.

1/3 cup of Dessicated Coconut.

1 inch piece of Ginger.

A handful of Cashew Halves.

2 cups of Basmati Rice cooked in 3 1/2 cups of water.

1/2 cup of Peas.

1/2 cup of chopped potatoes.

1/2 cup of finely chopped carrots.

1 cup of cauliflower floretts.

Salt.

PREPARATION:

  • Spread out the cooked Basmati Rice so it cools considerably before you mix in the vegetables.
  • Microwave all the vegetables except Peas, in the micro wave for 4 minutes.
  • In a mixer jar, place the cashews at the very base and then add chillies, ginger, 1 clove, corrainder and finally the coconut. We do this since corriander cannot stand up to pulsing in the mixer without water, we sandwich it between heavy ingredients.
  • Pulse without adding water and set aside.
  • In a wide mouthed kadai add 3 spoons of oil, 2 cloves, jeera, curry leaves and then add the half cooked veggies.
  • Add turmeric and salt for the veggies and allow to cook for some time.
  • Now add the ground paste and mix well and give it a couple more minutes to cook and the raw smell of the corriander to evaporate.
  • When the veggies and the paste have mixed in well add the rice little by little and mix it well taking care not to break the rice.
  • Add a dollop of ghee and serve HOT with onion and cucumber raitha.


Rice Varieties.

My 100`th Post – Bisi Bela Bath with Onion Tomato Raita and Veggie Crisps.

Delicious Steaming hot Bisibela Bath with ghee , raita and chips.
Delicious Steaming hot Bisibela Bath with ghee , raita and chips.

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Today I complete exactly 3 months of blogging….It`s pretty short I know , come to think of it, but to me it seems like I started aeons ago. It has been a pretty interesting journey of learning and experimenting and incidentally, my husband has really got settled down to the general idea that this is how its going to be, interesting meals and combinations cooked to perfection…and I let him be…He`s never going to guess, that there would never be re-runs…!!!

This weekend the weather was alarmingly nice to us, that we did not know how to celebrate. S was in a very nice mood and since we were all down with a bad cold, he suggested Bisi Bela Bath. What I do, is simply my mother`s version of ths kannadiga preparation. It`s so much close to the original only as it has rice and dal and tamarind water and veggies. I gently carve out the gazillion extra spices so the end result reminds of a very fragrant variety of sambar rice. It does not have the masalas loaded  with cinnamon, cloves or nutmeg.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup raw rice.

1 cup toor dhal.

4 1/2 cups of tamarind water extract.

1/2 cup of fresh dessicated coconut.

2 small or 1 big onion chopped. ( 1 cup of shallots or small onions preferred for enhanced taste)

4-5 drumstick pieces .

2 carrots sliced in to rounded coins.

1/2 cup of french cut beans or beans cut in to 1 inch slices.

Salt

Hing

Curry Leaves.

Mustard

Turmeric.

Ghee.

Fry in Oil:

3 spoons dhania.

1 1/2 spoons of urad dhal.

1/2 spoon venthayam

6-7 red chillies.

7-8 black pepper.

Small piece of cinnamon stick.

PREPARATION:

  • Wash the rice and the dhal together and cook with 6-7 cups of water. The ratio is 2 cups to 7 cups of water. After putting the weight in the pressure cooker, wait for three whistles and then switch off. We would require the consistency to be mushy and hence no electric rice cooker please. Get this working as the rest of the ingredients will be finished by the time the rice is cooked.
  • Grind the roasted ingredients to a powder and then add coconut and grind again with water to a very smooth paste.
  • In a large kadai, add 3 spoons of ghee and allow to melt. Add mustard, curry leaves and then the shallots/chopped onions. Allow to brown a bit and then add drumsticks, carrots, beans etc and immediately the prepared tamarind water extract.
  • Add salt, turmeric, hing and allow to boil well. The raw smell of the ingredients would be gone in about twenty minutes. This also enhances the flavour as  its slow cooked.
  • Now add the ground paste and allow to boil for 4-5 minutes.
  • Add the mushy rice+dal to this sambar gravy and mix well.
  • Allow the riced to become homogenous and add more salt for the rice.
  • Stir well and switch off when done.Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve steaming hot with a dollop of ghee , with a side of raita and veggie crisps or jalapeno chips!!!
Easy LunchBox Series. · Rice Varieties. · Travel

Amma`s Easy ‘N’ Colourful Vegetable Pulav.

Colourful Vegetable Rice.
Colourful Vegetable Rice.

This was the Vegetble Rice that my mum used to make on those special sundays for lunch. Sunday mornings would be normally filled with strict timelines as all of us would want to have our oil baths and water would some times be restricted to specified times in the summer. A filling lunch of Amma`s Vegetable Rice, with Raita would always be something to look forward to. She always adds beetroot, which renders a special reddish tinge to the whole dish. It is very simple and easy and pretty much can be made with any vegetable thats available on hand.

I would cut the veggies in to little cubes for her,and this would make the whole thing very easy. It`s a wholesome, easy, colourful and filling lunch and I always pack it for long drives and potlucks!!!!

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups of basmati rice cooked.

1 Medium Onion chopped in to little pieces.

1 cup of finely diced potatoes.

1 cup of cauliflower florets.

1 cup of finely chopped carrots.

1/2 cup of chopped beetroot.

1/2 cup of peas.

1/2 cup of beans.

A pinch of turmeric.

1 spoon of red chilli powder.

Garam Masala Powder to taste.

Salt

3 slices of bread. (Optional)

Chopped Corriander to garnish.

Jeera and Star Anise to season.

PREPARATION:

  • Keep the cooked basmati rice to cool so it does not get sticky with the starch.
  • Take a wide mouthed kadai and add 2 spoons of ghee/oil and allow to get hot. When done, add jeera, star anise and curry leaves and immediately add the chopped onions.
  • You could pre-cook the potatoes, carrots, beetroots and cauliflower in the microwave for 4 minutes to it saves cooking time on the stove.
  • When the onions are well cooked, add all the veggies.
  • Add salt, turmeric, red chilli powder and a little garam masala and mix well.
  • Keep the flame on medium and allow the veggies to get cooked well.
  • Cut the bread slices in to big squares and lightly fry them in a spoon of ghee. Set aside.
  • When the vegetables are cooked, add the basmati rice, salt, a little more garam masala and stir in well.
  • Finally add the fried bread pieces and mix it in and garnish with chopped corriander.
  • Serve Hot with mixed vegetable raitha.

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Easy LunchBox Series. · No Need of Onions!!! · Rice Varieties.

20 Minute Beans Rice.

Delicious 20 Minute Beans Rice.
Delicious 20 Minute Beans Rice.

Sounds wierd huh? I did too when my mami told me that she had learnt this from a friend. But I really loved it when I had it as it had a very offbeat taste completely different from the regular garam masala flavours of the biriyani, pulav and the like. It`s a rice entree that one can make on no-onion days with a side of tomato-cucumber raita and still feel like you have had a wholesome meal.  All it needs is a cup of cut beans to work its way to a winning dish. You could throw in peas, mushrooms,long bean or carrots but I primarily make it with beans.

INGREDIENTS:

A pound of  beans chopped.

A cup of peas. (optional)c

2 cups of basmati rice cooked and cooled.

1 spoon of broken urad dhal.

2 1/2  spoons of dhania

2 1/2  spoons of bengal gram.

3 Cloves.

4 red Chillies.

1 inch piece of cinnamon.

3/4  spoon of elaichi seeds.

Seasoning:

Oil, Bengal Gram, Cashews, Curry Leaves, Hing, jeera.

PREPARATION:

  • Keep the cooked rice spread out on a plate to cool. Sprinkle sufficient salt on the rice and keep ready.
  • In a pan, pour 2 spoons of oil and roast the elaichi, cinnamon,cloves,red chillies,dhania,urad dhal and bengal gram until the lentils turn to a dull brown . Cool and pulse in the mixer to get a coarse powder.
  • Microwave on HIGH for about 4 mins the chopped beans without adding any water. This would cut the cooking time on the stove to half.
  • Take a wide mouthed kadai and 2-3 spoons of oil, add the seasonings and the beans.
  • Sprinkle a pinch of turmeric,  and sufficient salt for the beans and cook for about 8-10 minutes.
  • Add the ground masala and mix it in for a couple minutes and then add the rice.
  • Mix it all in and garnish with squeezed lemon and dessicated coconut.
  • Serve HOT with cucumber raita.

NOTES:

  1. You could cook the rice with 3 spoons of coconut milk added to the water, for enhanced flavour and richness.
  2. If the rice tends to be a little dry overall, add a spoon of ghee at the very end.