Posted in Recipes, Uncategorized

Vegetable Pulao and Raita

 

Rice is a staple of India, especially in the south. It is very versatile. Plain cooked rice has no flavour and takes the flavours of the curries you add to it. In the south, there are variations of gravies like sambar, rasam, vathakuzhambu, molagootal etc. Some of them are flavoured with tamarind to give a spicy and sour mouthwatering dish with lentils and vegetables. Added to plain cooked rice, you have a complete meal. Rice tastes different when flavoured with lemon, mango(recipe in previous posts), coconut or curds (yoghurt). A meal is ended with a bowl of refreshing curd rice which clears your palate and cools your system (other rice recipes in following blog posts)

Biryani comes in different forms. Every city in the country has a version of biryani. The Persian / afghani influenced pilau using basmati rice to the fiery spicy Andhra biryani to the more local Dindigul and  Donne biryani using short grained rice. They all are different but they all are scrumptious. Just writing this is making my mouth water and longing for a plate of biryani.

Vegetarian Pulao and Raita

This recipe is long overdue and written especially for Lisa Wilson.

Ingredients:

1 cup Basmati rice

1cup vegetables (carrot, beans, potato, cauliflower, mushrooms, peas, capsicum) – at least two of them – cut into pieces onion – 2 thinly sliced

1 tomato – chopped

6 cloves garlic – minced

2 inches ginger – minced

2 tbsp mint leaves 

2 tbsp coriander leaves (cilantro)

2 bay leaf

4cloves

1 stick cinnamon

2 cardamom whole 

1 tsp chilli powder – (can increase if you want it spicier)

1 tsp cumin powder

2 tsp coriander powder

1/2 tsp nutmeg powder

1 tsp garam masala

3 tbsp oil

2 cups water or stock

salt to taste

1 tbsp cashew nuts or almonds  – fried in a tsp of oil or ghee

(I sometimes cheat and use biryani masala powder which substitutes all the dry powders. If using use 3 tsp) – available in Indian stores)

Also use you can substitute vegetables and use a protein like chicken, shrimp or lamb. if using meat, marinate in a tbsp of yoghurt and half the spice powder for an hour or two to increase the flavours. This is optional.

Method

Soak basmati rice in water for 1/2 hour and then strain and keep aside.

Heat oil in a broad heavy pan. Add dry spices (bay leaf, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves) and fry for a few seconds. Add sliced onions, garlic and ginger and stir fry till golden brown. Now add the tomatoes and continue to fry till well cooked. Now add vegetables and stir fry till they are about half cooked.

Add chopped coriander and mint, if using. Add the spices and stir-fry for a minute or two. Add salt.

Add drained rice and stir fry till the rice is well coated with the spices. (At this point, you can transfer vegetable and rice mixture into an electric rice cooker.)

Then add boiling water or stock to the pan, cover and let cook on low flame. When rice is cooked, sprinkle fried nuts and serve hot with raita.

Raita

Ingredients

1 onion chopped (If you like raw onions, you can add more, else less. I am not a big fan of raw onions, so I add very little or not)

1 tomato chopped

1 cucumber chopped finely or grated

1 tsp coriander leaves (cilantro)

1 green chilli chopped optional

1/2 tsp cumin powder (optional)

1 cup yoghurt

salt to taste

Method

Mix all of the above and sprinkle cumin powder and serve.

Raita can be served with any rice or rotis as an accompaniment.

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Posted in Recipes, Uncategorized

Maavinkai Chitranna (Raw Mango Rice)

 

Gift Guide

This week we celebrated Ugadi, the New Year day celebrated in Karnataka and some other parts of India. Yugadi or Ugadi means New Beginnings. It is the first day after the first new moon. It is the day after the March equinox. The festival, like many other festivals in India, is celebrated with wearing new clothes. They also start the day by eating a mixture of neem leaves (which is very bitter) and jaggery (unrefined cane sugar). This signifies that in life we have both sweet and bitter experiences. As a kid, I always ate more jaggery than neem, saying that I would life to be sweet always. J All festivals in India are always celebrated with good food. Each festival has its own special food. On Ugadi, you eat holige or obbattu (my kids call it a sweet chapati, usually filled with dal or coconut) and Maavinkai Chitranna (Raw Mango rice). This is also the time when we find a lot of raw mangoes in the market.

Ingredients:

3 cups cooked rice

1 raw mango, grated

2 tbsp grated coconut (optional)

¼ cup peanuts

1-2 green chillies chopped

1 tsp mustard

½ tsp turmeric

1 tsp urad dal

a pinch of asafoetida

salt to taste

6 curry leaves

2 tbsp chopped cilantro

Directions:

Cook rice and keep aside to cool. Leftover rice works well too.

In a pan, heat oil. Add asafoetida, mustard and urad dal.

When mustards splutter, add curry leaves, turmeric and peanuts and fry till peanuts for a minute. Keep mixing to avoid the peanuts to burn.

Add chillies, coconut and the mango and fry for a few minutes. Add rice and salt. Mix well and cook till rice is heated through. Garnish with cilantro and serve with raita, coconut chutney, papad or potato chips.

Note:  A more common chitranna is made with lemon. Replace mango with the juice of one lemon. For lemon chitranna or lemon rice, add one chopped onion and a tsp of chopped ginger when you add the chillies to fry. Add lemon juice just before you add the rice and mix. This is a great dish for Easter with its vibrant yellow colour.

 

 

 

 

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Akki (Rice) Roti

akki-roti

In school, we have been talking about Karnataka and the cuisine of Karnataka. In honour of my state, I am posting a recipe for akki (rice) roti. This is usually eaten for breakfast but I made it for dinner. It is quite simple to make and makes for a quick dinner. Most of the ingredients are usually in the pantry.

Makes six rotis. This can be made in 30 minutes.

Ingredients: 

rice flour 1 1/2 cups

chopped onions (1 cup)

chopped green chillies (1 tbsp) – increase or decrease depending on how spicy you would like

chopped cilantro (coriander leaves) – 2 tbsp

grated carrot – 2 tbsp

2 tbsp grated coconut (optional)

salt to taste

water (around 1 cup)

vegetable oil

parchment paper or plastic sheet

Directions:

Place all ingredients except water in a bowl.

Add water, little by little and knead to form a soft dough. Make balls.

On a parchment paper, add a tsp of oil, press gently with moist fingers to form a round roti

To a skillet, add a tsp of oil and gently place the roti on the skillet. (Be careful so that oil does not splatter on you). Make sure skillet in on medium.

After a minute, carefully flip the roti and cook on the other side. (Sometimes it may break up, but it still tastes good)

Serve with coconut chutney or tomato chutney. Goes well with a bowl of yoghurt too.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

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Newton’s first law of motion

Newton’s first law of motion states that an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. The definition of inertia is that inertia is the resistance of any physical object to any change in its state of motion.

If you apply it to life, most often, people are very happy to stay within their comfort zone, doing what they usually do. I am one of them. I am very happy doing the things I do, staying in the same city, doing the things I like. I am not lazy and work very hard in whatever I am doing. So in terms of Newton’s law, I continue in the same direction unless acted upon by an external force.

Thankfully, I have had many external forces in my life which have made me do things I usually would not. One of them is moving across continents. I was never happy with the move at first but eventually have enjoyed my life there. I have four continents to go! I would not change anything if I had a chance to.

This year, I have a new external force, the MA course which expects me to learn again; blogging, writing essays, doing online courses, learning about philosophy of thinking. I suppose once you get out of your comfort zone, you start trying out new things which is good!!

In my next blog, I will write about what I started a couple of months ago.

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A cup of tea …

“A cup of tea would restore my normality.” [Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy]
― Douglas Adams

Every evening, I sit with a cup of tea. It is my time of solitude. It is my time…

My kids, even when they were very little, knew that when mom was sitting with her tea, they should give her space. I even have a cup which says ‘I need my space’. Different people relax differently. I have friends who run or swim. I need my tea and space. I work as a teacher and love my job. But after a long day…

I suppose, this is the time I also think. I reflect on the day that went by, on what I have to do for the rest of the day. So here I am writing this, drinking my cup of tea.

So yes, a cup of tea does restore my normality and lets me function the rest of the day. This time is like a timeout, a time to recharge. IMG_20160513_160851_HDR_1463135968578

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We make the road by Walking

“We make the road by walking”- Myles Horton and Paulo Freire

I have been meaning to start a blog for a long time. But, there was always the apprehensions of what to write. I always wondered that there may be too many blogs anyway. So, why would people read mine.

As part of a course I am doing, and as part of an assignment I have to write  a blog.   “We make the road by walking”- so this is my attempt at walking the (blog) road. This will be a blog of many things, ‘Conversations’- my love for food and baking, my teaching practices, my assignments and my thoughts.Cloud 3