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Tag Archives: rice recipes

Lucknowi (or Awadhi) style Kofta Pulao

While I was on holiday in India this year, I purchased a couple of cookbooks to add to my collection. And one of the books I bought was ‘Dastarkhwan – e – Awadh’ by Sangeeta Bhatnagar and R.K.Saxena.

A simple cookbook that celebrates the royal kitchens of Awadh with recipes dating back to that golden era!

Awadhi cuisine is not just famous, but one that’s held in reverence. The food that came out of the Awadh kitchens had a royal elegance, a restraint yet so rich and inviting that made it synonymous with royalty. Of course it was made for the Nawabs but today, this cuisine is still held in such high esteem for the techniques, attention to ingredients and complexity of flavours.

The authors, Dr Sangeeta Bhatnagar and R.K.Saxena are both culinary historians and their passion to document the food of Awadh resulted in this book. Drafted after much research and speaking to a wide range of people including Nawabs, Chefs and yesteryear royal cooks, this book is a true tribute to the cuisine of Awadh.

It’s a simple book in appearance; reminds me of the old textbooks we used to have in India. No highly styled photographs of the food, but plenty of visuals depicting the people from the region, ingredients, street food, and also dishes presented in a natural manner.

There’s a brief introduction to the royal era of Awadh (the present day Lucknow), a historical perspective to the cuisine followed by explanation of terms that’s commonly used in Awadh cuisine. For eg: there are unique techniques employed in cooking Awadh food and these are explained along with reference to ingredients and other procedures that are a must know to understand the cooking style and culinary culture.

Clearly this is a cookbook that I would be cooking a lot from, but for that first recipe, I zeroed in on this lipsmacking Kofta Pulao.

Lucknowi (or Awadhi) style Kofta Pulao - thespiceadventuress.com

Pulao is often considered to be second grade in comparison to a biryani. There’s a general attitude that a pulao is made when one does not want to indulge in the extravagance of a biryani. But that is so wrong and an Awadhi style pulao is a prime example of that.

Making a good pulao requires as much skill as a biryani. And it all starts with cooking the rice perfectly. Always made using aged long grain rice which must be fragrant, aromatic and each grain separate from the other yet cooked perfectly. The flavours are much less complex in a pulao when compared to a biryani; there are far fewer spices and aromatics and it is a subtle play of those few spices that make a pulao so delicious.

Just as the name suggests, this is a kofta pulao, literally translated as meatballs and rice.

Lucknowi (or Awadhi) style Kofta Pulao - thespiceadventuress.com

Lucknowi (or Awadhi) style Kofta Pulao

The meatballs are shaped small in this recipe, unlike the larger ones that we are accustomed to eating in pasta or as snacks. Though mutton would be used traditionally, I have used lamb mince to make koftas, which is flavoured with just cinnamon and cardamom.

Another important ingredient is ghee or clarified butter. In traditional Awadhi cooking, tempered ghee is used but here I have just used plain ghee to keep things simple. Oil can be used but would hardly provide any flavour, and ghee is way healthier anyway.

The rice and koftas are cooked separately and then layered; the cooking process is then finished using the dum technique. For those who aren’t aware, the dum technique is where all the ingredients are placed inside one pot and the edges sealed using dough. Slow charcoal heat is applied on top and also on bottom and the food is allowed to slow cook with minimal heat.

Now most of us would use a modern dum technique in our homes. You could either place all the ingredients in a casserole dish, seal using a foil and finish cooking at low heat in the oven. Or you could follow my technique – since I don’t like to use foil, I place a tea towel over the pot and then place the lid on top so that it’s really tight and no steam escapes. The pot is then placed on a flat tawa or directly on heat but at its lowest setting. Ensure that the edges of the towel hanging out is scrunched up; we don’t want to start a fire!!

Lucknowi (or Awadhi) style Kofta Pulao

So let’s get onto the recipe for this delicious Kofta Pulao;

Ingredients:

  1. 500gms aged basmati (long grained) rice; washed and soaked for atleast 1 hour
  2. 500gms lamb (or mutton) mince
  3. 1 inch ginger
  4. 5 medium garlic cloves
  5. 1 tsp red chilli powder
  6. 10gms roasted gram flour
  7. 1 inch cinnamon stick
  8. 3 whole green cardamom
  9. Salt, to season
  10. Ghee (clarified butter)
  11. 5 medium red onions
  12. 1 ½ tbsp rose water
  13. 1 pinch saffron
  14. 250 ml milk

Method:

  1. Grind the cinnamon and cardamom to a fine powder.
  2. Grind the garlic and ginger to a paste (add a few drops of water if necessary)
  3. Also grind 2 onions to a coarse paste and keep aside.
  4. Finely slice the remaining 3 onions; fry in ghee till golden brown, drain and keep aside.
  5. Into the mince, add half of the cinnamon-cardamom powder, roasted gram flour, 1 tbsp ghee and salt to season. Knead well to ensure that all the ingredients are mixed well and the mince has a fine consistency.
  6. Take small portions of the mince and roll into small balls (slightly larger than marbles). You will roughly get about 30 -35 balls. Heat ghee in a pan and fry the meatballs; keep aside. (Take care not to overcook or the meatballs taste dry)
  7. To cook the rice, heat 1 ½ litres water. Season with salt and add the remaining cardamom-cinnamon powder. Add the washed rice and parboil; drain and keep aside.
  8. In the same pan that the onions were fried (add more ghee only if necessary), add the onion and ginger garlic paste. Sauté on medium heat till the rawness disappears. Then add chilli powder and sauté till the ghee separates.
  9. Add the fried meatballs to this and add 1 cup (250 ml) water. Cook till most of the water has disappeared. Taste and season with salt if necessary.
  10. Meanwhile soak saffron in warm milk.
  11. To finally assemble the dish, place a large deep bottom vessel on low heat and add half of the cooked rice. Then layer with the cooked koftas/meatballs, add half of the rose water and saffron milk. Then add the remaining rice followed by the remaining rose water and saffron milk.
  12. Seal the edges (read description above for dum techniques) of the vessel and cook covered on low heat for about 20 minutes.
  13. Open just before serving and garnish with fried onions.
  14. Serve with a raita

Lucknowi (or Awadhi) style Kofta Pulao

 

 

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Asian style Chicken Fried Rice

First of all, a big apology for putting up this post so late. Many of you have been asking the recipe for this Chicken fried rice for a while now and I have been chirping away the phrase, ‘it will soon be on the blog’ to all.

It’s just that too many things have been going on, both personally and professionally. Sitting down to write out the recipe has taken me the longest time. But today I was determined to get the post published so that all of you can try out this absolutely lipsmacking Chicken fried rice.

On the personal front, most of you would be aware of the Kerala flood situation and the trail of destruction and devastation it has left behind. While my own family was affected less, there have been members of the extended family and friends, many of whom had to be evacuated and put up in shelter homes and many others who have lost everything they have including homes, businesses, properties, agricultural land etc….

It’s a difficult time that everyone’s going through back home. Almost the whole of last week was spent in just trying to communicate with family and in many instances, it took us almost 4-5 days just to establish communication with our loved ones. Work was the last thing on my mind so except for some client projects, I hardly updated the blog.

Getting back to today’s dish, this Chicken fried rice is one of the best I have ever made. It’s totally different to the Indo Chinese style or the typical Chinese style that I often make at home. Adapted from a Marion Grasby recipe, this is more of a modern Thai style chicken fried rice.

It’s quite simple to put together but the flavours are incredible and I loved the fact that turmeric is a key ingredient which adds so much depth and flavour to the rice. Another key ingredient is belachan or shrimp paste, adds that umami hit which really comes through in the final dish.

I usually have a menu plan ready by the end of each week for the following one, so whenever there’s fried rice on the menu, I try and prepare the rice a day ago as the texture of one day old rice works best. But don’t fret about it if you can’t find the time; just make sure you prepare the rice first, drain and spread out to cool before going ahead with the remaining dish.

This chicken fried rice is all about the toppings and condiments too. Fried eggs, fresh coriander, cucumbers, fried shallots, sambal oelek all create this wonderful texture and layers of flavour to the final dish. Requires no other side dish to go along, but you can indulge yourself by adding a stir fry to accompany.

So let’s get cooking this Thai inspired chicken fried rice; and if you make it do tag me #thespiceadventuress in your social media posts so that I can see it too. Or leave a comment below; I love hearing from all of you.

Asian style Chicken Fried Rice - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 5 cups cooked medium grained rice
  2. 4 eggs
  3. Vegetable oil; (for frying the eggs and making the rice)
  4. 500 gms chicken thigh (skinless & boneless); thinly sliced
  5. 1 large brown onion; finely sliced
  6. 3 garlic cloves; finely chopped
  7. 1 long red chilli; finely sliced
  8. ½ tsp turmeric powder
  9. 1 ½ tsp shrimp paste
  10. 3 baby bok choy; slice the light green part and tear the leaves coarsely
  11. 3 tbsp soy sauce
  12. 2 tsp kecap manis (sweet soy)
  13. Salt, to season
  14. Fried shallots
  15. 4-5 sprigs fresh coriander leaves
  16. Sambal oelek, to serve
  17. Lebanese cucumber; to serve

Method:

  1. Heat 1/3 cup vegetable oil in a large wok till smoking hot. Add the chicken pieces and season lightly with salt. Cook till the chicken is just about done; remove and keep aside.
  2. In the same wok (add more oil only if necessary), add the onions, garlic, chillies and sauté on medium heat till the onions are softened.
  3. Lower heat and add the shrimp paste and turmeric. Break down the shrimp paste using the back of the ladle and mix well to combine. Cook for about 1 minute till it gets aromatic.
  4. Next add the cooked chicken pieces along with the light green stalks of the bok choy; toss and stir fry for 30 seconds.
  5. Add the cooked rice, soy sauce and kecap manis. Toss well to combine and finally add the bok choy leaves. Mix well and stir fry for about a minute.
  6. Once the rice is done, fry the eggs to your individual preferences.
  7. To serve, place the fried rice in a bow and top with fried egg, cucumbers, coriander, sambal oelek, shallots and kecap manis.
  8. Tuck in!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Burnt Garlic and Ancho Chili Rice

I first met Liz at the Melbourne bloggers meet which took place a couple of months ago. We had interacted a couple of times on social media and through my blog and I came to know that Liz is an entrepreneur and runs ‘The Spice People’.

The very mention of the name excited me – that’s the effect the word ‘spice’ has on me these days. And to top it all, Liz is an Aussie who runs a spice company and is as obsessive about spices as me. Two peas in a pod!

We could talk for hours and we did too! Liz is primarily an entrepreneur turned blogger and I am a blogger and wannabe entrepreneur. And with our common passion for spices, the chats were endless.

Liz developed a love for spices after extensively travelling around the world after marriage. Settling down back in Melbourne, she decided to take her love for spices a step forward and opened the retail venture, The Spice People. You need to drop by her site just to catch a glimpse of the variety of spices she stocks. And you can find her spices and blends stocked at several retailers across Australia too.

Quite generously, Liz bought along a variety of her spices and blends for me to try out especially ones I have never used before. And very thoughtfully, she had included a pack of ancho chilies because I had mentioned that I hardly find good quality ones in the nearby supermarkets.

The first thing I did on opening the pack of ancho chilies is take a smell. Oh! the smokey fiery earthy smell of these dry beauties – its seriously addictive guys.

Ancho chili is the dried version of Poblano pepper and both are extensively used in Mexican cooking. It is mild to medium-hot and tastes sweet and smokey at the same time. Anchos can be used in different ways, softened in water and used whole, powdered to be a part of spice rubs or softened and pureed to add to sauces and stews.

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Though I have plenty of recipes noted down using ancho chilies, I wanted to try something simple and yet unique with these. And that’s how the idea for this dish came into my mind.

Burnt garlic rice is a popular Asian rice preparation. Though I had never made it before, I have had it plenty of times in Asian restaurants. An extremely simple rich dish with an indulging flavour of burnt garlic, this dish goes well with Asian style stir-fries. But I would totally recommend this burnt garlic and ancho chili rice with this Schezuan chicken dish.

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In this recipe, I added sliced ancho chilies to the garlic and gently sautéed both in oil which imparted a beautiful flavour to the final dish. With every spoonful of rice, you could experience the smokey aromatic flavours from the burnt garlic interspersed with the sweetness from the anchos.

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Ingredients:

1. 2 cups medium-grained white rice; washed and soaked
2. 7 large garlic cloves, sliced finely
3. ½ ancho chili, broken into small pieces or sliced
4. Salt, to season
5. 3 tbsp vegetable oil
6. Roasted garlic flakes, to garnish

Method:

1. Cook the rice in salted boiling water till just done, drain and keep aside.
2. In a wok, heat the oil and add the garlic. Saute on low heat to release the flavours; the browning should be slow so that all the flavour from the garlic is imparted. (on high heat, the garlic browns quickly without imparting much flavour).
3. When the garlic is half done, add the ancho chilies and sauté on low heat till the garlic has browned well.
4. Then add the cooked rice and mix thoroughly to combine. Season with salt if necessary.
5. Garnish with roasted garlic flakes.
6. Serve hot.

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South Indian Curry Leaf Rice (Karu vepillai Sadam)

Curry leaves have always been an integral part of Indian cuisine, especially in the cuisines of Southern India. Though the world is slowly waking up to the benefits of this herb, it still remains underutilized and practically unknown in many other parts of the world.

Highly aromatic, curry leaves are also referred to as ‘sweet neem leaves’ as these are not bitter unlike the ordinary neem leaves. It is a much valued medicinal herb in Ayurveda and is believed to have anti-diabetic and cholesterol-lowering properties.

Since curry leaves do not stay fresh for a long time in the refrigerator, many people tend to use it in the dried and powdered form but these are less aromatic than the fresh leaves. In Indian and Sri Lankan cuisine, these leaves are usually added to hot oil to release the oils and impart flavour to the dish.

Curry leaves - thespiceadventuress.com

Now I am a huge fan of curry leaves, not just because it is such an inherent part of Indian cooking but also because I like the flavour these leaves impart to the whole dish. In the past few months I have been playing around with these leaves in my kitchen trying to use it in different ways especially in my style of fusion cooking. While I was researching on the Web and learning more about curry leaves, I came across this traditional rice dish which is quite popular in a few South Indian states. Now there cannot be a better way to showcase the flavour of these leaves than this dish and I couldn’t resist trying out the recipe myself.

South Indian curry leaf rice or Karu vepillai sadam (as it is traditionally known) – pungent, aromatic and mildly spiced from the roasted curry leaves, red chillies, peppercorns, fenugreek, coriander and asafoetida.

South Indian curry leaf rice - thespiceadventuress.com

I came across this recipe here.

Ingredients:

1. 4 cups white rice; washed and soaked
2. ½ tsp mustard seeds
3. ½ tsp urad dal (vigna mungo/dehusked black gram)
4. ½ tsp chana dal (split bengal gram)
5. ½ tsp cumin/jeera seeds
6. 2 red whole dry chillies for tempering
7. ½ tsp turmeric powder
8. Cashew nuts roasted for garnishing/peanuts also may be added
9. Salt to taste
10. 2 tbsp sesame oil ( this oil makes a great difference to the taste )
11. 1 tbsp vegetable oil

For the curry leaf spice blend:

12. 1 ½ cups washed curry leaves firmly packed
13. 8 whole dry red chillies
14. 1 tsp pepper corns
15. 1 tsp coriander seeds
16. 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
17. Tamarind , size of a small marble
18. Asafoetida/hing powder

Method:

1. Cook the rice in salted water till just done, drain and keep aside. It’s important not to get the rice mushy or overcooked.
2. Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil and roast the curry leaves till dry and lightly crisped up; remember to do this on low heat or the leaves will burn.
3. Cool the leaves and grind with the rest of the ingredients under spice blend. It might get a little pasty due to the tamarind; just add a few drops of water which will help bring all the ingredients together.
4. In a wok or large pan, heat sesame oil, crackle the mustard seeds and then add the lentils, dry red chilli, cumin, cashewnuts and turmeric. Add the ground curry leaf spice blend and mix well for a minute. (If you prefer less heat, add only half of the curry leaf spice mixture).
5. Add the cooled rice and stir through till well mixed.
6. Serve hot with raita/yoghurt dip.

South Indian curry leaf rice - thespiceadventuress.com

Iftar with Roz ma mucasarat (Arabian Rice with Nuts and Saffron)

Before I start off about this delicious, fragrant rice dish, I have a serious bit of news for all my readers. Due to copyright and legal issues, I am forced to change the name of my blog. It has been an emotional past one week ever since it was bought to my notice that my blog name resembles a company which has trademarked the term ‘skinny chef’. And so, I am left with no choice but go for a complete name change.

After a lot of brainstorming, I have shortlisted a couple of names and will soon be deciding on one. But this is going to be really difficult; it is almost as if I am having an identity crisis wondering if it is going to affect all the hard work I have put in the last one year. But then I think – my readers are here for the food, the recipes; not because of my blog’s name. And this thought gives me a lot of confidence to go ahead with this task. Please do let me know all of your thoughts on this; every opinion would count and mean a lot to me.

So, don’t be surprised to see a new blog name popping on your screen soon; it’s still me!

Ok, let’s talk of happy things now like today’s dish – Arabian rice with nuts and saffron.

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A rich, decadent rice dish but an extremely simple one to make which makes it a beautiful way to break your Ramadan fast (if you are following it) and embrace Iftar. Roz ma mucasarat is a traditional Arabian rice dish which dates back several centuries as nuts were used in cooking long before agriculture cultivation took off. This is a rice dish that is usually prepared during celebrations, special days and weddings but I could eat it just about every day.

You can use just one type of nut but the indulgence of this dish comes from using a medley of nuts like I did. A pinch of saffron ties in the flavours adding a hint of sweetness to lift off the nutty flavours. A truly beautiful rice preparation which goes well with just about anything – be it a well spiced curry, roasted meats or all by itself.

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Recipe courtesy – Traditional Arabic Cooking – Miriam Al Hashimi

And here, you can read a review of this cookbook.

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Ingredients:

1. Rice – 2 cups
2. Almonds – ¼ cup
3. Cashewnuts – ¼ cup
4. Walnuts – ¼ cup
5. Pine nuts – ¼ cup
6. Pistachios – ¼ cup
7. Saffron – a pinch dissolved in warm milk
8. Salt – to season
9. Ghee – 2 tbsp
10. Vegetable oil – 1 tbsp.

Method:

Since there are many who seem to struggle with cooking rice perfectly, here’s how I do it;
1. Wash the rice 3-4 times with plenty of water. Soak the rice for at least 30 minutes prior to cooking. For 2 cups rice, boil 6 cups of water, season with salt and add the rice. Cook on high heat till the rice is 3/4ths done. (Add more water if you need to as some types of grains absorb more water than others). Switch off flame and keep covered for 5 minutes. Drain into a colander and keep aside for non-sticky, fluffy rice.
2. While the rice is cooking, blanch the almonds and pistachios to remove the skin easily. (Blanching the pistachios in salted water helps to retain the green colour of the nut). Chop all the nuts roughly.
3. Once the rice has drained well, heat oil and ghee in a pan and add all the nuts in together. Saute on low to medium heat for 2-3 minutes taking care not to burn the nuts.
4. Add the saffron soaked in milk and cook for another minutes. Add the rice and mix well to combine. Since the rice is cooked with salt, you wouldn’t really need extra salt, but do taste and season more if required.
5. Serve hot with accompaniment of choice.

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Cajun Rice (with Purple Asparagus and Mushrooms)

After coming to Melbourne, my culinary world has opened up to so many new ingredients – some of which I did not even know existed in this world. And one among those is the purple asparagus! I have had green asparagus before and have always enjoyed the crunchy texture of these stalks. So when I came across these purple ones at the local farmer’s market, I knew I had to try and make something interesting with it.

I have always had asparagus as an accompaniment, roasted or blanched, with meats. I went ahead and did a rice dish, chopping these beautiful asparagus along with some brown mushrooms and seasoned with hot Cajun seasoning. The result – a pilaf, pulao or fried rice; name it what you want.

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This one is a simple and easy to make rice dish, perfect for weekday dinners. Add a cucumber raita/yoghurt dip and you are good to go!

Now, let’s get cooking….

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Ingredients:

1. Long-grained rice – 2 cups, soaked and drained
2. White onion – 1 large, chopped
3. Purple asparagus (remove the bottom ends) – 4 stalks, chopped
4. Brown mushrooms – 4 large, chopped
5. Garlic – 2 cloves, chopped finely
6. Coriander leaves – ½ cup, finely chopped
7. Cajun seasoning – 2 tsp (add more to suit your taste preferences)
8. Salt – to season
9. Black pepper – to season
10. Vegetable oil – 3 tbsp.

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Method:

• Cook the rice in salted boiling water, drain well and keep aside.
• Heat oil in a pan, add garlic and onions; sauté for a minute.
• Then add the mushrooms and asparagus and sauté for another 2 minutes on high heat.
• Lower heat and season with Cajun seasoning, salt and pepper. Remember that the rice has been cooked in salted water so add salt accordingly.
• Add coriander leaves and stir well.
• Add the rice and mix well to combine.
• Serve with chilled cucumber raita/yoghurt dip.

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What is your favourite rice dish?

Bagara Rice

The first time I heard of Bagara rice was on Kannur food guide (https://www.facebook.com/groups/KannurFood/) where a dear friend had made the same and posted. In the discussions that followed, I learnt that this is a traditional Hyderabadi rice dish that is quite famous in the region. I decided that I had to learn more, so did a little bit of Google digging and found a wonderful website (http://chowdersingh.com/recipe/bagara-khana-recipe/) which not only explained the history of the dish but also the original recipe.

This rice dish gets its name from the term ‘Bagar dena’ which means addition of tempering. And this is an age old Muslim cooking style that is not restricted to Hyderabad alone. So in short, Bagara rice loosely translates as tempered rice which is exactly what it is.

Bagara rice is common fare in most Hyderabadi households. In fact, it is considered as an alternative to biriyani for eating everyday as it is less complicated and does not contain meat.

I loved this dish because it is simple and easy to make but extremely flavourful and goes well with just about any type of curry, veg or non-veg.

So here’s the recipe for Bagara rice…..

bagaara rice

Ingredients:

1. Basmati/long grained rice – 600 gm; washed, soaked and drained
2. Vegetable oil – 60 ml
3. Ghee – 15 gm
4. Onion – 1 medium, finely sliced
5. Green chilli – 1, chopped
6. Cinnamon – 1 inch stick
7. Green cardamom – 3
8. Cloves – 3
9. Shahi jeera/caraway seeds – 1 tsp
10. Ginger-garlic paste – 1 ½ tbsp
11. Mint leaves – ½ cup
12. Coriander leaves – 1 cup
13. Salt – to season

Method:

• Heat oil and ghee in a deep pot. Add the whole spices and cook on low heat for a minute.

spices in oil

• Add the sliced onions, ginger-garlic paste and green chillies; sauté till the onions turn golden brown.
• Add the mint and coriander leaves and sauté for another 30 seconds.

onion, garlic, ginger, mint, coriander

• Add the drained rice and cook for 2 minutes. Do not stir too much as this will break the rice.

rice added

• Add enough water to cook the rice; season with salt.

water added

• Cook till done and serve hot. Garnish with fried onions and coriander leaves.

close up

Being a true Hyderabadi preparation, I decided to send this to the South Indian cooking event being hosted by 2 wonderful food bloggers, http://nandooskitchen.blogspot.in/2014/01/south-indian-cooking-event.html and http://anuzhealthykitchen.blogspot.com.au/

southindiancooking1_png

Manga Saadam / Raw Mango Rice / Mamidikaya Annam

Having lived almost a decade in Tamil Nadu, I thought I had tasted almost all different types of variety rice preparations. But this recipe caught me totally by surprise, and I eventually learnt that this is a very traditional preparation of Andhra Pradesh with a good fan following in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

I got this recipe for manga saadam /raw mango rice from a famous cookbook, ‘Cooking at Home with Pedatha’ which is considered to be a treasure-trove of traditional Andhra cuisine.

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Raw mangoes have always been a favourite of mine (if given a choice, I will always reach for a raw mango instead of a ripe one). There are plenty of memories associated with this green, tangy, sour fruit – holiday trips to Kerala where my cousins would climb trees and pluck the raw mangoes, split it open by throwing it forcefully on the ground, gather the pieces, hurriedly wipe it on the clothes and then teach me how to eat it with a spicy mixture of red chilli powder, salt and oil.

So naturally, I was quite excited to try out this recipe. Just another way to reinforce my love for raw mangoes.
So let us get cooking…..mango saadam or raw mango rice!

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Ingredients:

1. Long-grained rice – 1 cup
2. Sour raw mango – 1
3. Salt – to taste
4. Coconut mixture (to grind):
• Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
• Scraped fresh coconut – ½ cup
• Green chilli – 1
• Fresh coriander leaves – 1 tbsp
5. For tempering:
• Chana dal – 1 tsp
• Urad dal – 1 tsp
• Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
• Dried red chilli – 1-2
• Asafoetida powder (hing) – ¼ tsp
• Curry leaves – a handful
• Ground nuts – 1 tbsp
• Oil – 1 tbsp.

Method:

1. Wash the rice and cook it until soft but not mushy. Spread on a big plate to cool.
2. Wash, peel and grate the mango.
3. Grind all the ingredients under 4. to a coarse paste.
4. Heat a kadai with oil, crackle the mustard seeds, add the channa dal, urad dal, groundnuts and fry until the dals turn golden.
5. Next add the dry red chilli, and finally add the hing and curry leaves.
6. Add the grated mango and a pinch of turmeric powder. Saute for about 2 to 3 minutes on medium flame.
7. Next add the ground paste and fry for a minute.
8. Finally add the cooked rice and salt. Mix well and remove from heat.

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Broccoli Mushroom Rice

I consider ‘leftover rice’ to be a boon as it means I can dish out a simple yet interesting rice dish the next day, team it up with a raita and dinner’s ready. Strictly for days when you are too tired to even think of cooking yet do not want another take-away.

This one is more like a rice stir-fry; broccoli florets and brown mushrooms sautéed on high heat with a dash of soy sauce. The choice of vegetables is entirely individualistic; use the idea and create your own rice stir-fry with what’s available in your refrigerator.

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Ingredients:

1. Rice (any variety; I used leftover rice but you could make it from scratch) – 2 cups
2. Broccoli florets – 1 cup, blanched/steamed
3. Brown mushrooms – 1 cup, diced
4. Soy sauce – 1 tbsp
5. Tomato chilli sauce – 1 tsp
6. Ginger – 1 tsp, grated
7. Salt – to season
8. Pepper – to season
9. Vegetable oil – 2 tbsp.

Method:

• In a wok, heat oil and sauté the mushrooms for a minute on high heat.
• Add broccoli, grated ginger, soy sauce and tomato chilli sauce and sauté for another minute.
• Season with salt and pepper; add rice and mix thoroughly to combine.
• Serve hot.

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And since this is a recipe using leftovers, I decided to enter it for the leftover makeover contest being hosted on Cutchi Kitchen (http://www.cutchikitchen.com/LeftOverMakeOverGiveAway.html)

98451eb298fcaf3cc8736b105bf9c85f_3fny_in76

Chickpea (Chana) Biriyani

The first time my mum made this biriyani, I was a little skeptical as to how it would turn out (blame it on my lack of culinary skills at that point). But years later, when I became interested in cooking, this was one of the first recipes I learnt from her. Simply because, it is helluva easy.

A one pot meal or a pressure cooker hack (as Mr.RK at unitedfoodguide.in named it), this is such an easy recipe that anyone can replicate. Perfect when you have vegetarian guests over; team it up with a raita of choice and some pickles and you have a wonderful meal ready in less than 30 minutes.

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Ingredients:

1. Chickpeas – 1 cup (soak in hot water for at least 1-2 hours)
2. Basmati/long grained rice (you can use regular rice too) – 2 cups
3. Ghee – 2 tbsp
4. Vegetable oil – 2 tbsp
5. Clove – 3
6. Bay leaf – 1
7. Cinnamon – ½ inch bark
8. Cardamom – 4
9. Red onion – 2 medium, finely sliced
10. Green chilli – 2-3 (depends on the heat of the chilli)
11. Ripe red tomato – 2, deseeded, finely sliced
12. Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
13. Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
14. Salt – to season
15. Coriander leaves – ½ cup, finely chopped

Method:

Soak and wash the rice, drain and keep aside. Heat ghee and oil in a pressure cooker and add the whole spices (5-8). Add sliced onions after 30 seconds and sauté till the onions turn light brown. Add the slit green chillies.

Add tomatoes, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and sauté for 2 minutes on low flame. Also add coriander leaves.

Add rice and fry on low flame for 2-3 minutes.

Add the chickpeas (chana) and mix thoroughly to combine. Add 3 cups water (if using regular rice, ratio of rice to water is 2:4), season with salt and mix well; close the lid and cook for just one whistle.

Cool and open for hot, yummy biriyani. Serve with raita of choice.

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Note – You can cook this dish in any deep-bottomed pan. After adding all the ingredients, close the lid and cook on medium heat till all the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked well.

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