Posted in Biryanis, Pilafs and Rice based Dishes, Recipes

Jeera Rice – the perfect accompaniment!

So, the last time I went on and on about Daal Tadka and how comforting it is. But part of the allure of this wonderful combo comes from the perfect rice. While normally I make the regular steamed rice for the weeknights, sometimes though, when I want to a special touch to the meal, I make Jeera Rice as the accompaniments to the curries and daals.

Jeera rice is the plain steamed rice that is tempered with ghee ( clarified butter ) and cumin seeds. While Ghee is what is traditionally used for richness, if you are comfortable with dairy products or are vegan, feel free to use any neutral flavored oil, like olive oil, or sunflower seed oil, or canola oil. The taste will vary in a very subtle way, often not even perceptible. I add some finely coriander leaves to this because I love the aroma that this herb imparts. And it is such a simple recipe that you would be tempted to make it often. Without much ado, I will get down to the recipe.

Bye bye dull taste buds with some Dal Tadka, Jeera Rice and Tomato Onion Salad. This is a bit of a #latergram but a girl can day dream a bit no? 😉 I never order Daal Tadka when dining out and stick to Daal Fry because the restaurants are notorious for serving you a bowl of daal which looks like the scene of an oil spill from a gigantic oil carrying ship. I like the tadka but in moderation. Also, I have to admit, I like the Jeera Rice to have some freshly chopped coriander. It's not much, but in my opinion the fragrance of coriander leaves changes the whole game. It might be the norm in some families, but I got introduced to the coriander leaves wala version quite later in my life. How do you like yours? 😀 Recipe for Daal Tadka: I make this with either 100% Toor Daal or an equal mix of Toor Daal and Moong Daal. Pressure cook the daal as usual. Mash it well and set it aside. In a pan, heat about 2 tbsp of ghee/oil (ghee brings a richer flavour, I feel) and add 1 small onion that is finely chopped. Add a pinch of salt and cook it on a medium flame till it is soft and translucent. Then, add 1 tsp red chilli powder ( I use a mild one , the Kashmiri chillies, adjust as per your routine proportions ), 1/4th tsp of turmeric powder and 1/4th tsp of cumin coriander powder. mix and fry for a minute. Add 1 medium sized tomato that has been finely chopped ( optional , you may just drizzle a little lemon juice in the end instead of a tomato) and cook till it is soft and mushy. Add the daal and bring it to a boil. After the first boil, turn the heat off. Add finely chopped coriander leaves and mix well. When you are ready to serve, warm the daal gently, not boiling, just warm. In a small tempering pan, heat 1 to 1.5 tsp of ghee/oil, and once it is hot, add the cumin seeds. Once they crackle, turn the flame off. Add the curry leaves, a pinch of hing and after the oil has cooled a bit, some chilli powder. Pour this tempering over the daal and serve. : ) #nammabengalurufoodie #foodtalkbangalore #foodtalkindia #bagalorefoodies

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Posted in Biryanis, Pilafs and Rice based Dishes, Recipes

Mujaddara – A classic, Middle Eastern lentil and rice bowl!

Some days I want to curl up with a bowl of rice and lentils without really caring about the whole carbs are bad, carbs are not bad debates. And the best part is, the grannies from the whole wide world endorse it. The lentils and rice combination makes you sleep better because apparently, it increases serotonin secretion. So while flipping through Rick Stein’s cookbook “From Venice to Istanbul”, when I stumbled across the recipe of Mujaddara, I knew I had to make it.

Mujaddara is a classic lentil and rice preparation, made of whole, green or black lentils with rice and topped with lots of caramelized onions. Usually served with a dollop of thick, spiced yogurt on the side, the dish uses minimal spices and yet, it is one of the most flavorful dishes to have on a lazy weekend. Or even a weekday, honestly, it is that easy to put together.

(1/2) Mujaddara / Moujadarrah, a Middle Eastern Lentils and Rice "Meal-in-a-Bowl", for Brunch in progress ! Wikipedia, my go, to know-it-all khazana of information tells me that Mujaddara is derived from an Arabic word for 'pockmarked', probably because it has rice dotted with lentils and caramelized onions. Can't wait to get in a bowl! Recipe: Ingredients: 1 cup green lentils / whole moong beans, soaked for 4 hours or overnight 1 cup rice 3 large onions, sliced thinly 4 tbsp of olive oil salt, to taste ground black pepper, to taste 2 tsp of cumin powder a large handful of coriander/cilantro, finely chopped 1 cup of thick yogurt/hung curd 1/2 tsp of red chilli powder (mild heat ) / paprika Method: If you have soaked the lentils, they will cook very easily. I pressure cooked them because I feel it be more convenient rather than constantly attending to them. So, for that, take the beans in a pressure cooker, add enough water to just cover them, close the lid. Place on the stove and cook for exactly one whistle on medium heat. Immediately take it off the heat and let the pressure release naturally. Drain the residual water and let it cool down. If you are not soaking the lentils, you can take the lentils in a wide pan with 3 cups of water. Bring it to a boil, and cook over a medium to slow heat for about 15-20 mins when they are cooked yet retain their shape decently. Drain and set aside to cool. Cook the rice till it is done yet the grains are separate. Set it aside to cool too. In a pan, heat the olive oil and the sliced onions. Sprinkle a pinch of salt on the top. Now let them saute on a low to medium heat till they are cooked and have a sweet caramelized smell to them. You don't need completely brown them, like they do for biryanis, but they need to have completely cooked and started to slightly sweeten. Rest continued in the comment 👇Blog link in the bio @d.srujan #mujaddara #sundaybrunch #brunchinprogress #mealprepping #middleeastern #middleeasternfood #vegan #vegetarian #vegetariancooking #brunch #whatsforbrunch #foodporn #lentils #rice #weekendcooking #theurbanspice #trelltalebangalore #mealinabowl #comfortfood #healthybrunch #meatfree #protienrich

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Now while you can easily prepare this dish without any pre-preparation, it is best that you soak the beans for 4 hours to overnight before cooking. The benefit of soaking the lentils before cooking, no matter which type of lentils you are using is that it helps reduce or eliminate Phytic Acid, which is believed to inhibit nutrition absorption in the body.

Recipe: ( Serves 4 hearty servings )

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup green lentils / whole moong beans, soaked for 4 hours or overnight
  • 1 cup rice
  • 3 large onions, sliced thinly
  • 4 tbsp of olive oil
  • salt, to taste
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tsp of cumin powder
  • a large handful of coriander/cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 cup of thick yogurt/hung curd
  • 1/2 tsp of red chilli powder (mild heat ) / paprika

Method:

  1. If you have soaked the lentils, they will cook very easily. I pressure cooked them because I feel it be more convenient rather than constantly attending to them. So, for that, take the beans in a pressure cooker, add enough water to just cover them, close the lid. Place on the stove and cook for exactly one whistle on medium heat. Immediately take it off the heat and let the pressure release naturally. Drain the residual water and let it cool down.
  2. If you are not soaking the lentils, you can take the lentils in a wide pan with 3 cups of water. Bring it to a boil, and cook over a medium to slow heat for about 15-20 mins when they are cooked yet retain their shape decently. Drain and set aside to cool.
  3. Cook the rice till it is done yet the grains are separate. Set it aside to cool too.
  4. In a pan, heat the olive oil and the sliced onions. Sprinkle a pinch of salt on the top. Now let them saute on a low to medium heat till they are cooked and have a sweet caramelized smell to them. You don’t need completely brown them, like they do for biryanis, but they need to have completely cooked and started to slightly sweeten.
  5. When that is done, turn the flame off and remove the pan from heat. Leave it aside for a couple of minutes to slightly cool down.
  6. Once all the three things have cooled down to the extent that you can handle then with bare hands, take the lentils, the rice and the onions in a large bowl. Season with salt, 1 tsp of cumin and pepper, add the chopped coriander leaves and toss lightly. You could do it gently with a spoon taking care that you don’t mush the lentils or the rice, or use your hands like I did.
  7. In an another bowl, whisk together the thick yogurt, salt to taste, 1 tsp of cumin and paprika/chili powder.
  8. To serve, spoon the lentils rice mixture into a bowl and top with a generous dollop of the spiced curd. Serve with lots of TLC. Bon appétit!

(2/2) Mujaddara / Moujadarrah is a Middle Eastern lentil and rice preparation with loads of mildly sweet caramelized crunchy onions. Usually it is simply spiced, served with a dollop of thick spiced yogurt. The recipe is adapted from @rick_stein 's From Venice to Istanbul. With 10 ingredients for everything in the bowl, other than sliced cucumber, it is utterly simple to put together. Who says Middle Eastern food doesn't have vegetarian options. I have used green lentils, but you could use black ones too. Though it is usually served with the spiced yogurt, the rest of the dish is completely #vegan friendly. If you want to avoid dairy, use non dairy yogurt because with its creaminess, the dish is incomplete. #mujadara #mujaddara #sundaybrunch #brunchinprogress #mealprepping #middleeastern #middleeasternfood #vegan #vegetarian #vegetariancooking #brunch #whatsforbrunch #foodporn #lentils #rice #weekendcooking #theurbanspice #trelltalebangalore #mealinabowl #comfortfood #healthybrunch #meatfree #protienrich

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Posted in Biryanis, Pilafs and Rice based Dishes, Recipes

Mavinakayi Chitranna / Raw Mango Rice ~ Because summers are synonymous with mangoes!

In this part of the world that I live in, the Indian Subcontinent, the summers are harsh. The mercury keeps rising until it is unbearable to be outdoors. Hot dry winds hold a vigil on the summer afternoons making sure you do not venture outdoors. And while you must have a got picture of how Indian summers are, I will say that for the Almighty, all his kids are equal and he doesn’t do any injustice to any of his kids. Why else would he bestow us with the king of fruits, Mango, in such abundance across India? While I can go on and on about the ripe mangoes, today my agenda is a bit different. It is early summers here in Bangalore, and the small, tart, raw mangoes have started to flood the markets. While the pickle is the first thing that comes to the minds of most Indians when you mention raw mangoes, some of like to eat it just like that, cut into slivers and rubbed with salt and chilli powder. At least, the childhood of most of us is full of such memories. Now that we have grown up, the hustle bustle may not allow us to sneak in such moments.

So, because of the strong associations we have mangoes, when I saw raw mangoes during this week’s grocery errands trip, it was as if, the mangoes were beckoning me towards them, almost hypnotically to be honest! And, I had bookmarked this raw mango rice recipe  somewhere eons ago. So, I had to make Mavinkayi Chitranna or Raw Mango Rice with these beauties.

Mavinakayi Chitranna / Raw Mango Rice with the usual accompaniments of Papad, Raita and pickle because the mercury has risen and the markets have tiny, green mangoes beckoning me towards them, in an almost hypnotic way! Also, some nights, it has to be comfort food. The recipe is from Chandra Padmanabhan's Dakshin and the cook book is proving to be a very good primer for novices like me, when it comes to South Indian cuisine. The best thing is, the book gives the recipe for spice mixes from scratch and yet is simple to execute. This is a Kannadiga version, or so the internet says, because I have used fresh coconut in the spice paste. The Andhra version does not use coconut. The taste is quite similar to lemon rice, but in between, you can feel the subtle flavors only raw mango can provide! If you ignore the Raita, rest is all #vegan friendly. #mavinkayi #chitranna #rawmangorice #tendermango #whatsfordinner #whatsonmyplate #myblr #trelltalebangalore #kannadacuisine #veganfoodporn #meatfree #vegatarian #vegetarianfoodporn #mavinakayichitranna #quickfixdinner #dinnerin60minutes #bangalorefooddiaries #mavinakayi #chandrapadmanabhan #dakshinthecookbook

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Posted in Biryanis, Pilafs and Rice based Dishes, Recipes

Turkish Spiced Pilaf!

Winter brings with it, the bounty of verdant greens in addition to that chill and nip in the air. And that means, I am sometimes inspired to cook with those greens, precisely those ones whom I will turn up my nose to at other times. Okay, inspired is a too serious word for some one like me ( I am not rally dedicated to cooking, no matter what is seems ) , but you get the point right.

Call it Afghan Dill Rice or Turkish Spiced Pilaf, this dill flavored rice is too good to ignore. The inspiration for this was Mona ( @mmskitchenbites ), who is one of the warmest and kindest souls i have met, and who lovingly typed down and shared this neat and precise recipe for me yesterday. Its a mild flavored, aromatic Pilaf with which has dill, mint, saffron and raisins among many other things. I served it with Pancar Esmezi or Turkish Beetroot dip which is a beautiful take on our very own Beetroot Raita. The recipe is from Rick Stein's ( @rick_stein ) From Venice To Istanbul – the flavors of Silk Route. And of course, some onion slices for my Indian taste buds! 😉 Thank you so much Mona! I took a few minor liberties such as adding raisins and mint, but the procedure is exactly the way you described it! A big 👍👍 a heartfelt thanks to the recipe, which definitely a keeper! 😍 Recipe: Serves 2 Ingredients: 3/4th to 1 cup of long grained Basmati Rice, washed and rinsed till water runs clear, soaked for about 20 mins, *see notes2 tbsp + 1 tbsp of oil1 medium onion, thinly sliced,1 green chilly, medium heat, finely chopped,2 cloves of garlic, grated or minced,1 stick cinnamon, optional,Salt to taste, about 1/2 to 1 tsp, adjust as per your taste,freshly ground pepper, to taste,4 tbsp fresh dill, ( સુવા in Gujarati, सोआ in Hindi ), finely chopped, *see notesA small handful of mint, finely chopped,2-3 tbsp raisins, optional,pinch of saffron, soaked in warm milk for about 10 mins, optional,freshly squeezed lemon juice,  or slices of lemon as garnish Method: in comments below. #turkishpilaf #afghanrice #dill #mint #beetroot #flavorsofsilkroute #dillrice #pilaf #turkishbeetrootdip #beetrootraita #weekendlunch #vegetarian #vsco #vscocam #vscofood #curd #vegetarian #lightdinner #whatsfordinner #whatsonmyplate #whatvegetarianseat #weekendkitchentrials #foodiechronicles #igers #igersbangalore

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