Plantain Two Ways

Plantain is such an under-appreciated vegetable in so many cultures. Even here, in the Caribbean, they make tostones, fried plantains and that’s it. But we, South-Indians have so many plantain recipes. And seeing plantains so often in the supermarket, in the farmer’s market, or simply on the street side shops, makes me very happy.

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Vazhakkai, has so many uses in the South-Indian kitchen. We make so many sides, bajji, pan-fried, sautéd with spice powder, steamed, and I’m sure so many more preparations. I’m gonna try all of them, as plantains are in season here now. In fact, in South India, we use every part of the banana tree. We cook with banana stems, blossoms, plantains, bananas, we eat on banana leaves.. I remember a time when we used to go to our grandmother’s house for summer vacation, and there were a few banana and coconut trees in backyard, and we used to cut banana leaves just before lunch to eat on them.

But here, in the Cayman, it’s still here. If you go down south, to the older, non-touristy parts, every house has a couple of banana trees and coconut trees, sometimes neem trees and mango trees. (New life aim to live in one such house).

In the past one month (it’s been a month since we moved here? :O), with my limited kitchen utensils (no, our shipped stuff is still somewhere mid-atlantic), I’ve tried out 2 recipes using local plantains. One is pan-fried, and the other steamed. Will give both recipes here. I am also currently ripening one plantain to make platanos maduros. More on that later. Now to the recipes.

Pan-Fried Plantain (Vazhakkai varuval)

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Ingredients :

Plantains – 2
Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
Chili powder – 1 tsp
Salt, to taste
For tempering –
Oil – 2 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves – few
Asafoetida – a pinch

Method :

  1. Peel and slice plantain thinly. You can use a mandoline for this.
  2. Marinate it in a mixture of turmeric, chili powder and salt for salt.
  3. Heat a wide pan, add oil and temper mustard seeds, curry leaves and asafoetida.
  4. After the mustard seeds splutter, add the marinated plantains to the pan, and try to spread them so they’re in an even, single layer on the pan. (If your pan is too small, and the plantains look crowded, pan-fry in two batches).
  5. Pan-fry them, on medium high heat, turning once or twice, so it cooks evenly on all sides.
  6. When it’s cooked through, and you have the desired level of crispiness, remove from pan and serve.

Vazhakkai podi (Plantain spiced powder)

The traditional recipe, of course, doesn’t use flaxseeds. I’m adding it here because, flaxseed is super healthy with fibre and omega3, but has to be eaten powdered and raw. Also we should consume it immediately after grinding. So this podi is only meant for serving right away, not to be kept for later and eaten. But, even if the nutrients deteriorate, it would still be good kept in the fridge for 3-4 days.

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Ingredients:

Plantain – 1
Urad dal – 2 tbsp
Chana Dal – 2 tbsp
Red Chili – 2
Curry leaves – few
Flaxseed – 1 tbsp (optional)
Tamarind – 1/4 tsp of extract, or tiny bit of raw tamarind
Salt – to taste
Asafoetida – a pinch

Method:

  1. Steam the plantains with their peel on, in a steamer or in your pressure cooker for 10-15 min.
  2. Remove off steamer, and peel the plantains. The peel should slip off easily. Grate the plantains on a box grater and keep aside.
  3. Roast the dals, red chiles and curry leaves in a tsp of oil till golden brown.
  4. Grind the roasted stuff, along with a bit of tamarind, salt, and asafoetida coarsely.
  5. Add the grated plantain, spin the blender a few more times, till you get an even mixture.
  6. Vazhakkai podi can be eaten mixed with plain white rice and ghee. Or you can use it as side for curd rice, idli, dosai.
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Vendakkai Kari (Pan-fried Okra)

I’ve always had a thing for cooking/buying local, in-season produce. I don’t understand people who live in India and pay Rs.200 for an avocado, or people living abroad hunting for imported Indian mangoes. Sure, once in a while is fine. But regularly, we should all try to eat local produce. They’re fresher, cheaper and definitely much healthier.

Hence, I frequent farmer’s markets. After our recent move, it took me one day to locate the time and place of the local market. It was quite easy given that the area of the island is just 75sqmi. But the local market here is so different from those I’ve been to before, the produce so different. Summer in NY means, best of fruits – peaches and apricots and berries. Here it’s mangoes. So many varieties of local mangoes. And star fruit and guavas and coconut. It’s quite a revelation. As far as veggies go, right now, okra and plantains are in season. I buy them every week and try out new ways to fix them.

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Today, I will give here my Okra recipe. I never buy frozen okra, because my favorite way to make it crispy, pan-fried, and okra and moisture don’t go well. Look how gorgeous this farmer’s market haul is! And I’ve never seen red okra before! I’ve always loved okra, and not because my mom told me that eating okra makes you a genius at Math. Now my kids love it too. It’s their favorite vegetable of all time. Here’s how I make it (and how my mom made it).

Pan-fried Okra (Vendakkai kari in Tamil)

Ingredients

Okra – 1/2 kg (about 1 pound)
Oil for tempering
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Urad dal – 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida – a pinch
Curry leaves – few
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Red chili powder – 1tsp (You can change this based on your spice level, but I keep it here otherwise you can’t really taste the okra, or anything else)
Salt – to taste

Method

1. Wash the okra well. Wipe it well with a fresh tea towel. Let it sit in a colander for 10-15 min to air dry. You don’t want any water on the okra. Dry it again with a paper towel if you must. No water!

2. Slice it with a sharp knife, taking care not to bruise it too much. And don’t slice it carpaccio-thin, thinking it would be crisper. Slice it thusly.

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3. Use a wide pan. Don’t use your vANali/wok here. You need a pan wide enough to fit the okra without crowding it in a pile. You don’t want it to steam.

4. Heat oil (medium high heat). Temper mustard seeds, urad dal, asafoetida and curry leaves. Once the mustard seeds have spluttered and the dal is brown, add turmeric powder and chili powder. Don’t burn them, but let it mix with the oil well.

5. Add the chopped okra. Mix with the seasoned oil well and spread it out evenly in the pan so it’s not all crowded. Let it sit here and cook for a bit.

6. Resist the temptation to stir the okra too much. The more you stir, the more gooey the okra becomes. Also, notice we haven’t added salt yet. And we won’t till the very end. This is because salt is hydrophilic, and will draw moisture out of the food. We don’t want more moisture in there. Keep the heat at medium-high as well.

7. Stir the okra once every five minutes. so it cooks evenly on all sides. In about 15 min, you will notice, while stirring, the okra is no longer gooey and has turned color slightly. At this point, add salt to taste, stir well, and cook for another 5-7 minutes, till the okra is at desired level of crispness.

8. Take off heat and serve with rice/roti or just eat it off the pan. I’ve done all 3.

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Kovil Dosai

In Azhagar Kovil (Madurai, South India) this dosai is given as prasadham. It’s not the paper thin dosais of restaurants, but a heartier, thicker dosai that has this aroma of ginger, cumin and black pepper. I don’t know how, but you can smell it everywhere around the temple. It’s quite easy to make at home, but if you’re ever in Madurai, don’t miss this.

Kovil Dosai

Ingredients:

Raw Rice – 2 cups
Urad dal (black urad dal, with skin) – 1 cup
Dry ginger (sukku) – 1″ piece
Black Peppercorns – 1 tbsp
Cumin – 1/2 tbsp
Curry leaves – 10
Ghee – 2 tbsp
Salt – to taste

Method:

1. Soak black urad dal in enough water overnight.
2. Soak the raw rice in enough water for around 4 hours. (You can do this in the morning, say around 6am and grind the batter around 10am. Whatever works for you. Rice doesn’t have to soak as much as the dal).
3. Grind the urad dal finely, till it’s light and fluffy.
4. Grind the rice next, fine enough.
5. Mix the dal batter, rice batter with enough salt, and let it ferment in room temperature overnight. (Depending on where you live, this can take anywhere from 4-5hrs to 12hrs. If you live in a particularly cold region, ferment the batter inside the oven with the light on.
6. Once the batter has fermented, and smells pleasantly sour, you can store it in the refrigerator.
7. When you are ready to make dosais, coarsely powder the dry ginger, peppercorns, cumin. Pile it on top of the batter, with the curry leaves. Heat ghee in a small pan, until it’s smoking hot and add it on top of the powdered spices. (We do this to fry the spices, bring out the aroma in them. See the picture below).

8. Mix everything well.
9. Make dosais (crepes) on the griddle/tawa. This is not supposed to be thin, but thicker, uthappam like. Cook it with a lid on, so it cooks well on both sides. Use ghee/oil to cook them.
10. Serve it hot with the chutney/idli podi of your choice. Doesn’t need a side really, because it’s spicy enough on it’s own.

Tips:

1. Instead of 2 cups raw rice, you can use 1 cup raw rice and 1 cup idli rice. Makes for a softer dosai. Temple prasadhams never use parboiled rice like idli rice, so the above recipe is authentic. Being in Madrid, I used a short grain. starchier, paella rice. Which made a good raw rice alternative for the idli rice.
2. Spice levels can be adjusted to your liking. This recipe makes a milder dosai than that of the the temple, but my kids prefer it this way.

Kancheepuram Idli

Temples in India are special in that they attract food enthusiasts and gourmands as well, thanks to their “prasadham” (offering). Each temple (let me stick to my homeland) in Tamilnadu, has it’s own special food offering. And for a relatively cheap price, sell it to all the visitors. One temple in Kancheepuram, Varadharajar temple, offers this special, spicy idli as prasadham. My mom tells me, her great uncle was the cook there for many years, making these idlis day after day, and this recipe from him, has been in the family forever. Try it, it’s both healthy and delicious, with a spicy kick from the dry ginger and black peppercorns.

Kancheepuram Idli

Ingredients:

Idli Rice – 1 cup
Raw Rice – 1 cup
Black Urad dal – 1 cup
Salt – as per taste
Sour yogurt – 1/4 cup
Dry ginger (sukku) – 1″ piece
Black Pepper Corn – 1 tbsp
Cumin – 1/2 tbsp
Curry leaves (fresh) – 10
Ghee – 2 tbsp

Method:

1. Soak black urad dal overnight.
2. In the morning, soak the rice, for 3-4 hours.
3. Grind the dal, and rice  separately, into thick batter (don’t add too much water).
4. Mix the dal and rice batter with salt, and ferment for 10-12 hours. (or until the dough rises and has bubbles on the surface). At this point, you can store the batter in the refrigerator for future use. It can be used for a week.
5. On the day of cooking, mix in sour yogurt (just leave 1/4 cup of yogurt on the counter overnight).
6. Coarsely powder dry ginger, cumin and black peppercorns and add it to the dough, along with fresh curry leaves.
7. Heat the ghee (clarified butter) in a small pan, and pour hot ghee over the spice powder on the batter.
8. Mix the batter well.
9. Now you have two choices, you can cook it in regular idli pan for 20 mins, or pour all the batter into a cake pan, or the steamer pan of your rice cooker (lined with aluminum foil), and steam for an hour or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
10. Cut into wedges and serve with idli molaga podi, or chutney of your choice.

Tips:

1. If you can’t find whole black urad dal, you could replace it with regular urad dal. You don’t have to soak regular urad dal overnight though.

Rhubarb Thokku

I follow a lot of food bloggers and chefs on Twitter. As soon as it was spring, everyone was getting excited about Rhubarb. Rhubarb is extremely seasonal, available only in the few weeks of spring. (At least here, in New York). It tastes sharply tart, like a cross between gooseberries and lemons. It needs a lot of sugar to compensate for it’s natural tartness (in pies, tarts, muffins etc) but I wanted to make a pickle with it.

In South India, pickles are usually made with spiced oil (salt, red chili powder, fenugreek, mustard is the usual combo), but we also make a cooked, quick pickle called thokku. Made on the stove top (technically not ‘pickled’ at all), it is meant to be used quickly. We usually use tomatoes, raw mangoes, gooseberries to make thokku. So I tried to make Rhubarb thokku and it was amazing.  We usually eat thokku with rice, or idlis or dosais. But it works well as a spread for sandwiches, wraps, with rotis. Really, sky is the limit.

Rhubard Thokku

Ingredients:

Rhubarb – 3 stalks (diced, as shown in the photo above)
Gingelly oil (or vegetable oil) – 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Chili powder – 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp
Fenugreek seeds – 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves – 2-3
Asafetida – a pinch
Salt – to taste

Method:

1. Heat a thick bottomed pan, and add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add mustard seeds. Once the mustand splutters, add fenugreek seeds, asafetida, curry leaves.
2. 30 seconds, then add the turmeric and chili powder to the oil. Don’t let the spices burn, add the rhubard immediately.
3. Saute for a couple of minutes, and add salt.
4. Continue cooking on medium heat, till the rhubabarb breaks down and starts to feel paste like, stirring occasionally.
5. Continue cooking, till all the moisture from the pan evaporates, and the oil starts to separate from the thokku. Taste now, and adjust salt, and spice.
6. Remove from the pan, and store in a tight lidded jar. (Keeps for upto a week in the refrigerator).

Tips:

1. This method of making thokku can be used for diced tomatoes, grated raw mangoes, gooseberries, fresh cranberries. (Cranberry thokku tastes incredible).
2. A tablespoon of thokkku mixed in a cup of yogurt will make a quick raita.
3. 1/4 cup of thokku can be used to flavor pressure-cooked dal. Tadka, mix the thokku with the dal, and you have the perfect accompaniment to rice or rotis.

Kovil Puliyorai – Tamarind Rice

puLiyorai - Tamarind rice

Tamarind rice has to be the most popular of all the ‘Chitrannam’ in Tamil cuisine. See more about Chitrannam here. There are over 100 different ways to make this, but my favorite is “Kovil PuLiyorai” or tamarind rice made in temples. It is the most common prasadam (offering to God) distributed in South Indian Temples.

Puliyorai can be made two ways: one, you make a paste out of tamarind and other spices, cook it down, and mix it with cooked rice. But the normal method for temples is to cook rice with tamarind and turmeric, make dry spice mix, and mix everything together. I follow the second method, because it’s much tastier and far simpler.

Kovil Puliyorai

Ingredients

Uncooked Raw long-grain white rice – 1 cup
Tamarind paste – 1/2 tablespoon
Turmeric powder – 1/2 teaspoon

For the spice mix
Fenugreek seeds – 1 teaspoon
Black sesame seeds – 1 1/2 teaspoon
Urad dal (white lentil) – 1 1/2 tablespoon
Whole dried red chilies – 4 – 6 (depends on how spicy you like it, cut it back even further if you like it mild)
Black pepper corn – 1 teaspoon
Coriander seeds – 1 tablespoon

For tempering
Mustard seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
Urad dal – 1 tablespoon
Channa dal – 1 tablespoon
Whole unsalted peanuts/cashewnuts (optional) – 1/4 cup
Fresh curry leaves – 6- 8
Gingelly oil – 2 tablespoons

Salt, to taste

Method:
1. Cook rice with 2 cups of water, the tamarind paste and turmeric in the normal way you cook rice. Don’t overcook it. Spread it out on a cookie sheet/large pan, so the rice grains don’t stick to one another.

2. Dry roast black sesame seeds and fenugreek seeds in a pan. Roast the rest of the spice mix ingredients in a bit of oil. Cool them down and grind to a powder in a blender/coffee gridner (Grind all the spices except the sesame seeds first, and then add the sesame seeds at the end and spin the mixer again. Because of their high oil content, the sesame seeds won’t let the other spices grind well).

3. Heat the gingelly oil in a pan, add the mustard seeds. Once they have spluttered, add the urad dal, channa dal, and peanuts/cashew nuts. Once they are golden brown, turn off the heat, and add the curry leaves.

4. Add the tempered oil, ground spice mix and salt to cooked rice. Mix well and serve with papaddam (or yogurt).

Tips:

1. Gingelly oil is made from Sesame seeds, but it’s different from the sesame oil used in Oriental cuisine. That’s roasted sesame seed oil, but gingelly oil (or til oil) is pressed from raw sesame seeds. If you cannot find it, use any vegetable oil.

2. Tamarind rice tastes even better the next day!

Mint and Rice

I love mint. It’s probably my favorite herb. But sadly, I haven’t seen many people use it because they normally associate mint with breath mints or mouthwash. Fresh mint leaves, on the other hand, leave a very subtle and gorgeous flavor. And if you don’t use it enough, you really should.

In Spain, we get two varieties of mint: the common mint called ‘menta’ and a special spanish variety called ‘hierbabuena’ (literally means the good herb), which the Spanish claim is much superior. I’ve never been able to tell the difference (sshhh!).

I’ve attempted to make two mint dishes, both with rice, but in totally different styles. One is a South-Indian style Mint and Peas Rice, and the other is a Mint and Mushroom Risotto. In Indian cuisine, mint is used all the time: in chutneys, with vegetables, with rice, and meat. It’s a very common herb. But again, with internationalization, cilantro has become “the preferred herb” of Indian cuisine all over. Similarly, I’ve heard that mint is the most commonly used herb in Italian cooking, because it grows all over Italy. But again, basil has become the more common Italian herb.

I’ve just attempted to try and use mint (I happened to have a really big bouquet of it) in different forms.

Mint and Peas Rice

This is also a type a ‘Chitrannam’ I was talking about in the post about lemon rice.

Mint and Peas Rice
Ingredients:

Cooked white rice (preferably basmati rice, or any long grain rice) – 2 cups
Frozen green peas – 1/4 cup
Fresh mint – 1 cup, packed
Green chili – 1
Fresh ginger, chopped – 1 teaspoon
Fresh grated coconut – 2 tablespoons
Cumin – 1 teaspoon
Bay leaf – 1
Oil – 1 teaspoon
Salt to taste

Method:
1. Grind the mint, chili, ginger and coconut into a paste.
2. Heat the oil in a pan, add the bay leaf and the cumin.
3. Immediately, add the mint paste, frozen peas and salt.
4. Saute for 3-5 minutes.
5. Take off heat, add the cooked rice and mix well, till the rice is well coated.
6. Taste and adjust salt, the rice would probably need more.
7. Remove the bay leaf before serving.

Mint and Mushroom Risotto

Risotto is more a technique than a recipe. I’ve given in a risotto recipe earlier, I’ve just used the same process here, but made the flavor profile much simpler (no mirepoix, or any other herb), so as to bring out the ‘mintiness’ ?!

Mint and Mushroom Risotto

Ingredients:

Arborio rice: 1 cup
Vegetable or chicken stock – 4 – 5 cups
Onion – 1 medium (diced fine)
Garlic – 2 cloves (minced)
Fresh Mint – 1/2 cup (minced)
Fresh mushrooms – about 15 medium sized ones sliced. (I’ve used creminis, but you can use any variety)
Olive oil – 1 tablespoon + 1/2 tablespoon for the mushrooms
Butter – 1 tablespoon
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:
1. Bring the stock to a boil and set it on a simmer while you get the other ingredients ready.
2. Cook the sliced mushrooms until they are brown and smell nutty, in a bit of olive oil and a pinch of salt. (skip the salt till the very end, salt brings out the water in the mushrooms, and you don’t want soggy mushrooms)
3. Remove the mushrooms and set them aside, and to the same pan, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and butter.
4. Saute the onion and garlic.
5. Once the onions are translucent, add the rice and saute till all the rice is coated with the oil and smells nutty.
6. Add the 1/3 of the simmering stock, and cook till it is all absorbed, stirring constantly.
7. Once, all the stock has been absorbed, add another 1/3 of the stock and let the rice cook and absorb the stock.
8. Add the mushrooms, and salt and pepper.
9. Add 1/2 of the remaining liquid, and cook it down. Check if the rice is done. It should be cooked completely, but still have a bite to it.
10. If it has cooked, you don’t need the remaining stock, but if it hasn’t, add the final installment of stock and cook till absorbed.
11. Taste and adjust salt and pepper.
12. Remove from heat and mix in the chopped mint.
13. Serve immediately.

Tips:

1. Mint stalks are woody. Use just the leaves.
2. In both dishes, a squeeze of lemon juice at the end would be wonderful. Or some lemon zest.
3. Mint pesto is a great use of mint as well. Mix it with pasta or serve it as a sauce for fish or chicken.

Mysore Bondas

Bondas with chili, ginger and coconuts!

I normally don’t deep-fry. May be I am frightened of hot oil, or I don’t like the mess of cleaning up, or may be it’s because I’m health conscious (not entirely true), I normally don’t. But this was an occasion, so I decided to make bondas. Now there are so many recipes for bondas, made with gram flour, filled with potatoes, eggs.. But these are my favorite, in that they are so simple, yet so tasty.

Mysore Bondas

Ingredients:

Urad Dal – 1 cup
Green chili (chopped fine) – 1 teaspoon
Ginger (chopped fine) – 1 teaspoon
Whole black pepper corns – 1 tablespoon
Fresh coconuts (chopped into small bits) – 1 tablespoon
Fresh cilantro (chopped) – 1 tablespoon
Salt to taste
Vegetable Oil – to fry

Bondas in oil

Method:

1. Soak the dal in water for 2 hours.
2. Grind it into a fine paste, using as little water as possible.
3. Mix in everything but the oil into the paste.
4. Heat the oil in a deep vessel (or a fryer if you have one) till it smokes.
5. Scoop up the batter into small balls, and drop them carefully into the oil.
6. Fry till golden brown on all sides.
7. Take them out of the oil, into kitchen paper lined plates.
8. Serve immediately.

Tips:

1. If you are going to grind the batter, and wait for some hours before you fry the bondas, add the salt just before you fry them. Salt brings out the water, and you don’t want a soggy, watery batter.

2. Use enough oil. The lesser oil you use, the more will be absorbed by the food. You can reuse the oil for sauteing. Never use it again for deep frying.

3. Serve with mint or coconut chutney.

Rava Kesari

Rava kesari

This is a popular and easy dessert in South India. It’s a sweet pudding made from semolina, flavored with cardamom. If you haven’t used cardamom in your cooking, you must try it! In India, normally, the green cardamom is used for desserts and the black variety, for curries. Also, for making this dish, normally an orange food color is used, but I couldn’t find it in Madrid, so I  used saffron, so the Kesari in the photo is of a lighter color.

Green cardamom

Rava Kesari

Ingredients:

Semolina – 1 cup (I used fine semolina because that’s what I could find here, but try to find a not-very-fine one)
Sugar – 1.5 cups (you can use up to 2 cups if you like it too sweet)
Water – 1 cup (I used this because it was very fine semolina and cooks fairly fast, if you use a coarser variety, use 1.5 cups of water)
Cardamom – 2 (pods removed and powdered in a mortar and pestle)
Orange food color – a pinch (or a big pinch of saffron dissolved in a tablespoon of warm milk)
Roasted cashew nuts – about 10 (for garnish)

Method:

1. Heat the water up and keep it simmering.
2. Dry roast the semolina till golden brown and smells nutty. Take care not to burn it. This step is important or the pudding will be like glue!
3. Add the water, and stir continuously as not to form lumps. The semolina will absorb the water very quickly.
4. Once the water has been absorbed, add the sugar and continue stirring. The sugar will melt and continue to cook the semolina.
5. Add the color (or saffron milk) and cardamom powder.
6. Once the pudding is thickened (it will continue to thicken as it cools, so if you take it a bit early it’s OK) take it off the heat, top it off with the cashew nuts and serve hot.

Tips:

1. You can also use raisins for garnish, it is normally used, but I don’t like them.
2. It heats up nicely in the microwave, so if you prepare it ahead of time, just re-heat before serving.
3. Don’t throw away the cardamom pods. Just add 2 pods per mug for your next cup of tea. Elaichi Chai!

 

When life gives you lemons..

Sorry for not posting for more than a week. Kids have a 10 day Easter vacation in Spain (Semana Santa) and with two toddlers at home, all you have time for are playing, tidying up toys, and of course mediating fights. I’ve been cooking alright, but just didn’t find time to sit down and write a post.

This recipe is one of my go to quick and easy recipes. You can serve it as a side to any of your main proteins, or do as I do on a lazy day: serve it as the main course with roasted veggies and patatas fritas.

This is one of the many rice dishes in South-India, commonly called ‘Chitrannam’ (literally means pretty-as-a-picture-rice-dish) and I will post many more of such recipes in the following weeks.
Lemon rice

Lemon Rice

Ingredients: (serves 4)
Cooked basmati rice (or any long-grain white rice) – 2 cups
Fresh lemon juice – from 1 lemon
Fresh ginger minced – 1 teaspoon
Green chili minced – 1
Vegetable oil – 1 tablespoon
Dry roasted peanuts – 1/4 cup (optional)
Turmeric powder – 1/4 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Fresh cilantro for garnish

(Optional- for tempering)
Mustard seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
Split black lentils – 1/2 teaspoon
Bengal gram (channa dal) – 1/2 teaspoon

Method:

1. Heat oil in a pan
2. If you are tempering, add mustard seeds, and once they sputter, add the lentils and roast till golden brown.
3. Add the ginger, and green chili, and saute for 30 seconds. Take care you don’t burn the ginger.
4. Add the turmeric, and take off the heat.
5. Add cooked rice, salt and lemon juice.
6. Mix in the peanuts, and garnish with cilantro.

Tips:
1. Works great with left over rice.
2. You can use roasted cashew nuts instead of the peanuts. Tastes even better.
3. Add half of the lemon juice first, mix well, taste and add more if needed. You don’t know how tart the lemon is!
4. If you don’t have turmeric, then use the zest of a lemon. But I would advice you to get turmeric, it lasts forever in the pantry.