Friday, March 21, 2008

Corn Rice (Fragrant Rice with Corn and Mild Spices)

Here is another delicious rice which is mild but flavorful. Frozen corn makes it a snap to prepare it. When rice is enhanced with a Tadka/Thalippu and various ingredients, it belongs to the category of "Chitrannam" which literally translates as 'beautiful food/rice'! Chitrannam of one kind or another is a must on special occasions and as children we looked forward eagerly for these holidays. Amma would often make them as a special after-school treats with whatever vegetables were on hand. Enjoy!


2 Cups Basmati Rice
1 tsp Salt
Scant 4 cups fresh water


2 Tbsp Ghee or Coconut oil
1/2 tsp Brown Mustard Seeds
2 Tbsp Urad Dal
1 pinch Asafoetida (Optional)
1 sprig Fresh Curry Leaves
1 pinch Turmeric
12 oz. Frozen Corn Kernels
1 small
1 medium Onion
1 Jalapeño Chili (optional)
1/2 tsp Salt or to taste


Wash the rice well and let sit; bring the water to a boil with the salt. Add the rice and cook until done. Let it cool for at least an hour.

Peel and chop the onion. Cut the Jalapeño in half lengthwise, remove the core, and mince finely if using. Thaw the frozen corn by bringing it to room temperature.

Heat the oil in a large kadai or skillet and add mustard seeds and urad dal. When the dal turns pink and the mustard is dancing, add asafoetida, onion, chili, curry leaves, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring until onion is soft. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook stirring until corn is hot.

Stir in the cooled rice and mix gently in a lifting-folding motion with a thin spatula so as not to mush the rice. Mix well and heat covered over very low heat until hot, about 5 to 10 minutes. Or transfer to a baking/serving dish and heat in a 350 F oven until hot.

Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature with curries, papadams, salaad, or any type of raita or as desired. Enjoy!!

Note: When cooking rice I usually do the following: when the rice and water comes to a rolling boil, stir well, return to boiling, and turn off the heat. Cover and leave it undisturbed for 20 minutes. This process produces lovely fluffy rice every time - no more mushy or burned rice :) and frees one from having to watch the pot! Also, it is an environment-friendly method as well since it saves fuel :).

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