Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Green Rice/Pulao (Herb Pilaf)

A delicious and simple - brown rice provides better nutrition; if using brown rice, cook it until done before stirring in the greens and herbs at the end. Depending on the herbs you use, it can be Caribbean, Indian, Mediterranean, Persian, etc. I have given suggestions but you may choose your own favorite herbs. Whichever of the herb combination you choose, a bean dish such as Chole or Rajma, a raita and/or chopped salad make wonderful accompaniments. Mushroom Ragout is delightful served over the rice.  For the garnish use your favorite nuts/seeds; I love to use sunflower seeds, pine nuts, almonds, cashews and pistachios, etc.

Cooked edamame or green fava beans may be added instead of peas for a delicious change.

6 Servings

Ingredients:

1 cup long grain rice
1 tsp Sea Salt
1 large Onion, finely chopped
1 clove fresh Garlic, minced (optional)
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Herb combination of your choice
A large handful of leafy greens (spinach, kale, chard, etc), finely chopped
1 cup Peas, fresh or frozen
Lime/Lemon juice to taste (optional)
Toasted Nuts/Seeds for garnish (optional)

Herb I - 1 small bunch each - fenugreek, coriander (cilantro), mint, green onions
Herb II - A handful each - parsley, basil
Herb III - 1 small bunch each - fenugreek, flat leaf parsley, green onions, dill
Herb IV - 1 small bunch Cilantro (fresh coriander), Parsley, Green Onions
Herb V -  Parsley, Mint

Method:

Rinse the rice well and place in a bowl; cover with 2 cups of fresh water. Let it soak while you prepare the herbs.

Sort the greens and herbs and discard yellow leaves, weeds, tough stems etc. Wash them well and drain thoroughly (I use my salad spinner to get all the water out). Finely chop them.

Heat the oil in a 2 to 3 quart/liter pan and saute the onion and garlic with the salt gently until soft.

Add the drained rice (save the soaking water) and stir well to coat; add the soaking water and bring to a rolling boil.

Reduce the heat, stir in the greens, peas, and half the herbs, cover and simmer very gently for about 5 minutes.

Turn off the heat and allow to rest undisturbed for 15 minutes.

Fluff the rice gently with a fork, sprinkle with the lime/lemon juice and the reserved herbs, and serve hot.  Enjoy!!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Roasted Baby Potato Chat (Tricolor Salad-Topped Fingerling Starters)


Roasted potato starters are a treat for the eyes as well as the palate! And Very Yummy without extraneous calories to make one feel guilty to boot.  These are so good, I make a meal of them!

Make the salads and the roasted potatoes a day ahead; then heat the potatoes to serve when you are ready.  Also, if it is too much to make all three of the salads, make the one you like.  Roasted potato chat is an adaptation of Sheelu's recipe.  Simply superb!

Some radishes (both daikon and regular) tend to be a bit spicy; I like to add either fresh turnips or Jicama to the radishes to tone it down for those who prefer a milder salad. Sheelu added a little chat masala to the mooli (radish) salad also.  Any leftover salad may be served with other meals.

Chat Masala is a mixture of spices and salts used to sprinkle on fruit and veggie salads; it is readily available in Indian markets.  Daikon radish is called "Mooli" in Hindi and is available in most markets as well as Indian markets.

Ingredients:

1 lb Baby potatoes, any kind
1 t Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chat Masala to taste

Salads:

1/2 lb each Beets and Radish - regular or daikon (or Turnips or Jicama)
2-3 Limes/lemons
Sea salt to taste
1/2 small Red Onion, finely chopped
1 small bunch Cilantro, finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 recipe Carrot Salad, to serve
Green and Sweet chutneys to serve

Method:

Wash and dry the potatoes; trim them if necessary and place in a rimmed baking pan.

Add the oil, salt and pepper and stir to coat well.

Bake at 425* F for about 30 minutes or until potatoes are cooked.

Remove from the over and let cool a little in the pan; when cool enough to handle, flatten each gently but firmly without breaking up.

Sprinkle with Chat Masala to taste on both sides.

Roast for 15 more minutes until lightly browned.

Meanwhile,

Prepare the salads:  grate each of the veggies and place them in their own bowls; for those who find daikon/radishes too strong, use turnips, Jicama, or a combination.

Add finely chopped cilantro, salt, pepper, and lime/lemon juice to taste to both of the salads.

To the beet salad, add the chopped onions and mix well.

Arrange the bowls of the three salads, i.e, carrot, beet and daikon on a large platter and surround with the warm potatoes.  Mound a spoonful of one of the salads on top of the potatoes and top with a drizzle of green and/or sweet chutneys.  This is a do-it-yourself dish - each diner can top theirs according to taste.

Eat immediately.  Enjoy!!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Kozhakattai I (Savory Rice Dumplings With Coconut)


         
Kozhakattais with  Sweet Potato Chutney I

Kozhakattais are steamed rice dumplings - the South Indian equivalents of gnocchi - albeit made with ... you guessed it - rice! It is amazing what one can do with rice :D. These kozhakattais are delicious hot, warm or cold (room temperature cold, not ice cold) anytime at all. I made mini ones to serve as starters with Sweet Potato Chutney - they were very quick to disappear - not a single one remained!

Kozhakattais were often prepared as fasting day foods. Some of the fasts were more like food festivals (lol) - fasting meant only that plain cooked rice was not eaten; but delicacies made from it or other grains were. And believe me, nobody felt even a tiny pang of hunger on these fasts!

We loved eating the leftover kozhakattais for breakfast especially with the beloved kozhakattai story.

I made these kozhakattais with converted rice aka parboiled rice, Uncle Ben's, etc.   Plain raw rice rava may be used as well. You don't have to grind the rice, finely broken rice known as Idli Rava is readily available in Indian markets.

Ingredients:

2 cups Converted Rice rava (Idli Rava)
1/2 cup coconut, grated
1 tsp Salt
Chutneys to serve - Coconut, Sweet Potato I or II

Thalippu/Tadka:

1 Tbsp oil
1/2 tsp Brown Mustard Seeds
1 Tbsp Chana Dal
1 Tbsp Urad Dal
1 Dry Red Chile
1 stalk Curry leaves, minced
1 pinch Asafoetida (Optional)

Method:

Place the rava in a bowl and cover with 2 cups of fresh water. Allow to soak for about 3 - 4 hours.

Prepare the tadka: Heat the oil in a large kadai/skillet and add the mustard seeds, dals and chile; when the mustard starts popping and the dals turn pinkish gold, stir in the asafoetida. Remove from heat and add the curry leaves.

Stir in the soaked rice along with the salt, coconut, and a cup of water; cook stirring until the mixture thickens and a stiff dough forms.  Let cool covered for about 30 minutes or so.

When cool enough to handle, form into smallish oval balls and place in a single layer in a steamer; wetting your hands with cool water once in a while helps to keep from getting sticky when rolling the dough into balls.

Cover and steam over boiling water for about 15 minutes; let cool for 10 minutes undisturbed.

Serve warm or cool with coconut or one of the sweet potato chutneys. Enjoy!!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Sweet Potatoes With Spicy Streusel (Shakkara Valli Kizhangu Poduthul)

Cream colored sweet potatoes work best for this dish; the orange ones with their higher moisture content get a bit mushy. Serve this delicious dish as a side dish with freshly cooked rice, Simple or Authentic Sambar or any kind of kuzhambu like Whole Mung With Basella for a lovely meal.  I like them as a nice snack too!

2 - 4 Servings

Ingredients:

2 large Cream colored Sweet Potatoes
1 pinch Turmeric
1 Tbsp uncooked raw rice
1/2 tsp Fenugreek Seeds
1 or 2 dry Red Chile
1/2 tsp Sea Salt

Thalippu/Tadka:
1 tsp Oil
1/2 tsp Brown Mustard seeds
1 Tbsp split, skinless Urad dal
1 or 2 hot green or red chile
1 pinch Asafetida
1 stem fresh Curry Leaves, minced

Method:

Dry roast the rice, fenugreek and dry chiles in a small pan until rice is golden and slightly puffed; cool and then grind coarsely.

Wash and trim the sweet potatoes; it is not necessary to peel them but you may if you wish.  Cut them into 1/2" chunks/cubes.

Heat the oil in a kadai/wok or other suitable pan and add the mustard and urad; when urad turns pinkish, add the chile, asafetida and then the curry leaves.

Stir in the potato cubes, salt and turmeric; cook covered over medium heat until just beginning to be tender. Stir once in a while to make sure the veggies cook evenly without burning.

Sprinkle a couple of spoonfuls of water while the veggies are cooking to ensure that they do not dry out.

Sprinkle the rice mixture over the veggies, stir to coat well, and cook covered over low heat for about 5 minutes.

Turn off the heat and rest undisturbed for about 5 to 10 minutes.

Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature. Enjoy!!