p Box o' Spices: May 2007

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Coconut-mint rice

I am a big fan of any flavored/spiced rice made with basmati. Biryani,Vegetable rice, tomato rice, ghee rice you name it. If you serve me ten dishes and biryani was one of them, then biryani is all I would be eating. I was looking for a simple and easy rice that would go well with chicken curry. I found this coconut rice on En Veetu Samayal that was just perfect. It was so quick and easy.. no grinding, not much chopping... but turned out so flavorful. The only changes I made were I added some curry leaves. and fried some cashewnuts in ghee and added at the end. And yea... we had a power cut and so I made it in the pressure cooker. And I forgot to add turmeric pwd..hence the difference in color.

Basmati Rice: 1 large cup (240 ml)
Water: 2 cups (480 ml)
Onion: 1 large. sliced thin
mint leaves: about 10 chopped
Curry leaves: 6-8 chopped
Coriander leaves: few chopped
coconut powder: 2 tsp
ginger-garlic paste: 1 tsp
green chili: 1-2 chopped fine
cashewnuts: a few
jeera: 1/2 tsp, cinnamon: 1 inch, Cloves:3-4, Cardamon:2

Heat some oil, add the spices. Then add the onion and saute till tender. Add ginger garlic, chilies, and the 3 herbs. After a minute add the rice and mix well. Dissolve the coconut powder in the water and add. Add salt to taste, mix well and pressure cook for two whistles and allow the pressure to subside naturally. Meanwhile heat some ghee and fry broken cashewnuts. Add the cashewnuts to the rice, mix gently and serve. This goes well with spicy chicken curry or kurma.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Cauliflower poriyal

One of those quickie side dishes where the main vegetable is allowed to highlight the taste of the dish.


Cauliflower. chopped into 1cm pieces: 1 cup
Onions. chopped fine: 1 cup
powders - coriander, jeera, garam masala, red chili : to taste (i use like 1/4 tsp of each and about 1/2 tsp of chili powder)
jeera: 1/2 tsp
salt, curry leaves and coriander leaves

Heat some oil, add the jeera, onions and fry well.
Add the powders and salt. After a couple of minutes add the gobi. Mix well.
On high heat, add about 1/2 cup of water. Cook for a few minutes until water has evaporated and the cauliflower is soft. Add the chopped curry and coriander leaves and cook for a few more minutes until some of the gobi has browned.
Serve as a side with rice. Also makes a tasty sandwich filling.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Hyderabadi Mirchi Ka Salan

It has been over 2 months since I blogged. I dont know, I think I just got involved in so many other things and have been taking it easy in the kitchen. My husband and I joined a nice gym here and have been working out. Once you get into a routine it sort of becomes an obsession. And I think food (read eating, craving, cooking and constantly thinking about) has taken a back seat. Eating out, which was one of the things we lived for, suddenly didnt seem like such a big deal. Counting calories and trying to eat healthy, working out just changes the entire lifestyle. You know what it takes to see 200 calories burnt on the treadmill. And when you know one cookie can erase that in a matter of seconds... a cookie is not just a cookie anymore. All this combined with other time consuming things like a full time job for instance. And not to mention house hunting. Hmmm.. house hunting in India... now that's a whole another blog entry worth topic. I will save it for another time.

Now being in Hyderabad I have been eating a lot of Hyderabadi biryani. And with biryani they always serve Mirchi Ka Salan. At first I didnt like the taste of it. It has a slightly burnt, and a somewhat strong flavor to it. But I guess it is an acquired taste, and now biryani sort of seems incomplete without it. My husband also likes it with plain rice. We just got some of the long green chilies and I looked up some recipes online. Almost everyone seems to have blogged it. I picked this recipe from En Ulagam just judging by the color and texture of the dish in the picture. I made some modifications though. I didnt have a major ingredient - sesame seeds. I replaced it with cashewnuts. I also added about a tbsp of grated coconut and few shallots which were not part of the recipe.

Long green chilies 15-20
Onion: 1 medium. chopped
Curry and coriander leaves
Tamarind paste: 1 tsp

For the masala paste
Sesame seeds: 1/4 cup (I used 1/4 cup cashewnuts instead.. and it tasted great)
Grated coconut: 1 tbsp
Jeera: 1 tbsp
Coriander seeds: 1 tbsp
Red chilies: 4
Shallots: 4-5
Ginger: 1/2 inch
8 cloves garlic (small)
Roasted peanuts: 1/2 cup

Roast the top 4 ingredients and grind to paste along with the rest of the ingredients.
Slit the chilies on one side and remove seeds. (If you are adventurous, you could use the whole chili as is with the stem on.) Heat some oil and fry the chilies. Keep aside.
Heat some oil and add mustard, jeera, curry leaves. Fry the chopped onions till brown. Add the masala paste, some turmeric powder and water. Cook for a couple of minutes. Add 1 tsp tamarind paste and the fried chilies. Cook on medium heat for about 10 min. Add chopped coriander leaves.
We had it for dinner with steamed white rice. But it also tastes great with rotis or biryani.

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