Jan 16, 2010

Palak rice (medley of spinach and veggies with rice)

I know I was supposed to be blogging about Kerela, but I tried this recipe the other day and it came out so well that I could not resist blogging it. And then..well….monotony does get tedious :D. So here I am with my recipe for Palak rice with the promise that I’d be blogging about kerela too in my subsequent blogs.

Most of you must be familiar with the recipe for making Palak rice but I thought..well for those who don’t know it. And also I have found a healthy way of making it, preserving all the nutrients and maintaining the taste. The process maybe a wee bit tedious, but then Health ke liye…kuch bhi karega.. right?

Well then..here is the recipe.

The Ingredients:

Palak/Spinach – 1 large bunch or two small bunches.

Garlic pods – 4 to 5 deskinned

Coriander leaves – a handful

Cooked rice – enough for two people

Carrots – 1 medium sized chopped

Beans – 4 or 5 chopped

Green peas – a few optional ( I didn’t use green peas)

Potatoes – 2 chopped optional

Oil – for frying

Garam masalas:

Bay leaf-1 med

Cinnamon bark - 1” piece

Aniseed – 1

Pepper – 4 to 5

Elaichi – 2 to 3

Cumin/ jeera – ½ tsp

Onions – 2 to 3 peeled and quartered.

Green chillies – 3 to 4 cut to 1” pieces.

Dhania powder / coriander seed powder – ½ tsp

The method:

Spread the cooked rice on to a wide plate and keep aside to prevent the grains from sticking to each other.

The first step is to blanch the palak. For this, first separate the muddy part of the bunch of palak and wash thoroughly. Put some water in a vessel and bring it to boil. The water quaninty should be enough to immerse the palak leaves. You can retain a part of the stems along with the leaves as they are contain fibre. Now add the palak leaves to the boiling water, leave in for a minute, remove the leaves and drain them in cold water. This process helps in retaining the fresh green colour of the leaves and also stops the cooking process. Let the leaves cool down and now grind the leaves along with garlic pods and coriander leaves. Do not add too much water while grinding as we do not want a very runny consistency. It should be more or less like a paste. More water means more cooking time later and more loss of nutrients.

You can put the chopped veggies in the cooker along with rice to boil them. If you are a little more patient you can also boil them separately for a lesser time to maintain the food value.

Once all the ingredients are cooked and ready, we can start the actual process.

Heat oil in a kadhai. We need a bigger kadhai as the amount of rice is more and so it would be difficult to mix around. I would suggest using the rice cooker as an alternative.

To the heated oil, add the garam masalas. Once the aroma starts coming out, add the onions and fry well. When the onions start changing colour, add the green chillies and fry. Add some dhania powder and fry.

Add all the boiled vegetables and sauté for a minute or two. The vegetables are already boiled. So it would not take much time to cook them again.

To this mixture add the palak puree and cook for a minute till it loses its moisture, starts leaving oil and loses it raw smell. Add salt at this point and check seasoning.

Now add the cooked rice and mix well.

Be careful while mixing. We do not want the rice to break.

Cover and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. Check seasoning again. When you see that the rice has absorbed all the flavours and turned green, you can remove from the stove.

This rice can be eaten as it is or with raitha.

Jan 15, 2010

Healthy Kerela Vegetable Kurma

Hey guys.. good to see you again. TummyKhush is back with food for thought for you from Kerela :D.  Since there are lots of pics n stuff I am gonna share with you, I would be doing it in a series of blogs. To start off with.. a yummy Vegetable Kurma dish, very typical of Kerela cuisine. I borrowed this from the chef of an Ayurvedic resort where we had stayed in course of our journey. Apart from this my subsequent blogs would be showcasing lots of pictures reflecting the sights and smells (of food of course… :P) of Kerela. So here it comes… Vegetable kurma recipe straight out of the chef’s mouth (or pen if you wish :P).

The Ingredients:

Potatoes - ½ kg

Carrot – ½ kg

Beans – 1/4kg

Cauliflower – ¼ kg

Green peas – 100 gms

Tomatoes – ½ kg (chopped)

Onions – ½ kg (chopped)

Green chillies – 5 (chopped)

Mustard seeds – ½ tsp

Ginger - 1 inch piece (chopped or grated)

Garlic – 4 to 5 pods or as required (chopped)

Chilli powder - as required

Coriander powder – ½ tsp.

Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp

Pepper powder and salt- according to taste

Coconut milk – ½ glass

The Yummy Veg Kurma

The procedure:

Chop all the vegetables i.e., potatoes, carrots, beans, cauliflower. Add peas to this mixture and boil till soft but still form. Make sure that they don’t get mushy as this may spoil the texture of the kurma.

Heat some coconut oil or regular cooking oil in a kadhai and add mustard seeds. (coconut oil does add a degree of authenticity to the dish if you are willing to experiment).

When they start spluttering , add the onions, green chillies, garlic and tomato pieces and sauté well.

Now add the chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder and pepper powder and allow to fry for a minute.

Add little water to this mixture and bring to boil. Add the boiled vegetables to this mixture. Add salt check seasoning and allow a boil to make sure that all the spices and vegetables take each other’s flavours. Just before switching off the stove add coconut milk and stir on low flame. The dish should be handled very carefully at this point as the coconut milk may curdle. You can add chopped coriander and serve.

We had this kurma with rotis and it tasted very good. The curry was very mild and  the flavors of all the ingredients could be felt. It can be had with rice too depeding on your taste. So guys…. Do try it and lemme know what you thought.

And now some more pics from the resort....

Carving with utmost care...

Herbal plants being grown in the resort premises.

Will be back soon with more interesting stuff.....