Purple Rice Bowl – Chinese Style

I love vegetable markets. The kind where hawkers lure you with freshest produce, holler and vie for your attention, call out with all zest and confidence to take a quick ‘dekko’ at their treasures. I love to shop here.

Purple Rice Bowl - Chinese Style

Purple Rice Bowl – Chinese Style

And in contrast we have the big uber cool fancy supermarkets which would get me all excited but mostly turned a dampner once entered. These stores are huge, catering to everything imaginable, from a match box to a television. Not to mention, groceries, produce and exotic imported vegetables and fruits. The produce particularly makes me regret coming to the stores and not going to the nearest vegetable markets. One chance view of their godowns/storehouses and the pathetic conditions in which the extra produce is stored, left me cringing for days.

Little Rice Bowls

Little Rice Bowls

But of course, supermarkets versus hawker markets is a topic of debate to which we rather not get into now.
Because now is the turn of this wonderful purply rice bowl that I quickly fixed for dinner tonight. One of the many mellifluous hawkers sold this to me in spite of profuse refusals. But he insisted on the ‘freshness and quality’. So I gave in to his selling strategy but only to pleasantly discover the truth in his words.

Scallion leaves are a must

Scallion leaves are a must

A crisp bright colored cabbage actually calls for some fresh salad. But you know my intermittent relationship with salads. So I quit thinking of raw options and ventured into my most comfortable and favorite territory. Chinese 🙂

Yes, Chinese styled rice, laced with minimal sauces, garnished with scallion leaves – made a delightful dinner!

Say it with color

Say it with color

The Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rice, boiled so that each grain is separate
  • 3/4th cup purple cabbage, chopped fine
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 6-7 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tiny piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1-2 tbsp green chili sauce – vary according to your taste
  • salt and pepper powder to taste
  • 2 tbsp scallion/spring onion leaves, minced

Method

In a wok, heat oil, stir fry ginger, garlic and onions, preferably on high, stir frying all the time. Keep the chopped cabbage ready. Once the onions turn translucent, throw in the cabbage along with salt. Stir fry and saute till 3/4th done. Try to keep the cabbage a wee bit crunchy.

Add vinegar, green chili sauce, pepper and rice. Mix well. Garnish with scallion leaves.

Serve hot with pan braised veggies or simply some Schezwan Sauce.

Subtle Flavors

Subtle Flavors

I made some pan braised veggies, but could not get pictures for the same.
Using vegetables like onion, bell peppers, broccoli, carrot, baby corn and bok choy, I saute them in oil along with loads of garlic and season them with little salt, pepper and vinegar. Thats it.
They made a perfect colorful accompaniment to my subtle flavored rice.

Purple Passion

Purple Passion

This is a handy recipe if you have:

  • left over rice
  • a ravenous stomach
  • no time
  • fussy taste buds craving something yummy all the time

And oh I forgot, a nice fresh purple cabbage is also required 😉

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Corn Rice – Chinese Style

Corn Rice - Chinese Way!

Corn Rice – Chinese Way!

Chinese is my comfort food. And so is rice. So Chinese styled Rice, with fresh succulent sweet corn thrown in, as you can guess, will be absolutely divine!

I made this for dinner the other day, and Milee and her imaginary friends(Doraemon, Ganesha and Emily) all joined in for a bite. The kid usually eats all her veggies with an exception for a few… like corn kernels and peas. A whole corn on the cob will be devoured with loads of butter and lime, but corn pearls in food is refused by the fuss-pot. So, I had to pick out the kernels from her rice and I got an extra dose of it in mine!

Scallions add amazing flavor.. so don't skip it.

I kept it simple, without adding too many sauces. Just a little bit soy and a dash of vinegar. With each bite, distinct flavors tickled the taste buds.

Colorful Melange

Colorful Melange

Simple, Quick Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 and a half cup boiled rice, each grain separate
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels
  • 1/4 cup carrot, chopped
  • 1/4 cup bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 big onion, minced
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, minced
  • a small piece of ginger, minced
  • 3-4 green chilies, minced… vary to taste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 tbsp chopped spring onion/scallions leaves
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp vinegar

Method

First and foremost, cool the boiled rice.
In a skillet, heat oil. Saute minced garlic, ginger, green chilies and onions. Stir fry on high. Add peppers at this stage, stir frying all the time. Then throw in the corn kernels and chopped carrot. Saute till 3/4th done. We like the crunch in the veggies. Stir in the soy and vinegar. Salt and pepper. Add rice. Mix gently.

Season with chopped scallion leaves. Lots of scallion leaves. Serve hot!

Comfort food for me.

Comfort food for me.

Soya Nutri Veg Pulao

Soya vegetable Pilaf

Soya vegetable Pilaf

High protein soya chunks when combined with fresh vegetables in mint gravy rice, is heaven. Trust me on this. This guilt free indulgence is one power packed highly satisfying meal. Great for an ideal sunday lunch.

Great Aroma, Great colors and Great Flavour

Great Aroma, Great colors and Great Flavour

Along with a bowl of cool onion raita, some papad and spicy indian lime/mango pickle, this is a complete satisfying lunch.

Yummy Lunch.

Yummy Lunch.

Without further ado, lets get to work:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rice, cooked so that each grain is separate.
  • 1/2 cup soya mini chunks, boiled.
  • 1 cup assorted mixed vegetables, chopped and parboiled. I used carrot, beans, potato, cauliflower
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • whole spices – 2 cardamoms, 2 cloves, 1 star aniseed, 1 large bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp oil/ghee
  • Serving suggestions: Onion Raita

To be ground into a paste:

  • 1 onion,
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves
  • a handful of coriander leaves n stalk
  • 2 cloves
  • a small piece of cinnamon
  • 3-4 pods of garlic
  • 3-4 green chilies – optional, change according to your level of spice
  • a small piece of coconut
  • 2 tbsp curds

For the soya chunks: salt turmeric and red chili powder to marinate.

Method

Keep your rice and soya chunks boiled and ready. Prepare the ground paste with the mentioned ingredients. Earlier I used the soya nuggets just boiled, but recently I found this method, where you marinate your boiled soya with little salt, turmeric and red chili powder. keep aside for 15 minutes and then roast in pan with very minimal oil. The soya chunks brown to perfection and have this crunchy bite to them. Tastes better.

Now, in a deep heavy bottomed pan or a big kadai, heat oil/ghee. Once hot, throw in the whole spices, and a minute later, the onions. After they turn pinkish, pour the ground paste into the melange and saute real well. Now add the tomato along with turmeric, coriander powder and salt. Mix well. let is again simmer for 4-5 minutes or till the tomato gets mushy. Now add the vegetables. cover and cook for 5 minutes or so. Once done. Add the cooled rice and roasted soya nuggets. Mix well with gentle hands taking care not to break the rice. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with chilled raita and some savoury like pappad, chips or chaklis.

Yea, I know, this looks tedious, but the end result is so worth it. If you wanna enjoy the rice without sweating it out, there is a one pot version of the same.

Cool Raita to go with aromatic soya pulao

Cool Raita to go with aromatic soya pulao

Note: I used kolam rice, but basmati rice can be used for more flavour and richer texture.

One Pot Version: In a deep pot, after sauteing the whole spices, onion and green ground paste, you can add raw chopped veggies, tomatoes, along with the said masalas, salt and raw rice. Add 2 cups of water. Cover and cook till the rice is done and vegetables tender. If need arises, add water appropriately. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve hot with cold raita.

Nutrition and Taste

Nutrition and Taste

Burnt Garlic Veg Fried Rice

Chinese is my most favorite cuisine. When we were growing up, we had only two kinds of exotic food to choose from – chinese and burger/pizza junk( yea, way back, Pizzas and burgers were thought of as exotic …dont ROFL now).

Burnt Garlic Veg Fried Rice

Burnt Garlic Veg Fried Rice

Indian chinese is a modified tweaked version of the authentic. Spiced up and sauced up, the Indian version literally yells out to your palette!!

I made this wonderful aromatic fried rice with lots of minced veggies and an extra dose of burnt garlic for that amazing flavor. Teamed it with exotic veggies in a hot sauce, and the complete meal beckoned us with unabashed greed.

Colorful and Flavorful

Colorful and Flavorful

Avoid the MSG, keep it simple and healthy.

Avoid the MSG, keep it simple and healthy.

Usually I do my cutting and chopping while the onions get sautéed, but not for Chinese. Please remember to always keep your veggies chopped and ready for use before putting that wok on fire! Quick sauteing on high flame is the trick for most chinese dishes.

Since I was combining the rice with a hot soy sauce vegetable, I skipped adding sauces to the rice. This way, you get to enjoy the right flavors from the right source.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rice, washed, soaked, cooked so that each grain is separate and cooled.
  • 8-10 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced or chopped
  • 2-3 green chilies, minced
  • 1 tiny piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 2-3 green spring onions, minced
  • 1 cup thinly minced vegetables, like carrot, beans, bell peppers and peas
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp oil
  • Optional: chopped mushrooms

Method

Keep your vegetables all chopped and ready. Heat a light chinese wok, add oil. Once hot, saute the garlic till they turn golden brown. Remove half the garlic, keep aside. Now, throw in the ginger green chili, onions and the white part of spring onions. Saute all on high.

Then add your minced veggies, along with salt. Keep frying on a high flame till almost done. We like our veggies with that extra crunch and bite, so we leave it at 80% done. Add rice, along with spring onion greens, burnt garlic and pepper powder.

Mix well with gentle hands. Take care not to smash the rice.
Serve with any chinese style vegetable or paneer.

Ni Hao.

Ni Hao.

Satisfies those ravenous hunger pangs.

Satisfies those ravenous hunger pangs.


Note:
I avoided the MSG and any other extra sodium, and still the end result rocked.

Burnt Garlic kicks Taste buds!

Burnt Garlic kicks Taste buds!

Lemon Rice

I had some leftover rice from lunch today, and while racking my brains for dinner, I decided to use the rice for something lime n lemony!
Lemon Rice is a very karnataka dish. I have vivid memories of my mother and my friend’s mothers preparing it in a jiffy. Mildly seasoned with curry leaves, little lentils and of course lime, it’s a simple dish. If u already have cooked rice, doesn’t take more than 10 minutes to make this. Full of zest and flavors, the smell enticing, the recipe a keeper.

Lemon Rice

Lemon Rice

I have used onions and garlic, but if you like, you can skip the onion-garlic, and continue the recipe as it is.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of cooked rice, each grain separate
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • a tiny piece of ginger, crushed
  • 1 big onion, chopped
  • 3 green chili, slit lengthwise
  • 4-5 curry leaves
  • ½ tsp urad dal
  • ½ tsp channa dal
  • 2 dry red chilies
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • a pinch of asafoetida
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • Juice of one lime
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • to garnish: chopped coriander leaves, a little bit scraped coconut and roasted peanuts

Method

Heat oil in a kadai. When hot, add channa dal and urad dal. Saute till brown.
Throw in the mustard seeds, dry red chilies, asafoetida, onions, garlic, ginger, curry leaves and green chilies. Fry till the onions turn pink. Now add the cooked rice, turmeric and salt. Mix well.

Switch the flame off. Add lime juice, chopped coriander and grated coconut. Mix well. I didn’t have any peanuts with me, so I had to skip that part. But peanuts is like the cherry on your cake. So throw in some.
Serve hot with pickle and curds.

Lime n Lemony.

Lime n Lemony.

Note: Lime juice tends to turn bitter if it’s over heated. So always add lime juice to your food, after switching the flame off.
Note: The level of spice and salt is to be altered according to your taste.

Earthy n Simple.

Earthy n Simple.

Vegetable Biryani

With time on my hands, and sweet desire to fill my sundays with love, laughter and fabulous food, I toyed with the idea of making Biryani. This rich layered moghlai rice is a wonderful combination of fragrant rice, vegetables, curry with a bit of dried fruits and caramelized onions. Yumm! My whole house was radiating with the gorgeous aromas of whole spices, basmati rice and of course ghee. This amalgam of marinated vegetables, rice, spices and dollops of ghee is food fit for royalty.

Traditionally a biryani is usually meat based and is cooked on “dum” that is covered-sealed well in a clay pot and cooked over steaming hot coals for a long long time. The aromas are trapped inside the clay pot, which add to the rice and meat cooking inside it. This a purely vegetarian cooking site, so I have made the biryani with vegetables and for the “dum”, we have used an oven. Considering the exorbitant flavours, of course you need to invest time into making this luxurious rice. Please do not venture with 15 minutes on your watch. This is not something which will be ready in a jiffy.

I have tried my favorite celeb chef, Tarla Dalal’s recipe. I have tweaked it slightly to our taste and liking. So on that note… what are we waiting for? A Sunday? Lets get started.

Rich and Flavorful

Rich and Flavorful

Ingredients

  • 1 cup basmati rice, soaked in water for 5-10 minutes
  • 1 cardamom
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 star aniseed
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 pinch of saffron strand, soaked and rubbed in 1 tsp of milk
  • 7-8 cashewnuts
  • 8-9 raisins
  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 capsicum, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups mixed boiled vegetables, like carrot, beans, peas, potato, cauliflower
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
  • a little milk
  • 4 tbsp ghee
  • salt to taste

To be ground into a paste

  • 6 cloves of garlic, a tiny piece of ginger
  • 2 cardamoms
  • 4 green chilies
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 onions
  • 6 mint leaves

For baking
2 tbsp ghee

Method

Boil the rice with 1 cardamom, 2 cloves and salt. Each grain of the cooked rice should be separate. Drain and cool. Pour the saffron strands over it and mix with gentle fingers.

Heat the ghee and fry the onions until brown. Remove the onions and in the same ghee, add the cashew nuts and raisins and fry for a few seconds. Remove and keep aside for decoration.
In the same ghee, add the paste and fry for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and capsicum and fry again for 2 to 3 minutes. If you like, sprinkle a little water. Add the boiled vegetables and coriander and cook for a while.

Now, Put 2 tablespoons of ghee at the bottom of a baking bowl. Make layers of the rice and vegetables, beginning and ending with rice. Sprinkle a little milk on top. Cover with a foil and bake in a hot oven at 200 degree C (400 degree F) for 15 to 20 minutes.

Right out of the oven.

Right out of the oven.

Serving Tips:
Just before serving, turn upside down on a serving plate, garnish with fried onions, cashew nuts and raisins and serve hot. Accompaniments are usually cucumber tomato raitha, thin onion rings and something crunchy like a papad or potato chips.

Zoomin In

Zoomin In

Pongal

The husband gave up food 3 days back. Unusual weight gain was the culprit. As luck would have it, I’ve landed myself with a case of excessive extremism. My objection was deemed, un supportive, so I shut my case. I let nature take it’s course.
But 3 days without food was enough to put the hungry back into track. He asked for something to “eat”. I silently heaved a sigh of relief, careful not to belittle his accomplishment, I suggested various healthy alternatives to break the fast.
After careful deliberation, he whispered, “pongal”.

An ideal breakfast

An ideal breakfast

Pongal is a south indian rice and lentil porridge or khichdi. It is minimally spiced smeared with the goodness of ghee. Being light on the digestive tract, it’s usually fed to all age groups, be it a 6 month old baby or an ailing 80 year old. Hing or asafoetida imparts a wonderful flavour to this soft slightly mashed, highly nutritious tamilian breakfast.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup raw rice, washed, and soaked
  • 1/2 cup split yellow mung dal
  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 tbsp of ghee
  • 10 to 15 of whole peppercorns
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  • Hing – 1 pinch
  • Cashew nuts – 10 to 15 broken
  • Ginger – 1 teaspoons finely minced
  • Curry leaves – 5-7 leaves
  • 2-3 dry red chilies
  • Salt
  • 1 medium sized piece of coconut, grated
  • Garnish: Chopped coriander

Method

Firstly, wipe the mung dal with a cloth. In a pan, heat ghee. Once hot, throw in the cumin seeds, red chilies, curry leaves, asafoetida, whole peppercorns and the dry wiped mung dal. Saute till the dal turns into a slightly darker shade of yellow. Now add the grated coconut, rice, water and salt. Pressure cook for 2-3 whistles. Else, cook in a pan, till it is of mashable consistency. Once done, remove in a bowl, garnish with chopped coriander and top it again with ghee.

Roast the cashew nuts in slight ghee or just toast them. Use it as a garnish or throw in the pongal and mix well.

To serve: you could serve it with coconut chutney or with cucumber raitha or simply with a bowl of curds.

Healthy, Light and Yummy. Ideal for breakfasts. It’s filling and gives you enough energy to last a good couple of hours.

It gives me inexplicable satisfaction to see my family well fed and well taken care of. When wholesome food like a simple humble pongal makes way into the systems of my loved ones, I relax and repose. At least for some time. Let my worries, worry me later.

A South Indian Delicacy

A South Indian Delicacy