Tricolored Baked Rice Casserole

Representing the Indian Flag

Representing the Indian Flag

“Are you ever going to post the tricolour rice or no?”, She seemed nettled.
“Er.. but it’s so late, I could tell you now, on the phone” I sputtered.
“No, no time! Put it up and I will catch it in between work’ And she bangs the phone.

My sister – younger, smarter and definitely more headstrong than I have ever been, always gets her work done, somehow! No one says no to her, she makes sure of that. She thinks its her tenacious personality that gets it done when in real we do what she says because we love her. But we let her think otherwise ;).

Indian Independence Day was on August 15th. And I am 12 days late. But like the sister exhorts – Tis better to be late than not post at all. So I put this up now. For one, because she badgered me for a detailed recipe. And for the fact that this one is worth posting!

Creamy healthy and totally delicious

Creamy healthy and totally delicious

So like how it happens every morning of 15th August, we were getting ready for our National Flag hoisting. The child was excited. More so, because she was going to sing a very patriotic song. She had been rehearsing for the past 10 days and had held captive any audience she could find to practise her crooning.

'Aao Bacho Tumhe Dikhaayen'

‘Aao Bacho Tumhe Dikhaayen’

In between adjusting a tricolour sash, combing her hair, sticking various tricolored pictures on her skirt, she spoke persistently and tirelessly. Of matters mundane and routine. And then suddenly she squealed in delight, turned to me and said.. why don’t you make some lunch which is tricolour. I will call Saancha and Sanjana and you can take pictures too for your blog. Now, the picture bit was her act of luring me to make something fancy.

Our lunch was patriotic indeed but in return I got her to get rid of all the gaudy stickers she piled on her skirt 😉

Yumm

Yumm

Rice enveloped in creamy white sauce, dotted with carrot and beans, topped with an orange tomato marinara and a spicy spinach coriander puree, and finished with soft cheese – whats not to like in this! It is creamy soft pillowy flavourful and a delight in every bite. Worth a try, anytime!

Enjoy it with some fresh baked bread

Enjoy it with some fresh baked bread

The recipe –

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rice, boiled al dente. Brown Rice works beautifully, but I was going tricolour remember, so I chose to stick to white.
  • 1/2 cup minced carrot-beans and a few peas
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • green chill sauce – optional.
  • 4 tbsp grated cheddar or mozzarella cheese
  • For the Orange Marinara: 3 medium-sized tomatoes, blanched whole in hot water. 5/6 pods of garlic, 3 whole red chilies or kashmiri red chilies, salt and pepper to taste, 1 tsp oregano. 1 tsp olive oil.

    For the Spinach Puree: 1 big bunch of spinach leaves, washed-blanched. 3 green chilies, a tiny piece of ginger, a pinch of sugar and salt.

    Method

    For the Rice:
    Heat butter in a wok, stir fry the vegetables till almost done. Add flour. Saute it as it coats the veggies. Pour milk, mix till the milk thickens. Add boiled rice, salt, pepper, green chill sauce if using. The white sauce will envelope the rice.This taste good as it is!

    For the Spinach Puree:
    Grind blanched spinach, along with salt, sugar, green chilies and ginger till smooth. You can adjust the quantity of the green chilies according to your taste. Keep aside.

    For the Orange Marinara:
    In a wok, heat oil, sauté garlic and red chilli. Add coarsely smashed blanched tomatoes. Season with salt, pepper and oregano. Cook covered on low heat till oil leaves sides. cool the mixture and grind to a fine orange paste. This marinara can be stored in the refrigerator for 3/4 days and is used as pizza toppings or in pastas/noodles or rice.

    Assembling:

    In a butter greased baking dish or casserole, make alternate layers of marinara, rice and spinach puree. Finally garnish with grated cheese. Bake at 200 C for 15 minutes or till the cheese melts and golden dots appear.

    Note: I didn’t do the traditional layering coz I wanted the tricolour pattern, I lay the rice and then poured the sauces to replicate the Indian National Flag.

    flavors all

    flavors all

    Ludicrous interpretation of the colours made me go wide-eyed with shock though amidst peals of incessant laughter. The girls all had appalling insight on this subject! The sublimity of the beautiful colours on our flag was then preached and lectured while their plates were licked clean!

    Courage, Peace and Prosperity

    Courage, Peace and Prosperity

    I am taking this to Angie’s 31st Friday Fiesta! Do pop over to see some delicious recipes!

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    Red Bean Paneer Ginger Pomegranate Salad

    Rajma, paneer, ginger pomegranate Salad

    Rajma, paneer, ginger pomegranate Salad

    Sometime back, dishing up a salad was just tossing cucumbers and tomatoes generously sprinkled with lime and chaat masala. Not anymore. Not when I strive to eat huge big bowls of raw eats and wrack my brain to include assorted new vegetables and some form of protein. Most of the times I am successful and there have been times when I have been horribly let down. But lets not talk about the dampeners. I am here to give you a wonderful protein rich salad recipe that I concocted on a whim!

    Protein rich!

    Protein rich!

    I used red kidney beans. Soaked them well for over 5/6 hours, and boiled in a pot full of salted water, they added body to the salad bowl. The nutty soft texture from the beans laced with crunchy raw veggies makes for a succulent combination.

    Boiled and ready

    Boiled and ready

    A handful of these red pearly shiny fruit elevates the acidic salty salad to another level. Always add a citrus fruit. Some fruit, any fruit – orange segments, berries, kiwis, apples, cherries etc. The list is huge. But for now, pomegranates it is.

    These pearls add the required sweet and tartness

    These pearls add the required sweet and tartness

    Beans are slow to digest and if not boiled or chewed well, they can cause a lot of heartburn, acidity and stomach ache. So I added julienne ginger pickled in salt and lime juice as a bit of garnishing. Ginger aids in digestion and helps in absorption and assimilation of essential nutrients. Ginger is highly pungent so a little bit is enough for your salad bowl. Feel free to skip it if you can’t tolerate the sharpness.

    pickled ginger

    pickled ginger

    Mint!! Who doesn’t love mint! Its refreshing. Its aromatic. Its healthy. So, I added loads 🙂

    lots of it!!

    lots of it!!

    The Recipe: For two people –

    Ingredients

    1 cup boiled red kidney beans or rajma

    1/2 cup diced cottage cheese or paneer

    1 cucumber, diced

    1 red onion, diced

    1 tomato, diced

    2 tsp ginger julienne – soaked in little lime and salt for 30 minutes.

    1/2 cup pomegranate

    3 tbsp mint leaves, chopped

    For the vinaigrette – mix 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil, juice of 1 lime, 1 tsp honey, salt and pepper to taste.

    Optional: 1 tsp more oil to sauté the cheese if you do not like it as is.

    Method

    Saute the paneer/cottage cheese if required. Mix all said ingredients except the vinaigrette. chill for 30 minutes. Pour the limey dressing over it. Toss. Chill for another 10 minutes.

    Serve.

    lemony dressing

    lemony dressing

    I like the paneer as it is, but I know many who don’t. A bit of sautéing or grilling does the trick to include it in your salads.

    She takes a bite

    She takes a bite

    When I sit with my bowl of raw veggies, I fish for my favourites and relish the juices from the marinated fruits and vegetables. Flavors like these make me go back every single night to these huge enticing bowls. So yumm!

    I am taking this to Angie Weekly Potluck party – Friday Fiesta #30!

    Greek Salad, Improvised!

    Greek Salad - my take :)

    Greek Salad – my take 🙂

    While the world trips on quinoa and chia and gluten free and muesli and sunflower seeds and what not, I stare at my pantry and realise I am yet to go there and do that. So, whats stopping me?

    The availability? Naah.. big huge supermarkets in one of the biggest cosmopolitan city of India, can’t make that excuse!

    Recipes? I am a food blogger!! I have blogger friends dishing out super food made with super ingredients and fantastic recipes.. for God’s sake, I can’t run with that either!

    Sigh.. so what is it. Friends, I am just lazy. Terribly lazy and the fact that I think I get enough nutrition from what we eat on a regular basis is a huge hindrance to my foray into this new health food world.

    Walnuts for that extra crunch

    Walnuts for that extra crunch

    I plan to change all that. Buying a small pack is all that it’ll take to throw me into the bandwagon and then I know I will be hooked for a long time to come.
    But for now that can wait, because with the most basic ingredients available in any kitchen I made a fairly popular though simple robust tasty salad. The recipe is so straight that I could have easily tweeted or instagrammed it, but no. This needs to be chronologized. It deserves a post. 🙂

    Vinaigrette

    Vinaigrette

    Greek salad is a very rustic summer salad made with tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, a bit of feta and some kalamata olives. Dressing is of vinegar-olive oil seasoned with salt, pepper and oregano. Now this is a basic Greek salad formula. What I did, I improvised it, added some more weight to it.. 😉

    The vinaigrette was spiced and flavoured with minced green chilies and coriander leaves. Feta was replaced by regular paneer or cottage cheese. Broken bits of walnut added the much required crunch and yes.. that’s pretty much it.

    my instagram upload

    my instagram upload

    Ingredients

    • 1/2 cup diced cucumbers
    • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes, take firm red ripe ones
    • 1/4 cup diced onions
    • Few lettuce leaves
    • Whole pitted olives – as many as you like or skip it altogether
    • 1/4 cup crumbled paneer or cottage cheese or feta
    • 2 tbsp of broken walnut or pine nuts or almonds or peanuts

    For the Spicy Vinaigrette –

    • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
    • 1 tsp vinegar
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • a pinch of sugar
    • 1 green chill minced
    • 2 tbsp coriander leaves minced

    Method

    To make the dressing – mix all the ingredients of the vinaigrette and whisk thoroughly. Keep aside. In a big salad bowl, take all your vegetables, except the nuts. Mix. Pour the dressing over it. Gently mix. Refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

    When ready to serve, top with toasted nuts.

    Goodness in a bowl

    Goodness in a bowl

    Note: You can skip/avoid any ingredient you don’t like. I did that to olives. Yeh.. not a big olive fan!

    Note: Feta is creamier and softer, but our very Indian Malai paneer proves to be a good match to it. Try it.

    Note: Use green chilies according to its level of heat and your own discretion

    Of forks, ladles and spoons...

    Of forks, ladles and spoons…

    The very lovely Angie has been hosting a virtual potluck bloggers party and in spite of being invited long back, I am attending the festivities now! This post is being linked to Angie’s Fiesta Friday #23.

    I have been instagrammed!!
    Very recently I signed up for an instagram account: namrata_mft. If you would like a peek into my daily life, add me!

    -Namrata

    Thin Crust Classic Margherita – 100% whole wheat!!

    An impromptu picnic at the very beautiful Kanheri Caves(Mumbai), relentless rain, a homely sweet birthday party, hot steaming cups of chai, some sweet succulent corn on the cobs and a very runny nose – the weekend just zooms away. Before it fully whooshed past, I grabbed the chance to make some very healthy crisp thin-crust Margherita!

    Divine Bite

    Divine Bite

    A confession – I have never been a fan of pizza – don’t worry, I’m real.
    When we were growin up, pizza hut made its presence felt loud and clear. I still remember my first bite, the when and the where… a brand new sleek looking pizza shop on Cunningham Road. An afternoon out with friends. We- a bunch of teens, eager to try the enticing cheesy gooey triangle, with barely 100 bucks in our tiny pockets. All smiles and chatty till I have my first bite! And oh! how I disliked the doughy mass gulped with gallons of coke. I was so upset – (more with the fact that I just wasted my precious money on something so highly distasteful!).

    Tempting triangles

    Tempting triangles

    Seven years back, a tiny quaint little pizzeria in Times Square of NYC transformed my charred taste buds. Super thin crust – fresh simple ingredients, incredible flavors and the fact that I could eat with my fingers… (pick,fold and bite!) was a revelation to me. That one huge slice satiated and more than made up for all the years that I had given it all up for. Since then I have been eating this ultimate deliciousness but of course on my terms and conditions 🙂

    Fresh Basil to garnish

    Fresh Basil to garnish

    This(Blogging) wonderful medium has introduced me to new people, new cuisines, awesome photography and of course stupendous new recipes! I stumbled upon this very enticing formula to make whole wheat pizza sans the refinery, using very little ingredients and emphasizing the simplicity of the procedure. I had to bookmark it. With ingredients readily available in your pantry, a classic thin crust margherita can be created, all you need is – Time.

    So simple

    So simple

    The Recipe:

    Ingredients

    For the pizza dough:

    • 2 and 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
    • 2 and 1/2 tsp yeast
    • 2 tsp sugar
    • salt according to taste
    • luke warm water
    • 1 tbsp olive oil

    For the Assembly:

    • 6-8 tbsp of pizza sauce
    • 8-9 tbsp of grated mozzarella cheese
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • chopped sweet basil to garnish

    Method

    For the Dough:
    Proof the yeast according to instructions on the pack. I have given a small tip at the end of the post. In a large mixing bowl, add flour, salt and 1 tsp sugar. Make a well in the center, add olive oil, proofed yeast and luke warm water to bind. Get all of it together. Knead for at least 5-6 minutes. Then in a well oiled bowl, place the kneaded dough and cover with a plastic film. Let the dough rise to double the volume. This takes approximately 2 hours.

    For the Assembly:
    Once done, preheat your oven to 250 degree C for 5-6 mins.
    Remove the cling film, punch the dough and grab a handful of it, and using extra flour roll it out or spread with your fingers to form a pizza base. Carefully pick the base and lay on a pre oiled parchment paper. Brush little olive oil on the base. Spread your desired quantity of pizza sauce and loads of grated mozzarella.

    Carefully pick the parchment paper, place in the pre heated oven and bake for 10-12 minutes at 200 degree C till the edges brown and cheese melted.

    Once done, remove. Stay for 5 minutes. Sprinkle chopped basil.

    Serve with seasoning n tabasco.

    Scrumptious Slice

    Scrumptious Slice

    Proofing the yeast: I dissolved 1/2 tsp sugar in 1/2 cup luke warm water. Then added 2 and 1/2 tsp of active dry yeast. Mixed it vigorously, till a pasty structure was formed. Covered and kept it aside for 10 minutes. After the said time, the yeast was all frothy and bubbled up. Ready to be used. Sorry I forgot to click it, I was way too excited to get going with the dough.

    Classic Easy Peasy Pizza Sauce: Heat olive oil, saute garlic(5-6 pods), 1 chopped onion, 3-4 dry red chilies, and 5-6 round fat ripe red tomatoes(skin peeled), along with 1/4 tsp sugar and salt to taste. Simmer for at least 30 minutes till the oil leaves the sides. Cool. Coarsely grind. Add oregano and 1 tbsp chopped basil. Ready to use!

    No cook super simple Pizza sauce: 1 cup tomato ketch up, 1 tbsp butter, 3 minced garlic, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp red chili flakes, salt and pepper to taste. Combine all together, microwave for a minute or two. Mix well. Use!! Its good.. seriously. When you don’t have time to make the original, this works like a dream.

    Link to the original: http://www.thecomfortofcooking.com/2013/05/100-whole-wheat-pizza-dough.html

    Simple comfort food

    Simple comfort food