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!

    Advertisements

    Spinach Indian Flatbread or Palak Parathas with Potato Saute

    You don’t really appreciate something unless it makes its presence felt in a loud clamoring manner.

    Color was never that important to me until my daughter was born. Fascinated by pink, attracted to red, intrigued by green.. colors are a very essential component of my little girl’s life.

    I was amazed how intrinsically she attributes her varied emotions to colors. Red is when she is in foul mood, yellow when feeling good, orange is funny and pink when happiest. Black and white are boring for the 6 year old, so they are never mentioned. There is no particular reasoning for her specifics… they just are.

    Palak ke parathe and sukhe alu ki sabzi

    Palak ke parathe and sukhe alu ki sabzi

    So along with crayons, dresses, shoes, furniture and other paraphernalia, we make sure the food is well colored too. Well, not one to use synthetic colors in our daily diet, we mothers usually satiate the child’s fancy in alternative ways. Nature is abundant, giving and generous.

    Green is in

    Green is in

    The color of the day was green so spinach it was! I made beetroot pink parathas some time back and the recipe was surely a winner. Similar but not same, these spinach or palak(in Hindi) parathas are soft, nutritious and yes Green 🙂

    Soft Perfect Rolls

    Soft Perfect Rolls

    Team it up with a simple potato saute and you are so good to go. A dry potato saute used to be a big hit in my mom’s house. It still is. Mother makes it with just some simple spices, boiled potatoes and lime juice! I could never replicate it.

    How good does that look?

    How good does that look?

    Spinach Parathas:

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup whole wheat flour or atta
    • 1 bunch of spinach, washed and blanched
    • 2-3 green chilies – optional
    • salt to taste
    • 1 tsp ajwain or carrom seeds
    • less than 1/4 tsp sugar – I mean very little
    • 2-3 cloves of garlic – optional
    • curds or yoghurt – if required
    • ghee/oil/butter for roasting the flatbread or parathas

    Method

    Blanch spinach. Grind it using no water with green chilies, garlic, salt and sugar. The paste should be smooth and fine. Not coarse.

    Take the flour in a big mixing bowl, make a well in the center, add the spinach puree along with salt for the flour and carrom seeds. Knead into a soft pliable dough. Chances are you will not need water or anything else to get the flour together. The puree will be enough, but just in case you do, try using spoonfuls of yoghurt or curds. Once done, knead well. Keep aside, covered for 30 minutes.

    Ready to be rolled

    Ready to be rolled

    Heat a flat griddle or tawa. Grab handfuls of the dough, roll them out into thin rounds. Place on hot tawa/griddle, and using very little oil/ghee/butter, roast from both sides.

    Serve with potato saute or caramelized onions or any vegetable curry and a bowl of yoghurt.

    A complete healthy meal

    A complete healthy meal

    Some important pointers –

    • Spinach is best blanched in wilting the leaves in hot water for 3-4 minutes, then immediately running them in cold water. This retains the fabulous color.
    • Sugar while grinding the blanched spinach helps in masking the slight bitterness of the green when grounded.
    • Curd/Yoghurt in your dough will yield soft melt in the mouth parathas.
    • These parathas are ideal for lunch-boxes or as take aways.
    Sukhe Alu

    Sukhe Alu

    Potato Saute:

    In a wok, heat a tbsp of oil( yes, a little more than required), splutter 1/4 tsp cumin seeds, add 1/4 tsp of asafoetida/hing, 3-4 curry leaves, 1 split green chili, a cup full of chopped boiled potatoes. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp of coriander powder, 1 tsp of red chili powder(or as required), 1/2 tsp amchur powder(dry mango powder), 1/4 tsp garam masala. Mix well. Switch flame off. Garnish with chopped fresh coriander leaves.

    Serve with parathas or rice or even bread. Great when you are traveling or for lunch-boxes and tiffins.

    Good to go

    Good to go

    I don’t see Milee’s color enchantment ending anywhere soon, so till then we mothers will keep inventing, experimenting, exploring and trying.

    Spinach Corn Spaghetti

    He hates spinach, I love it. He does not enjoy his noodles. I can live on them. The love hate list is a long one.
    God does queer things. The Good Lord puts harmony in two distinctively different entities, coercing us to strike a balance and let the wheels run.
    We do make the wheels run. Haltingly, stoppingly. But we make it run. That’s how the Ferrari of marriage works.

    With great apprehension I cook this pasta. Ready to battle the “urgh spinach” faces, and nasty scowls. I serve it with hope.
    He doesn ‘t get carried away by the appealing looks of his supper. Slowly he digs in. And after the first bite… the rest they say is history.
    Milee calls it ‘hotely taste’. I take it as a complement. Hungry husband doesn’t look up or make small talk while he eats. Devours it with an unparalleled zeal. I take that as a complement too.

    Spinach puree on a bed of soft pasta

    Spinach pureed on a bed of soft pasta

    Ingredients

    • 1 pack of thin spaghetti, boiled al dente
    • 1 bunch spinach, washed, blanched
    • ¼ cup sweet corn kernels
    • 1 green chili
    • a fistful of coriander leaves
    • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 2 spoons of all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1 tsp butter
    • salt to taste
    • ½ tsp pepper powder
    • ½ tsp Italian seasoning
    • Garnish: Parmesan Cheese

    Method

    Grind blanched spinach, coriander leaves and a green chili into a fine paste. Heat butter in a skillet. Add in the corn kernels. Saute on high. Now, put the flour and milk. Keep stirring to make a smooth white sauce. Now add the spinach puree, along with salt, pepper powder and Italian seasoning.
    Stir to get all the stuff together. Now you will have a bright green sauce, which looks sooo good…. sure to make others go green with envy.
    Place your spaghetti in a bowl, topple some of this sauce over it, garnish with grated cheese. Serve with olives, hot sauce, toasted garlic bread and a fabulous drink. Makes for a perfect meal.

    Toasted bread and an ice-cold drink, is all that you need to enjoy your bowl of pasta

    Toasted bread and an ice cold drink, is all that you need to enjoy your bowl of pasta

    Note: To preserve the color of the leaves, dip the spinach in hot water for a couple of minutes, and then immediately shock them in cold water. This retains the beautiful color.

    Note: Always remember to put in your uncooked pasta in boiling hot water. This will make sure the pasta doesn’t turn into a lump and take care not to over cook them.

    Especially for pasta lovers

    Especially for pasta lovers