Local Heart, Global Soul

June 26, 2013

Step-by-Step Indian Cooking Lesson: Peas Pulao (Rice)

Filed under: FOOD,INDIA,Indian Cusine,PHOTOGRAPHY,Recipes — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Peas Pulao (Rice)

2 Cups (260 grams) Basmati rice (for best results use Tilda): approx for 4 persons
Water for rinsing the rice
4 Cups water for cooking the rice

2 Tablespoons Gee or vegetable oil
½ teaspoon whole cumin seeds
3-4 small piece cinnamon stick
3 bay leaves
1 onion (finely chopped)
3 Tablespoons Gee (clarified butter) or vegetable oil

Frozen peas (approx 50 grams) (the amount can be varied according to taste) Take them out of the freezer at the beginning of the recipe so that they begin to thaw.

This is the final recipe in my Indian Cooking Lesson series… and I’m ending the series as I began it: with one of my favourites of all the recipes.

This is a recipe that I can see myself making again and again and again. It’s spiced up enough to give it some flavour but not so much that you will scare off the fussy eaters. It’s the kind of side dish that will go not just with other Indian dishes, but also with food from around the rest of the world, it’s more exciting for the numerous vegetarians in our family than the usual plain rice and ever since I discovered that the rice can be cooked first in the microwave, it’s easy, easy. easy to make!  Your buffet table will never look the same again.

Our teacher cannot stress strongly enough the importance in getting Basmati rice if you can… it might cost a little extra but the difference in taste is streets ahead every other type. I also like the fact that after splashing out on the rice, all the other ingredients are mainstream ones, cheap and easy to find in the average supermarket.

Yes, there is Gee in the recipe, but you can make your own by slowly simmering a block of butter for some 40 minutes… the butter during the process clarifies itself and turns into Gee. When it’s cooled a little pour it into a container, keep it in your fridge and hey presto, you have Gee (clarified butter) on hand for whenever you want it.  A recipe that’s easy on the budget, tastes great and is simple to make: What’s not to like?

Method:

Wash the rice thoroughly in cold water (three times) in a pyrex or microwave proof container. Add 4 cups of cold water (Important note: always use same cup for measuring rice as well as the water) Place in a microwave for 20-21 minutes at 900 Watts.
For step-by-step photographs of this please see:   https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/new-1118/

In the meantime, heat the gee (or vegetable oil) in a deep frying pan (wok pan is ideal). Our teacher used a little of both which also works…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

To the heated gee and oil  add the cumin seeds and fry for one minute until slightly brown.(Important: do not let the cumin seeds burn or your whole dish will taste bitter).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add the bay leaves and cook gently for a few minutes.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add the chopped onion and fry for 3-4 minutes until it  starts to often.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Now add the cinnamon sticks and continue frying for a further 3-4 minutes.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Cook until the onion is well sauteed and a soft pale golden colour …

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Then add the peas,  stirring them in..

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Finally add the cooked rice and stir thoroughly over a low heat until everything is mixed and the peas are fully cooked.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Teacher’s Serving Tip: Perfect accompaniment  with any type of curry.

Kiwi’s Note: tomorrow a surprise!

June 20, 2013

Step-by-Step Indian Cooking Lesson: Lemon Rice (A South Indian Speciality)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Lemon Rice 

2 Cups (260 grams) Basmati Rice (for best results use Tilda): for approx for 4 persons.
2-3 Tablespoons gee or oil.
½ teaspoon asafoeitida (hing)
1 Tablespoon split black gram (urad dal)
1 Tablespoon slip gram (chana dal)
½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds (methi seeds)
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
½ Cup peanuts (ie approx 6 Tablespoons)
15-20 curry leaves
5 Tablespoons lemon juice (or lime juice) from fresh lemons or limes.
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
2 Tablespoons (unsweetened) desiccated coconut (if available freshly grated coconut is preferred)
Salt (to taste)
2-3 chilies, cut in half (optional)

We learn from our teacher:  “Fenugreek  comes from an aromatic Mediterranean plant that produces long pods that contain  oblong brownish coloured seeds. The seeds have a slightly bitter taste and are roasted and ground and used as a flavouring in curries. The leaves from the plant (often sold as “methi”) can be used in salads, and both fresh and dried leaves are used in Indian cookery. The seeds and leaves have a strong aroma.”

I also wanted to know more about “slip gram / chana dal” and more specifically,  if these were  maybe just a different names for split peas.  On the “Yahoo Answers”website I found an excellent answer that tells me the diffeence between Chana Dal, Yellow Split Peas and Pigeon Peas:

 (photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Chana Dal
The native variety of Indian chickpea is called Desi Chana. The mature seed has a seed-coat that is rough brown.

Due to its color, it is also called Kala chana. India is the largest producer and consumer of Desi Chana. Decorticated split Desi chana is called Chana Dal. Chana Dal is yellow in color.

Yellow Split pea
This is the fully mature green-pea that has been dried. In Hindi, green-pea is called Mattar. The deorticated ‘dried split pea’ is called called ‘Peeli Mattar Dal’.

The yellow split pea looks like like Chana Dal. Yellow split pea is cheaper than the Chana Dal. It is illegal but some manufactures mix the two seeds to produce lower cost ground flour called Besan.

Pigeon pea
The pigeon peas are only second to Desi Chana in consumption in India. The seed-coat of the whole seed may be red, or brown. The whole seeds are deorticated and split and called Arhar Dal or Toor Dal. Some of the toor Dal is coated with castor oil for preservation

All the three decorticated split seeds look yellow. The chana dal is more rounder and smaller. The Arhar Dal is flatter. The Mattar dal is about same as chana dal but lighter pale.”

I understand that people around the world have different access (or not) to specialist ingredients and therefore since I have quite a few recipes in this series I will also shortly be running a competition where you  are  invited to make a comment on getting to know these genuine Indian recipes.

One lucky winner will then receive a small parcel of the more specialist items so that they can make and enjoy these recipes at home as well. Watch this space!

Method:

Wash the rice thoroughly in cold water and pour into a microwave container (or Pyrex container). Add four cups of cold water (important note: always use the same cup for measuring the rice as well as the water) . Place in a microwave for 20/21 minutes at 900 Watts.

For Step-by Step photos of how to easily do this in your microwave click on this link: https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/new-1118/

In the meantime, heat the gee (or vegetable oil) in a deep frying pan (Wok pan is ideal)

 (photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

To the hot gee add the peanuts, fry for a few minutes, remove, drain and keep to one side.

 (photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 (photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

To the same gee, add the split black gram (ural dal) and slip gram (chana dal)…

 (photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 (photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Fenugreek seeds (methi seeds) and fry for approx. 3 minutes until the dals change colour to a light brown.

 (photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Then the mustard seeds, leave for about 30 seconds…

 (photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Take some curry leaves from your frozen stash…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Stir and add the curry leaves and the chilies (if using).

 (photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 (photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add the asafoeitida …

 (photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 (photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 (photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Now add the fried peanuts and stir as they cook for a further few minutes…

 (photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 (photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Now you are ready to add the cooked rice…

 (photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Fold the spices through the rice…

 (photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Then add the turmeric powder…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Then salt (sorry, not pictured) and lemon juice. (or you can use lime juice if you prefer).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Stir well and garnish with grated coconut or (unsweetened) desiccated coconut.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Serve hot.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Teacher’s Notes: Serving tip: Can be served with most vegetable preparations.

http://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100306031707AAv6pZE

Kiwi’s notes, I was undecided if I liked this recipe or not. I love the flavour but the crunchiness of the Dal’s in the recipe means it might take a few goes to get used to the texture.

My fellow class-mates loved it, so as usual this is entirely personal preference. I have the added difficulty that Himself is not a fan of citrus flavours and would therefore love Lemon Rice if there were no lemon (or lime) in it and that Kiwi Daughter has a severe peanut allergy so I can see that I might be eating this one alone at home. (I loved the peanuts and the lemon!). I am fast liking the idea that plain white rice can be so easily transformed and take it from me, there might be quite a few photos but this is a really easy recipe to make!

June 10, 2013

Step-by-Step Indian Cooking Lesson: Saffron Rice or Plain White Rice…Who Knew it was THIS Easy in Your Microwave?

Filed under: FOOD,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We have a rice cooker at home which gets  a lot of use.

I love rice but have two problems:(1) I have a tiny Dutch kitchen so storage space is at a premium and (2) our rice cooker was a wedding present and after almost 18 years of being used  more than once a week, it’s still cooking great rice but  getting harder and harder to get the cooked rice out of the rice cooker’s metal bowl as the bottom layer sticks.

Since Himself is already aghast at the scale of kitchen equipment on my wish-list and we are both wondering where to store things, the discovery in my Indian cooking class that we can use the microwave to cook perfect rice means that we can still have great rice without our rice cooker when the machine finally dies.
The secret of perfect rice in your microwave comes in three parts: One: always rinse your rice thoroughly 3 times to remove the starch, Two: always use the SAME measuring cup for measuring out the rice as for the water you add to cook it in and Three: always use two cups of water for every cup of rice.

Here are my Indian cooking class recipes for both Plain white rice and Saffron rice cooked in the microwave, as usual with step-by-step photographs.

Plain White Rice in the Microwave

2 Cups (260 g) Basmati Rice (for best results use “Tilda” if available)  for approximately 4 persons.
Water for rinsing
4 Cups of  cold water for cooking the rice

Place the 2 cups of rice into a microwave container or Pyrex bowl.

Step-by-Step Indian Cooking Lesson:

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Wash thoroughly three times to get rid of the starch.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Drain off the water used to rinse the rice. Add 4 Cups (same sized cup as you used to measure the rice) of cold water to the rinsed rice.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Cook uncovered in a 900 Watt microwave for 20-21 minutes. (Our teacher’s image used with permission)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Result: perfectly cooked rice!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Saffron Rice in the Microwave 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

2 Cups (260 g) Basmati Rice (for best results use Tilda) for approximately 4 persons.
Water for rinsing
4 Cups of water for cooking the rice
5 cloves
5 whole cardamoms
approx 8 strands of saffron
2 Tablespoons of milk

Since the first steps for preparing the rice by rinsing it  are exactly the same as in the photographs for the Plain Rice recipe (above) I have not repeated them here.  Once you get to the part where you add the 4 cups of water for cooking the rice, you continue with the photographs below.

I have two additional notes: (1) this Saffron rice is not the brilliant yellow colour I expected it to be,  it’s barely yellow at all, more  a  faint cream colour. That’s as it’s supposed to be, real saffron is very expensive and imparts quite a strong flavour that can quickly become overpowering so a little goes a long way.  We learn here too that cheap imitation saffron usually has added turmeric in it which means it goes very yellow… but using the real thing sparingly is far more authentic.

(2) We  asked why the saffron is infused with milk rather than with water… the answer is that even this tiny amount of milk improves the flavour and makes the saffron infuse better.

Place the 2 cups of rice into a microwave container or Pyrex bowl and wash thoroughly three times to get rid of the starch.Drain off the water used to rinse the rice. Add 4 Cups (same sized cup as you used to measure the rice) of cold water to the rinsed rice. In a small container gently heat the milk, add the saffron and pour this liquid over the rice.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Then add the cloves and cardamoms to the rice.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Cook uncovered in a 900 Watt microwave for 20-21 minutes. Result: Perfect Saffron rice!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Blog at WordPress.com.