My interest in genetic manipulations aside, today was a bang on start crazy day. Thunderstorms kept me awake and up and fidgety from an ungodly hour. Clearly the singing of ” brown paper packages ” works only in movies. Bright and early and in this case it was bright and early and a wee bit cranky cause of all the missed sleep, missed school bus and more! There was this real need to whip up breakfast, lunch dinner and after school snack in about an hour’s time. Make that for 4 please!
For those days when you want something quick and easy, nutritious and guilt free, lip-smacking but not having to do gob smacking work and of course if you absolutely need to clean only one pan or pot, then this works wonders.
Please, while I absolutely and fervently hope to use and definitely advocate the utilization of fresh vegetables, a steady supply of fresh frozen organic ones are at hand too as a lifesaver / stopgap for me. This recipe is so versatile that you can add and reduce the number of vegetables or combinations of it based on the contents of your refrigerator or rather your freezer.
Best summarized by Curnonsky on cooking, perfection, and simplicity “In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is the sign of perfection.” Presenting a simple one pot meal that is so perfect that you just need an accompaniment of cool cucumber raita and roasted papad, and you have a winner on your hands.
Prep time : 10 min Cook time : 20-25 min Serves : 4-6
- Long grained / Basmati Rice : 2 Cups
Vegetables and Herbs:
- Onion: 1 medium or large, chopped or diced fine
- Tomatoes : 2 medium-sized ones, diced fine
- Peas and Carrots : 1/4 cup ( frozen or fresh, diced)
- Mint sprigs : a few, chopped roughly to yield 2 Tbsp.
- Fresh Curry leaves: 2-3
- Grated Ginger : 1 tsp.
- Cardamom : 1( cracked open)
- Cinnamon stick: 1 inch
- Bay leaf : 1
- Cloves: 2
- Mustard seeds: 1 tsp.
- Cumin Seeds: 1 tsp.
- Fennel seeds: 1/2 tsp.
Masala Powders, Salt and Oil
- Sambar Masala powder: 1 tsp
- Garam Masala Powder : 1 tsp ( optional)
- Red chili powder : 1 tsp.
- Salt : 1 – 1.5 tsp.
- Oil : 2 Tbsp.
- Fresh chopped cilantro : 2 Tbsp.
- In a wide saucepan or deep skillet ( must have lid) add in the oil and on heating add in the whole spices. The spices sizzle and yield an aroma that is quite good. Add in the curry leaves and grated ginger now.
- Add in the chopped onion and sauté then very well . Add in the chopped mint, followed by the peas and carrots. Stir for a good couple of minutes so the carrots and peas start to stew a bit.
- Add in the chopped tomatoes next and sauté for a minute or two and then add in the salt. Based on how juicy your tomatoes are, the next step will take any from a couple of minutes to about 5 or so. Let the juices of the tomato and veggies reduce a bit.
- Add in the Sambar masala powder, Garam masala powder and chili powder. Stir very well and let it remain for a minute to shuck off its raw taste.
- Meanwhile wash the rice very well .
- Add in the washed rice to this tomato and vegetable mix in the pan. Stir in the rice very well so it gets coated with the spices, oil and vegetables.
- Add in 4 cups of water ( 2 cups of basmati rice is usually cooked in about 4 cups of water to yield soft , fluffy grains. You might need to adjust the water based on the rice used) and cover and cook for about 15 minutes or so. Do not stir in between. Do cook on medium heat as well.
- Once done , fluff up the rice, garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot with cool raita and fresh roasted papad.