Archive for the ‘Rice & Pilaf Dishes’ Category

Poha Instant Rice Pilaf – Bombay Style

June 16, 2008

Kaandha Poha (Maharashtrian Potato-Onion Cous Cous Rice Mini Meal Dish ). I grew up in Bombay where this dish is a popular breakfast dish and this recipe is from my nanny/Sunaina Bai who would make it lovingly for me.

Ingredients:
1 cup poha (soak poha in enough water to cover for 5 minutes. Drain and leave in the stainer and keep aside)
2 tbsp vegetable oil preferably peanut or sunflower oil
1 tsp.. mustard seeds
2 tbsp.. raw peanuts
2 sprigs of curry leaves – about 10 leaves
1/8 tsp.. turmeric powder
1 green chili pepper, slit lengthwise
1 medium onion, diced fine
1 medium boiled potato, peeled and diced small (1.5 cups)(optionally one may put 1/2 cup of steamed veggies cut small – like peas and shredded carrots, cut corn to make it into a lunch meal)
salt 
1 tbsp. water
1 tbsp. shredded coconut
1 tbsp., juice of lime or lemon
1/4 cup minced cilantro leaves
1/2 tsp. sugar

Method :
1.Heat oil in a skillet and add the mustard seeds, peanuts and curry leaves.
2. When seeds begin to splutter add onion and saute for 5 minutes or until onion is transclucent.
3. Add potatoes, salt, chilli and turmeric powder. Stir fry and then cook uncovered on low-medium heat, for 5 minutes.
4. Add the poha and shredded coconut and saute for another 5-7 minutes. The poha must be moist – not dry and not too wet and clumpy. 
5. Remove from flame and fold in lime juice, cilantro and sugar.

Serve with lassi or yogurt smoothie..

© Kavita Mehta
photo credit Kavita and Vinay Mehta

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Lamb Biryani -Most popular rice dish from India

June 16, 2008

Serves 6-8 – Serve with Raita and Chunda Sweet Chutney and some excellent wine – red or white.
Ingredients

Cooking the Rice
1 package Ajika Basmati Rice washed and drained
1/2 tsp. salt 
10 cups water  

Cooking the Biryani
2 lbs. lamb or mutton leg/shoulder cut into bite size pieces, washed and drained 
5 tbs. oil or ghee 
2 onions, peeled and thinly sliced 
3-4 cloves of garlic minced
1 inch piece ginger minced
1-3 green chillies minced
6-7 tbsp. Ajika Biryani Spices
2- 2 1/2 tsp. salt (adjust to taste) 
1/2 cup thick yoghurt 
2 large tomatoes, chopped 
1/2 bunch of cilantro leaves, minced
1 lime or 1/2 lemon, cut into small pieces 
A few strands of saffron soaked in a tablespoon of warm water 
1 tbs. Ghee 

Method:
Cooking the Meat
Heat oil/ghee in a large pan and fry onions, until quite dark brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep aside. 
In the same oil (add more if needed), add spices ginger and garlic. Fry for a minute or two. 
Add meat pieces, salt, chilli. Stir fry until meat is nicely browned on all sides. 
Add yoghurt, tomatoes, cilantro, lime. Cook, stirring frequently, until meat is soft and only a little gravy is left.

Cooking the Rice
While meat is cooking, boil the water for rice with salt. 
Add rice and bring to a rolling boil, until 2/3rd done about 5 minutes after the boil. 
Drain/Seive the water off like you do when cooking pasta. You can run a little cold water over it, to stop the rice from cooking further while resting. Leave in the colander for a few minute, for the water to drain out completely. 
Add ghee to grease a large oven proof dish or a pan.

Layering the Biryani
Spread 1/3rd of the rice in a layer at the base of the pan. Now layer with 1/2 of the meat. 
Repeat the layering till the last layer is the rice.
Sprinkle the saffron on the top of the rice. 
Add fried onions on top.
Dot with a little ghee. 
Cover the pan with a tight lid. 
Put it in a medium hot oven and bake for 30 minuites at 350 F the rice is fully done.

You should have the perfect Biryani

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Chicken Biryani -Most popular rice dish from India

June 16, 2008

The Indian rice dish called Biryani is truly a jewel in the rice dishes of the world. The art of cooking with spices, herbs and other seasonings come together in a wonderful show of color, aroma and flavor. This is an outstanding work of Indian culinary art. This recipe originated in the kitchens of the Nizam of Hydrabad. This is a rice hot dish that makes a one dish meal along with plain yogurt or with yogurt raita.

Serves 6-8
Ingredients

Cooking the Rice
1 package Ajika Basmati Rice washed and drained
1/2 tsp. salt 
10 cups water  

Cooking the Biryani
2 lbs. chicken, lamb or mutton leg/shoulder cut into bite size pieces, washed and drained 
5 tbs. oil or ghee 
2 onions, peeled and thinly sliced 
3-4 cloves of garlic minced
1 inch piece ginger minced
1-3 green chillies minced
6-7 tbsp. Ajika Biryani Spices
2- 2 1/2 tsp. salt (adjust to taste) 
1/2 cup thick yoghurt 
2 large tomatoes, chopped 
1/2 bunch of cilantro leaves, minced
1 lime or 1/2 lemon, cut into small pieces 
A few strands of saffron soaked in a tablespoon of warm water 
1 tbs. Ghee 

Method:
Cooking the Meat
Heat oil/ghee in a large pan and fry onions, until quite dark brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep aside. 
In the same oil (add more if needed), add spices ginger and garlic. Fry for a minute or two. 
Add meat pieces, salt, chilli. Stir fry until meat is nicely browned on all sides. 
Add yoghurt, tomatoes, cilantro, lime. Cook, stirring frequently, until meat is soft and only a little gravy is left.

Cooking the Rice
While meat is cooking, boil the water for rice with salt. 
Add rice and bring to a rolling boil, until 2/3rd done about 5 minutes after the boil. 
Drain/Seive the water off like you do when cooking pasta. You can run a little cold water over it, to stop the rice from cooking further while resting. Leave in the colander for a few minute, for the water to drain out completely. 
Add ghee to grease a large oven proof dish or a pan.

Layering the Biryani
Spread 1/3rd of the rice in a layer at the base of the pan. Now layer with 1/2 of the meat. 
Repeat the layering till the last layer is the rice.
Sprinkle the saffron on the top of the rice. 
Add fried onions on top.
Dot with a little ghee. 
Cover the pan with a tight lid. 
Put it in a medium hot oven and bake for 30 minuites at 350 F the rice is fully done.

You should have the perfect Biryani

Veggie Biryani -Most popular rice dish from India

June 16, 2008

Serves 6-8
Ingredients

10 oz. from a choice of cauliflower, potato, carrots, asparagus, broccoli cut into bite size pieces, washed and drained 
2 tbs. oil or ghee  
1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced 
1 clove of garlic minced
1/2 inch piece ginger minced
1 green chillie minced
Package of Ajika Saffron Biryani Pkg
1 tsp. salt (adjust to taste) 
1/2 cup thick yoghurt  
1tomato, chopped 
1/4 bunch of cilantro leaves, minced
1/2 lemon, juice

Method:
Heat oil/ghee in a large pan and fry onions, until quite dark brown. Now add ginger and garlic. Fry for a minute or two. 
Add veggies, spices from the package, salt, green chilli. Stir fry until veggies is nicely coated with the spices. 
Add yoghurt, tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice. Cook, stirring frequently, until veggies are soft and only a little gravy is left.

While veggies are cooking, wash rice , rinse a few times till rice water is somewhat clear. Drain.

Add rice to the veggies and 2 1/4 cups of water and bring to a rolling boil.  Then turn heat to medium-low and cover the pot with a tight lid. Cook for 10 minutes and turn the heat off.  Do not lift the lid. Let the rice steam in its own heat for another 5 minutes.

The rice is ready to serve. Serve with raita and dal.

http://store.indianfoodsco.com/InfoPage.CFM?PageId=AjikaBiryaniVeggie01

Rice Biryani and Pilafs – More than just Rice

June 16, 2008

Biryanis are meat, vegetable or pulse based pilafs cooked with yogurt and spices. For biryani, basmati rice is always used. Basmati rice has thin, fine grains and makes a firm rice grain. For a tastier and authentic biryani ghee is used. Ghee is butter with the milk solids removed and is golden or amber in color.
Biryani is usually accompanied with Dahi ka Raita (a yogurt dish), chutney and kachumber or tomato, onion salad/salsa.

http://store.indianfoodsco.com/InfoPage.CFM?PageId=IndFood00052
Biryani is often reserved for very special occasions such as weddings, parties and holiday celebrations.

Rice Appeal – Cooking Perfect Rice

June 16, 2008

Basmati rice means the “queen of fragrance” This rice is grown in the foothills of the Himalayas for thousands of years. Its perfumy, nut-like flavor and aroma makes it the most expensive rice in the world and has been the favorite rice of emperors, poets and rajah’s. 

(Rice in the picture cooked with Regal Rice Pilaf and 1/2 tsp. turmeric)

Making Perfect Rice
– For every cup of rice, use 1-1/2 (for shorter grain rice) to 2 cups of water for longer grain varieties.
– You want a large pot with a heavy base for the most even cooking and a tight lid for steam cooking rice.

– Rinse, strain the rice and it to the pot. Add water.
– Adding a bit of ghee at this time will also help keep the grains from sticking together.
– Bring the water to a rolling boil.
– Turn heat to med-low, cover pot with the tight Now turn off the heat.
– Do not open the lid. Leave undisturbed with the lid on, for at least 5 minutes and for as long as 15.
– This results in a uniform texture.

Cooking Variations
FRAGRANT RICE – Use Ajika Regal Pilaf Spices and Dried Fruit and Nut Blend. Heat 1 tsp. ghee and saute 1 tbsp. Regal Pilaf Blend.  Add 1 cup of rice and 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Lower heat to low, cover tightly and cook for 12 minutes.  Remove the spices before serving or serve with spices as we do in India.

YELLOW RICE – Add a pinch of turmeric or saffron when boiling the rice and the rice will get a golden hue.

SAFFRON RICE Soak a few strands of saffron in 3 tablespoons of water for 30 minutes. When the rice is done, pour the soaking water and the saffron over the cooking rice with a teaspoon and return the lid to the pot so that aroma does not escape.

FLAVORED RICE – Use the spices in the garam masala blend for aromatic flavored rice. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in the pot in which you will cook the rice, and fry onions until deep brown. Add the spices and the rice and saute for 1 minute. Now add water and cook with above directions. (add about 5 whole spices of any variety from the blend for a cup of rice)

ONE DISH RICE MEAL – Use the Biryani Spice Blend with chicken or vegetables to make one dish meal.  Serve with a yogurt salad or raita and fresh salsa of tomatoes and cucumber.

© Kavita Mehta
photo credit Kavita and Vinay Mehta

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World of Rice – Sustaining and Seductive

June 16, 2008

One way of understanding the culinary genius of various ethnic cuisines is by cooking their rice.

A Royal Grain
Rice is a simple grain yet throughout history it has been on royal menus of various cultures as the main dish. From the pilav of Turkey, polou of Persia, pilafs of the Steppes, the isotos and paellas of the Mediterranean, to the pilau of India it has been served to great sultans, maharajahs, shah’s and emperors. Spices, nuts, dried fruits, vegetables and herbs transform rice into extraordinary meals.

A Sacred Grain
Rice has been the staple of many Asian civilizations and considered as God, Mae Posop for Thai, Tisnawati for Indonesian, Inkapati for Philippine or Ninigino-mikota for Japanese, Annapurna in India. Many Asian festivals are centered around rice harvest time and whole villages gather to sing, dance and offer prayers. Rice is also a symbol of fertility in many cultures. Rice and food are the same in many Asian languages, for example, “shi fan” in Chinese or “kin khao” in Thai.

© Kavita Mehta
photo credit Rice Association, USA

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