Sunday, April 26, 2015

Lazy Sunday Lunch - Palak - Mutter Pulao with Tomato Raita

I have been missing from here for over an year...2014 ran past me before I could catch my breath. Hopefully, 2015 will be a more sane one and I will appear here more regularly as I had planned when I started this blog.

Today was a really lazy Sunday for my hubby and me, made worse by the sweltering Mumbai heat. After a late breakfast of Ragda-tikki, we felt too full to think about lunch. However, I am of the opinion that it is never very healthy to skip a meal and so I decided to make something light and nourishing. A peep into the refrigerator revealed a bowl of rice from last night, that I was loathe to re-heat. And so a quick one-dish meal idea cropped up into my brain. I have a tendency not to follow recipes to the T and tend to make my own versions with a changed set of ingredients or method. As I have mentioned earlier, I don't believe in sweating it out in the kitchen cooking elaborate dishes either. So, what works best for me, is a set of hybrid cooking methods which ensure that I am out of the kitchen really fast.

Today I decided to make some Palak Rice with Corn, but a quick look in the freezer told me that I was out of Corn and so, I substituted Corn with Peas :). 


Ingredients for the Palak-Mutter Pulao
Oil
2 Tbsp
Cumin seeds
1 tsp
Garlic (chopped/grated/crushed)
1 tsp
Onion (chopped/sliced)
½ cup
Green chilies (finely chopped)
3-4 (as per taste)
Tomato (finely chopped/pureed)
½ cup
Spinach/Palak (froze/fresh) (chopped, blanched & blended)
2 cups
Peas/corn (fresh/frozen) (blanched)
1 cup
Rice (cooked)
2 cups
Lemon juice
1 tsp
Salt
To taste
Fresh coriander (finely chopped)
To garnish

  1. Heat oil in a pan/wok or whatever you are comfortable with on high heat
  2. Add cumin seeds to the hot oil, followed by garlic, onions and green chilies.
  3. Sauté until onions are translucent
  4. Add tomatoes and cover the pan. Leave the flame on high. In 2 minutes, when you take off the lid, the tomatoes would have released their juices.
  5. Now add spinach to this and mix
    1. You can use frozen or fresh, raw or blanched, whatever works for you.
    2.  For my part, I just dunk the frozen spinach straight into the pan. Cover and cook for a few minutes.
    3. A better idea would be to run the blanched spinach and tomato in the blender to give you a thick puree. This is a better way  as it mixes more homogeneously with the rice and looks better too.
  6. Now add peas/corn.
    1. If you are using frozen ones, then just add water to the bowl and zap in the microwave for 3 mins
    2.  If you are using fresh ones, then blanch them before adding to the pan.
  7. Cover and cook for 2 more mins.
    1. While this is cooking, fluff up your rice with a fork and ensure that it is not lumpy.
  8. Now add rice and mix it well, but gently, until the spinach mixture is evenly mixed with the rice.
  9. Now add the lemon juice, cover and cook on low heat for 5 mins.
    1. You could also transfer it into your serving bowl and cook in the microwave for 5 mins on full, just before serving it.
  10. Garnish with fresh coriander



Tomato Raita

This is one my grandmother’s recipes, a typical Andhra side-dish, which I have altered slightly. She would make it without garlic or mint and so can you.

Ingredients        
              
Oil
1 tbsp
Asafoetida
½ tsp
Mustard seeds
1 tsp
Fenugreek seeds
½ tsp
Garlic (crushed/grated)
1 tsp
Tomatoes (quartered)
2 - 3
Plain curd (beaten)
2 cups
Fresh mint (finely chopped)
1 sprig
Fresh coriander
to garnish
Salt
to taste

Method
  1. Heat oil in a pan
  2. Add asafoetida, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, curry leaves and garlic
  3. Saute for a minute and add tomatoes
  4. Cover and cook on high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring in between
  5. Once the tomatoes begin to be all mushy and watery, add salt and mint leaves
  6. Cover and cook for a minute more
  7. Take the pan of the heat and let it cool completely
  8. Mash the tomatoes with a masher
  9. Now add beaten curd/yogurt and coriander and you are done!