Monday, March 10, 2014

Tomato Rice

The thing about cross-cultural marriages is that among other important things it lets you learn about new food and eating habits. Since my wedding i have tried and learnt so many dishes from the rich tamil cuisine.
Today i am posting one of the dishes i learnt from my mother in law. While it is not a traditional dish, it is definitely one of my favorites.

Tomato Rice (Serves 2)

Basmati rice, 1 cup

Whole spices
Cloves, 2
Bayleaf, 1
Cinnamon, a small piece

Fennel seeds (Saunf), 1/2 tsp
Ginger paste, 1/2 tsp
Garlic paste, 1/2 tsp
Onion, 1 big finely chopped
Tomatoes, 2 big finely chopped
Green chillies, 1 big sliced
Peas, 1/2 cup
Coriander powder, 1/2 tsp Mint leaves, a handful
Coriander leaves, a handful
Oil, 1 tbspn + 1-2 tsps
Clean the rice in water multiple times till the water runs clear.Soak the rice for 30 mins in a cup of water to which the juice of half a lime is added.

Add 1 tbspn of oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Once the oil is hot add the fennel seeds and whole spices. Now add the ginger & garlic paste, half the chopped onions and green chillies. Fry it till the onions are light brown in colour. Add the tomatoes to this and cook till it gets pulpy. Add the mint leaves and coriander leaves at this stage. Stir it a bit and take it off the heat. Let it cool and then grind it well in a mixer. 

Now add about 1 tsp of oil to the heavy bottomed pan. Fry the remaining onions till it is light brown in colour. Add the ground mixture & peas and fry it for a bit. Now drain the water from the basmati rice and add the rice to the pan and fry till the rice mixture is dry*. Add 2 cups of water and salt to the rice mixture. Now cover the pan with a lid and cook on the lowest flame for 15 minutes**. Turn off the heat and let the rice cool for about 5 minutes before taking off the lid. Serve hot with onion raita.

You can substitute the water with coconut milk to make the dish more flavourful.
You can also add all kinds of veggies to make it vegetable rice

*Frying the rice in oil ensures that the rice is cooked separately and the grains do not stick to each other.
** You may have to experiment a bit on the time required depending on the flame and age of the rice. The general rule of thumb is 15 minutes to cook the rice. [I generally check the status of the rice after 12-13 mins and adjust. If it needs more cooking i turn off the stove after 15 mins and let the rice cook in the steam till all the steam escapes from the pan]