I think I have mentioned many times that when I was first married it was difficult for me to cook food as V and I have such different tastes. It was OK for the first few weeks as everything I made was new and they ….yes they……V and his cousin R shared an apartment before getting married so we all lived there for a couple of months till the lease expired……anyway, whatever I made was new and fresh so they enjoyed it …sometimes too much as nothing would be left for me to eat !!!!!! Afterwards it slowly became apparent that he loved his south Indian food and that my cooking would never measure up to his mother’s !! But then I never expected it to so it was OK…lets face it no one cooks as well as my mom so I expected the same reaction from him. But my problem came about when I found myself with no one to teach me his family recipes…..in fact no one even had them !!!!
What does one do when that happens…….asking your hubby would seem to be the easiest option right ??!! But even though V is a good cook…..he cannot tell you what goes into the dish !!! I asked him ingredients…he knows some,not all……OK work it another way, ask him the flavours , does’nt know how to describe it either. So I told him that while I worked on the research I would just create our own family recipes and then add the old ones into our life when I found them. This came about at that time.
Those days B’lore was well known for its tomatoes and bell peppers…in fact people who visited would buy some and carry it home. His mom cooked with peppers and apparently made a rice from it….I still have not been able to find her recipe so I created one of my own. In true G fashion ….it came out North Indian rather south but it stuck and is now a fixture in weekend meals. It also helps that it is one of those throw everything into the pot, cover and cook dishes. Over time I have refined the recipe and now with the inclusion of different coloured peppers it is a visually stunning dish !!!
BELL PEPPER PULAO
½ cup sliced Red Onions
½ cup sliced Red Bell Peppers
½ cup sliced Orange and Yellow Bell Peppers
½ cup sliced Green Bell Peppers
2 cups Basmati Rice
1 inch piece of Cinnamon
1 Bay Leaf
½ tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Coriander Powder
1 tsp Cumin Powder
1 ½ tsp Garam Masala
2 tbsp Cashews
2 tbsp Raisins
juice of one Lime
Salt to taste
Wash and then soak the rice in water for 20 minutes.
In oil, sauté the cashews and raisins till golden brown . Drain and set aside
In the same pan, add another tsp of oil and sauté the whole spices till fragrant.
Add the onions and sauté for a few minutes till they are soft.
Now add the bell peppers. Sauté for a couple of minutes.
Add all the spice powders and salt and sauté for a minutes or till they bloom and are fragrant.
Add the rice and let the grains get coated with the spices .
Add 4 cups of water and bring to a boil.
Now reduce the flame to a medium low and cover partially.
When the rice is almost cooked and the vegetables rise to the top, cover completely and cook for a couple of minutes.
Take it off the flame and keep covered for 10 minutes.
Squeeze the lime juice over the rice. Then using a fork to fluff the rice.
Garnish with the cashews and raisins . Serve.
This is by no means a spicy ,as in hot, rice and is meant to be served with something. The bell peppers provide it with a sweetness that along with the sweetness of the red onions is balanced by the hint of smokiness from the cumin powder. The garam masala gives it that kick. I love to serve it at parties when I have a host of subzis as it provides an excellent foil for them.
I have used different coloured peppers but you can make it with just green peppers alone if that is all you have available. The other colours are more sweeter than green. I like the rice without the heat but if you prefer you can add either chopped green chillies or a tsp of chilli powder . I have made this on the stove top but it comes out just perfect in a rice cooker as well.