Its been ages since I have posted anything…….I have a perfectly good excuse !!!! School started and I have been busy …..first getting the kids ready , then figuring what my role as a volunteer is going to be ! Now that all three of my little ones are in school full time, I have been trying to figure out what to do with my time !! I have found a solution…..will tell you more once it materializes ! Anyway, between all this , I haven’t had any time to ….first make anything special or new or old for that matter, getting food on the table has been an exercise and then taking pictures or writing, yeah right like that’s happening !!!
I have, since then ,figured out things and in my slightly OCD way, organized myself. So I have time to breathe !!! I don’t anticipate this situation lasting long ……I do have to volunteer in 3 classes , all while getting ready to get back into the workface after a decade of raising a family !!! V came back from a work trip recently and I missed him quite a bit so I decided to make the effort and make some good food…..not slap together something as I have been doing off late !!! It also had to be simple, as I do not fancy cooking elaborate stuff in this heat. All summer we have had awesome temperatures with a lot rain and now that it is ending, the temperatures are high !!! I took stock of my pantry and fridge and figured I could throw together a simple rice and curry. Now for the big question, how do I elevate it from the ordinary ??? I decided to use my trusty spices and herbs……..it is after all spices galore !!!
I ended up with Coconut and Curry Leaves Rice with a Kashmiri Saffron, Raisin and Cauliflower Curry. They are ridiculously easy to make and taste divine!!! The curry has that spicy sweet thing going on with Kashmiri dried chillies and raisins. Kashmiri chillies have less heat than normal chillies. Saffron adds a slightly sweet intensity that changes the dish from humdrum to exotic with a pinch !! To me saffron has a faint honey like taste but I have seen that everyone experiences a different taste when it comes to saffron. A few threads go a long way with saffron both in taste and price !!! It along with turmeric gives the curry its vibrant hue. The curry has a faint tang with the Greek yogurt used to make the sauce.
The rice has a nutty aromatic quality to it. It has both cumin and mustard seeds in it, which provide the earthy, nutty, spicy aromatic tastes to the rice. Curry leaves add the verve and a depth of flavor, as well as distinct herbal fragrance that is unique to curry leaves !! . Along with asafoetida, this is unlike any other spice blend available in most stores. This is not the typical style of rice found in most Indian restaurants. To me it is the epitome to South Indian cooking and is highly addictive !!!! The juxtaposition between two very different styles of Indian cooking proves for a memorable meal !!!
COCONUT AND CURRY LEAVES RICE
2 cups Basmati Rice
2 tbsp. Oil
2 tsp. Black Mustard Seeds
10-15 Curry Leaves
2 tsp. Cumin Seeds
2 dried Red Chillies, crumbled
1/8 tsp. Asafoetida
Salt to taste
3 cups Coconut Milk
1 cup Water
Wash the rice thoroughly and then soak in cold water for 15 minutes. Drain thoroughly before using.
Heat the oil to medium high heat. Add the mustard seeds.
Once they start popping, add the cumin seeds, asafetida and dried red chillies.
Then add the curry leaves torn into small pieces. Sauté for a couple of minutes until fragrant.
Add the rice, salt and sauté for another couple of minutes.
Now add the coconut milk and water.
Reduce the heat and partially cover. Cook till all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked.
Once cooked and slightly cool, using a fork fluff the grains of rice. It is ready to be served.
KASHMIRI SAFFRON, RAISIN AND CAULIFLOWER CURRY
Pinch of Saffron
½ cup warm Water
2 tbsp. Oil
½ cup thinly sliced Onions
2-3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 tbsp. minced Ginger
2-3 dried Kashmiri Red Chillies
4-5 green Cardamom Pods
1 tsp. Cumin powder
¾tsp. Coriander powder
¾ tsp. Garam Masala
½ tsp. Fennel Seeds
Salt to taste
2 cups Cauliflower, cut into florets
¼ cup Green Peas
¼ cup Golden Raisins
1/3 cup Greek Yogurt
Infuse the saffron in the warm water for 10-12 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the oil and sauté the onion, ginger and garlic till translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
Add the cardamom pods, red chillies and fennel seeds. Sauté for a minute or so.
Then add the turmeric, cumin pwd, coriander pwd, garam masala and salt. Sauté for a minute.
Now add the cauliflower and peas. Sauté for 2-3 minutes.
Add the saffron infused water. Cover and let cook for 8-10 minutes until the cauliflower is tender but still retains its shape.
Lower the heat.
Add the raisins. Mix well. Move the veggies to the side of pan, ensuring that the liquid is accessible.
Take a spoon of yogurt and mix into the liquid. Repeat till the entire yogurt is used. This method ensures that the yogurt doesn’t curdle.
Cook for a minute or so. The dish is now ready to be served.