Peas and corn rice pilau

Yesterday we strayed from our standard jeera pilau recipe and made it with a few twists.   We took a gamble and served it to the kids  for their supper last night and surprisingly it was well received (surprising as they are fussy eaters – fingers crossed this in not a one off).  Although we had the rice with a vegetable curry we think it can work on its own with a simple raita as an accompaniment

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What do I need to make it?

  • 2 cups of basmati rice washed and drained (we used a Tilda extra long grain variety that resembles basmati when cooked)
  • Whole garam masala (stick of cinnamon, 5 cloves, 5 cardamom pods, 1 black cardamom, 2 bays leave, pinch of mace)
  • 1 medium onion sliced
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp Bahraini spice mix (a blend of coriander, turmeric, red pepper, cardamom, cloves, ginger, black pepper, garlic, anise and sesame)
  • Pinch of saffron
  • Handful fresh coriander and mint leaves chopped
  • 3-4 tbsp ghee
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Heat a pan with the ghee.  Add the whole garam masala ingredients with the cumin seeds and saute for a minute.  Add the sliced onions and saute over medium heat for five minutes.   Sprinkle the Bahraini spice mix (you could probably find something similar in your local Middle Eastern grocer) and add the peas and corn.   Stir for a minute and add the washed rice and saffron – continue stirring for another couple of minutes before switching off the heat.   Add the chopped coriander and mint, adjust the seasoning and transfer into electric rice cooker.   Add 4 cups of water and set to cook.   Once cooked stir the rice and serve hot.

 

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Gratinated Mexican rice

One of my favorite dishes growing up which mom would pull together for dinner parties was her rendition of Spanish rice.   Back in those days exotic ingredients were hard to come by and she made do with what was available.   I’ve had her recipe with me for 15 odd years and have never attempted to make it once but Saturday night was an opportunity to try it out.  We had invited some friends over for dinner and decided to go with a Mexican theme.   I have taken mom’s recipe as a base and made a few tweaks before rechristening it gratinated Mexican rice!   The dish was a hit with our guests and hope you enjoy making it.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 2 1/2 cups cooked rice (long grain or even Basmati)
  • 1 large onion sliced
  • 1 green pepper sliced thinly
  • 1 stick of celery sliced
  • 1 carrot chopped into tiny pieces
  • 4-5 baby corn chopped into bite size pieces
  • Handful of green beans trimmed and chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • Handful of fresh coriander chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp chipotle chili paste
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste

For the garnish

  • 1 tomato sliced
  • 1 red pepper sliced
  • 3-4 tbsp pickled jalapenos
  • 2 sprigs of green onion chopped
  • 50 gms of mature cheddar cheese

How much will I make?

Serves 6

How do I make it?

First par boil the carrot, beans and baby corn.  Then heat a wok/kadai, add oil first before sauteing the garlic for a minute.   Add the sliced onions, green pepper and celery and cook till the onions start turning golden brown.   Add the chipotle paste, sprinkle cumin powder and chopped tomatoes and continue cooking till fat begins to leave the mixture.   Stir in the par boiled vegetables, adjust the seasoning and cook for another 5 minutes.   Switch off the heat and garnish with fresh chopped coriander.  Once the cooked rice has cooled stir in the masala and prepare the dish to be grilled.

Assembling the dish 

Transfer the mixed rice into a large rectangular oven proof dish.   Sprinkle the cheddar cheese evenly over the top.   Arrange the red pepper, tomato and jalapenos on top of the cheese.  Sprinkle the chopped spring onion and grill under a pre heated oven at 220 degrees Centigrade till the cheese melts, bubbles and turns golden brown.   Serve with a fresh tomato salsa or mango salsa as we did (1 large ripe mango cubed, 1 red chilli de-seeded and finely chopped, juice of half a lime and salt/pepper to taste).

Nikhita’s 19th birthday dinner

Cannot believe my little niece has just turned 19 – I can still remember holding her as a baby when I first got to Bahrain back in 1994.  Anna and I selfishly offered to host a dinner for her birthday and invite a couple of her closest friends so as to ensure she was with us on her birthday.  Nikhita fancied a Chinese meal and our challenge  to create a cohesive menu began.   We finally decided that it was going to be an all vegetarian affair as the majority and more importantly the birthday girl are vegetarians.  Anna also made a wicked mocktail which looked pretty as a peach and tasted even better.  I know chocolate cake is not exactly classified as a Chinese dessert but what’s a birthday party without cake!

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Starter

  • Vegetable spring rolls (store bought from Wing Yip)
  • Singapore Fling Mocktail

Main Course

  • Spicy tofu with vegetables (recipe from The Ultimate Chinese Cookbook by Linda Doeser)
  • Mushroom manchurian (recipe from http://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/)
  • Stir fried Chinese greens
  • Stir fried noodles
  • Spicy egg fried rice

Dessert

Here are a couple recipes if you are interested in trying them out.

Singapore Fling Mocktail!

What do I need to make it?

  • 1/2 tall glass of cranberry Juice
  • 1/2 tall glass ginger beer (root beer if you are American)
  • 1 tsp Rose syrup (Roohafza)
  • Crushed ice
  • Strawberry cut into little pieces
  • Sprig of mint leaf

How do I make it?

Place crushed ice on the bottom of the glass and pour rose syrup over it.  Pour the cranberry juice first followed by the ginger beer.  Garnish with chopped strawberries and mint leaf.

Spicy egg fried rice

What do I need to make it?

  • 2 cups cooked rice cooled (used Basmati which surprisingly works well)
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped finely
  • 2 sprigs of green onions chopped
  • 1 tsp crushed red chillies flakes
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seed oil
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4-6

How do I make it?

Heat the wok till its hot.  Add oil and garlic and stir rapidly (don’t want the garlic to burn and leave a bitter taste) for a minute.  Add the red chilli flakes and stir for 30 seconds before adding the beaten eggs.  Scramble the eggs and then add cooled cooked rice.  Add salt, pepper, soy sauce and sesame seed oil and mix well.  Add the spring onions and mix through.  Switch off and serve hot.

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