Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Palak Pulao


"Palak or Spinach"
Palak or spinach is one of the most commonly used green vegetables. Not only is this vibrant looking and appealing to the eyes but is packed with nutrients. I find it to be a very versatile ingredient to work with as it can be used as a simple stir fried side dish or as a gravy base, it tastes great in soups, sandwiches and can also be eaten raw as a salad.

Well in this Blog I would like to share with you a rice preparation with palak which is an all time favourite with my family. Its a one pot recipe which is not only quick to cook but healthy and delicious too. Before you start cooking please ensure that the palak leaves are cleaned well, its best to wash it under running water to get rid of any soil. Also in this recipe I have not discarded the stalk as I have pureed the palak however the stalk is equally nutritious and rich in fiber. 

"Palak Rice or Palak Pulao"


Ingredients

Basmati rice (soaked) -  1 ½ cups
Palak/Spinach (cleaned, blanched & pureed) -1 cup
Onion sliced -1 medium
Tomato pureed – 1 medium
Garlic, finely chopped – 1tablespoon
Ginger, juiliennes – 1 table spoon
Green chillies Slit -2
Oil – 3+1 tablespoon
Salt – To taste
Cinnamon – 2 inches
Green cardamom -2-3
Cloves -4-5
Black peppercorn -8-10
Bay leaves -2
Cumin -1/2 teaspoon
Dry Red chillies -2
Red Chilli Powder – 1 teaspoon
Tumeric Powder – 3/4th teaspoon
Coriander powder – 1 tablespoon
Garam Masala powder – 1 teaspoon

Garnish

Green Coriander leaves
Slice of Tomato

Method

Heat 3 tablespoon oil in a pot add broken cinnamon, cloves, peppercorn,  bay leaves, cardamom and chopped  onions. Sauté till onions are almost translucent or pink.  In a bowl mix  the red chilli powder, turmeric powder and the coriander powder  with approx. 1/4th cup of water to form a paste and add to the onion mixture. Let this cook for almost 2-3 min.
Add the tomato paste and cook for 3-4 min now add the palak puree and salt cook for 5 min or until the oil starts leaving the sides of the kadhai. Add approx. 3 cups of hot water (twice the measure of rice) and mix the Palak masala now add the soaked rice.
"Palak Rice "
Add the chopped garlic, ginger juliennes, green chillies and garam masala powder.Reduce heat and cook till rice is done and all the water is absorbed.
Take one table spoon of oil in a kadhai and add the cumin seeds and dry red chilli for the tadka. Put his over the cooked palak rice. Transfer this into the serving dish .Garnish with chopped coriander and slice of tomato.

Serve hot with Dahi and Mint Chutney.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

"Tea or Chai"

"Tea, or Chai" as it is commonly known across India is a very popular beverage and we Indians love our cup of tea. First thing I would love to have in the morning is a steaming hot cup of tea as it is very refreshing and rejuvenating. Tea for me is a comfort drink, be it early in the morning or when i'm busy I just can't miss it, well on a rainy day a steaming hot cup of tea along with pakoras is an ultimate treat.

"Tea"
Tea for us is not only an aromatic beverage but also a culture for us, be it the "nukad ke chai ki dukan" in North India or the "adda" of Bengal, it has its own importance. In Mumbai, the road side tea stall have given it a very unique name "Cutting or Full", as they serve chai in small clear glasses, cutting refers to half glass and full refers to full glass.

We just can't forget the age old tradition where a would be bride meets the bridegrooms family for the first time holding a tray with cups full of our humble "Chai".The humble Chai has also been glorified by our Hindi film industry with the numerous songs the first that comes to my mind is "Ek garam chaai ke pyali ho"....


Well there are a lot of good memories to share about tea.... and there is no end to the diversity of making chai, brewing tea is fun as you get to experiment until you get it "just right"....... my family favorite is the Ginger Tea also known as "Adrak Wali Chai"





"Adrak wali Chai"
Ginger Tea (this makes approx 2 cups)

Water - 1.5 cup


Milk - 1 cup


Tea leaves - 2.5 to 3 tsp (depending upon how strong you want your tea)

Ginger -1" piece crushed

Sugar - 2 - 3 tsp (As per taste)

Heat milk and water in a pan and bring it to a boil. Crush ginger and add to the boiling milk and water mixture. Reduce heat and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes continue by adding tea leaves. Let this come to a boil once more. Add sugar and simmer the mixture for three to four minutes. Strain this and serve your cup of tea piping hot.

Well there are a lot of other versions of the Ginger tea which you could try

Ginger and Fennel (Saunf) Tea - Just add 1/2 tsp of Saunf sightly pounded in a mortar and pestle along with the ginger. Rest all remains the same.

You could also try a variation of the ginger tea by adding 3-4 peppercorns along with the ginger. Rest all remains the same.

Hope you enjoy your cup of tea.........