Not that I’m a very good cook, but sometimes, when the mood takes me I do indulge in a bit of cooking. I don’t cook very well, I think but this time around, my hard labour bore good fruit.
You see, I’ve spent the last two years learning more of Indian cooking than in all my life. So here’s something new that I learnt a week back, and to my delight, I found that it was quite delicious! Thought I’d post the recipes out here, one by one, for Indian food enthusiasts. Mind you, it’s Indian food- not hot but surely full of fragrant and wholesome spices. I also cooked something yesterday that was purely North Indian (Punjabi) food, but that’s for later. So here goes!
1) ONION RICE: (serves 4)
1 cup rice (we use Basmati rice)
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tbsp. oil
1 large onion (sliced)
1 red carrot (shredded)
2 garlic cloves (mince them)
1 tbsp. ginger (peel and mince it)
1 ¾-2 cups cups water
Salt to your taste
Put a medium saucepan on heat. First of, heat oil over medium heat.
Add cumin seeds and once they start popping, add onion and carrot. Lower the heat. Stir it while it cooks and the onion becomes pink and tender. It would take about 15 minutes for it to start looking golden brown on low heat.
Add garlic cloves and ginger; cook 2 minutes. The heat now should be on medium.
Now add Basmati rice to it. Stir it so that the rice is coated with the cooked mixture. Add water and salt. Bring to a boil once and then reduce heat and let it simmer. Cover it with a lid and cook until rice is tender. It should take about 20 minutes for the rice to be cooked. You need to check in between to make sure the rice is not dry. If it dries and is not yet cooked, add a little more water.
If you are cooking in a pressure cooker, close the lid after adding the rice and stirring it once. Give it one whistle and turn off the heat to let it cool. Onion rice is ready!
2) Sarson Ka Saag: Eaten mostly during the cold season, it’s origins come from Punjab and is widely eaten in both India and Pakistan. Normally it is accompanied by flat bread, jaggery and clarified butter as well as home made butter, but we can also eat it with Onion rice. Ideally, flat bread made of cornmeal flour and this Saag is the best combination, but one can also try the normal rotis (flat bread)
Cooking time -40 minutes
Serves – 4
- 500 grams Sarson (Green mustard leaves) – 500 grams
- 250 grams Tomatoes
- 2 Green chillies (optional)
- 1 inch Ginger stick
- 2 Tbsp. Oil
- A pinch of Asafetida
- 1/4th tsp. Cumin seeds
- 1/4th tsp. each of Turmeric powder and red Chilli powder
- 1 Tbsp. Corn meal flour (alternative is also gram flour, called “Besan”)
- Salt to taste
- 1 Tbsp. Butter/Ghee
Wash mustard leaves properly so that there’s no more mud on any of the leaves ( much like you wash lettuce) Let water run through it twice and then strain them in a colander.
Cut the leaves in thick long pieces and cook them in a pressure cooker or deep bottom pan with one cup of water. If you’re using the pressure cooker, give it one whistle. If using a pan, cook until the leaves are soft. Drain excess water, cool them and grind them. Let them remain a bit coarse after they’ve been ground. Set the bowl aside.
Make a paste of tomatoes, green chillies and ginger.
Pour some oil in a frying pan, adding Asafetida and cumin seeds to it when it’s just starting to heat. Let it roast for about 30-40 seconds. Then add turmeric powder along with corn meal flour and stir. After about a minute, add the paste made of tomatoes, green chillies (optional) and ginger. Add red chilli powder to it and cook it until oil starts separating from the paste. Those who like it a bit hot can add 1 chopped onion and two cloves of garlic to the paste.
When you see the oil separating from the cooked paste, add one glass of water and salt. Now add mustard leaves and stir it well so that everything is nicely mixed together. Cook it on low flame once you see the water evaporating completely for about 5-6 minutes.
While serving, garnish it with home-made butter or fresh cream with a sprig of coriander on the top. Sarson ka Saag is ready!