Thursday, August 12, 2010

Soulful Comfort Food

It was a cold, morbid afternoon. I wasn't in my happy place. Outside, the wind howled adding to my downcast mood. It seemed like the sun wasn't  very upbeat either 'cos he was hiding behind the dark, gloomy clouds. Nothing around me suggested cheer. Yet I had to eat...somehow I believed that I would feel better if I ate. I longed for my mom's tomato saaru and aloo fry, sigh! With that soothing picture in mind, I went about making lunch. Nothing fancy, just some really simple food. Some call it khichdi, some others may call it something else. But to me, it was a mood-lifter of sorts. 'Shhh' said the pressure cooker, three to four times and it was as if it was saying, 'hush now, everything's going to be alright'...My house smelt of jeera, ghee and hing...familiar smells of home. Now that's what I call soulful comfort food!

  • 1 cup rice (washed and drained)
  • 1/4 cup toor dal (washed and drained)
  • 2 tbspns ghee
  • 1 tspn whole cumin (jeera)
  • 1/4 tspn hing (asafotieda)
  • 2-3 fresh green chillies, slit
  • a handful of curry leaves
  • a couple of cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tspn ground turmeric
  • a few peppercorns
  • 1 medium potato, cubed
  • 1 cup avarekai - now I don't know what this is called in English. I used the frozen ones and on the packet it said Lima Beans & Tuvar Lilva (see picture)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • whole garam masala - cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf and cardamom pods (optional)
  • salt to taste
Method -
  • Heat ghee in a pressure cooker and add whole cumin, hing, pepper corns, curry leaves, green chillies, garlic and turmeric, one after the other. (If you're including whole garam masala, add at this stage.) Your kitchen should smell really good right now :)
  • Toss in chopped onion and saute for a bit.
  • Now add in rice and dal and mix well. This mixture needs to kind of fry for a couple of minutes. Give it some time until the rice turns opaque. But make sure the flame is sort of medium low as we don't want anything to burn. This is kind of an important step if you don't want everything to turn into a mush in the end.
  • Next, in go the cubed potatoes and avarekai.
  • A quick mix and it's time to add water. Now normally, we'd follow the 1:2 ratio for rice. But this needs to have a porridge like consistency. So go ahead and add about two or three cups more than you normally would. For this recipe, add about six cups of water.
  • Sprinkle salt for taste and give everything a good stir.
  • With the cooker weight on, let this cook for about three to four whistles.
  • Serve hot with pickle, more ghee and papadums.
If you don't have a pressure cooker, you could probably make it in a biggish pot with a lid or you could use the microwave. Cooking times may vary.


AshKuku said...

The pickle looks like maavina midi uppinakaayi..... Oh! I love that with just simple piping hot anna-ganji.... Hmmm.... DIVINE!!!! :)


Nithya said...

Yummy :) Ashkuku has reminded me the my most favorite combi too ;) yummm.

kitchen queen said...

delicious food

Sadhana said...

Hi Divya..nice to visit ur blog...u have nice collection of recipes...I'm happy to add u to my blog list.

Divya Rao said...

Thanks everyone :-)
Ash: Yes, it is indeed midi uppinkayi :-)


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