Recipes: 4 Rice Dishes That Are Easy to Whip Up at Home
Rice has got its share of bad press, specially a white polished type variety. It is tagged as a bad carbohydrate and is announced as a weight gain tool. If you love rice, as I do, then take my word for it and eat it without guilt. After all, rice has been cultivated and eaten in our country since ancient times.
In fact, there are as many varieties of rice in India as there are dialects - each region producing a variety.
So while white rice too is okay to eat every now and then (no, it is not a sugar spiking villain if had with lentils and vegetables), it is a good idea to eat the many indigenous rice varieties we grow in the country as they are extremely beneficial for us.
According to Dr. Vandana Shiva, the founder of Navdanya trust, “Rice is a symbol of Prana, breath, and prosperity.”
Navdanya farmers have in fact conserved more than 4000 varieties of rice.
Try these fabulous recipes shared by Navadanya:
Vanghi Bhath - Brinjal Rice
In dryland Karnataka where rain-fed agriculture predominates, water prudence is the key to security. Saale the drought-resistant variety of rice is thus a good option for this traditional dish Vanghi Bhath.
1 cup cubed Brinjal (eggplant) (approx. 150 gm)
3/4 cup Saale (or 2 cups cooked rice)
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon urad dal
7-8 Curry Leaves
1 Dry Red Chilli
2 tablespoons Peanuts or 6-7 Cashew Nuts
1/4 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
1/2 tablespoon Tamarind (soaked into 1/4 cup water) or 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped Coriander Leaves
Wash the rice and then cook it and keep aside. Dry roast all the ingredients which are to be ground. Powder this when cool and keep them aside.
Cut the brinjal lengthwise in ½ inch stripes. Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan and fry the seasoning. Add the brinjal. Add the powdered masala and salt to taste. Remove from the fire and mix the cooked rice and add ghee.
Chak-Hao Amubi Kheer
This Manipuri Forbidden Rice pudding is nutty, creamy, and all-round delicious.
1/2 Cup Chak-hao Amubi, Manipuri Black Rice
2 cups Milk
6 tbsp Sugar
1 tsp Cardamom Powder
Soak the rice for 4 to 6 hours in water. Drain the water from the soaked rice. In a heavy-bottomed vessel, boil the milk. When the milk starts to boil, turn the heat down to low. Add the soaked black rice and cook on low heat.
Keep stirring and cook the Chak-Hao Amubi Kheer till the rice is cooked and the milk has reduced to about 1/2 the quantity. This rice does not become mushy like regular rice when cooked. However, it is firm on the outside and soft on the inside when cooked.
When the rice is cooked, take the black rice kheer off the heat. Add sugar and cardamom powder. Mix well.
You can serve the Chak-Hao Amubi Kheer | Forbidden Rice Pudding | Manipuri Black Rice Kheer warm or chilled.
Mappillai samba, commonly known as ‘bridegroom rice’ is red in color with short and thick grains. Apart from boosting immunity, it is also known to provide instant energy and ease digestion.
1 cup urad dal/black gram dal
1 cup raw Mappillai samba rice
1 cup boiled Mappillai samba rice
Oil for greasing cups
Salt to taste
Mix the rice and soak it in water for 3 hours. Soak the black gram separately. Grind the soaked dal to a fine paste and keep aside. Then grind the soaked rice to a coarse paste.
Mix both the pastes. Add salt and keep it covered overnight. The next day beat the batter well. Grease idli cups with oil and fill them with the idli batter. Steam for 20 minutes.
Basmati is one of the most superior varieties of rice grown in the world. Indigenous to North India and Pakistan, this rice variety is distinct for its unique aroma and flavour. It covers 10-15 percent of the total land area under rice cultivation.
1 cup Basmati rice
4 green chilies
½ cup shelled peas
4 cardamom pods and cinnamon
2 garlic cloves and ginger pieces
1 tbsp table salt
2 big onions
1 tsp oil
½ cup ghee
Firstly, rinse the rice in the water runs clear of starch. Then soak the rice in enough water for 30 minutes. Then strain the rice and keep aside.
When the rice is soaking, prep the veggies and keeps the whole spices aside. Picture of the whole spices added in the pulao, except cumin. If you do not have any particular spice, then you can skip it.
Heat ghee or oil in a deep thick bottomed pot or pan. Add all whole spices and fry till they become fragrant. Add the thinly sliced onions. Sauté the onions on a low flame till golden and stirring them often for uniform browning.
Once the onions become golden, then add crushed ginger+garlic+green chili paste. Stir and sauté till the raw aroma of the ginger & garlic goes away. Now add all the chopped veggies and sauté again for 2 to 3 minutes on a low flame. Please note that at this step you can even add 2 to 3 tablespoons of chopped coriander leaves and 2 tablespoons of mint leaves.
Add the rice. Sauté rice gently for 2 minutes on a low to medium-low flame, so that the rice gets well coated with the oil. Pour water. Stir well. Add salt and cover the lid till it cooks.
(Kavita is a nutritionist, weight management consultant, and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of Don’t Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People (Jaico), Ultimate Grandmother Hacks: 50 Kickass Traditional Habits for a Fitter You (Rupa) and Fix it with foods.)
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