Oct 30, 2009

Spicy Tomato Rice and Raitha

Spicy Tomato Rice - perfect for a cold autumn dinner.

I was never a fan of tomato rice as a kid. But, this taste is one that grows with you as you grow up. Or at least it was for me.

This version is a spicy spicy version - like almost 'call the fire station' spicy! As you read the post, you'll see what I'm talking about. My sister once told me this recipe years back. And once I did this the first time, I never went back to the boring old tomato rice.

You can cut back on the heat while making this - but why? Is it not fun to eat spicy stuff with cold raitha and a gulp of cold water, your eyes watering a little bit - your nose sniffling with the heat. Sometime don't you just want to eat like that? I do..and that's when I make this! LOL!

Let's get to the recipe.

Ingredient Check list:

Basmati Rice - cook 2 cups with 3 cups water.
Onions - chopped finely
Ginger, Garlic, Green Chilli - chopped finely
Tomatoes - lots of it - again cut into really small pieces.
Turmeric Powder
Rasam Powder
Sambar Powder
Ghee - 2 tsps

In a wide pan, add about 1 tsp of oil. Fry the ggg stuff - the green chilli, ginger and garlic. Then, add the onions and fry for a couple of minutes.

When the onions are done, add the chopped tomatoes and mix well.


Now comes the best part.

Add 1 tsp of turmeric powder. Add salt to taste. Now, add 3 tsp of Rasam Powder and 2 tsp of Sambar powder - that's right - its 5 tsp totally - I told you it was spicy! Don't be a sissy! Well..if you insist, cut it down to half! And write down 100 times in a paper - "I am a sissy"

Look at that - don't your eyes just water looking at all this awesome spice?


Mix well and let this cook on medium for a while. Add about 2 more tsps of oil at this point. 


Keep cooking until most of the moisture evaporates.


You can see the tomato paste getting thicker. Keep stirring it so it does not stick to the bottom.



Cool down the cooked rice so that they don't stick together.


When the tomato paste is done, mix the rice little at a time with the tomato paste. Add salt if required. At this point, add about 2 tsp of ghee - that just brings out all the flavor and cuts down the heat a little bit.


There - that's done!


Here's an aerial view from the sky chopper camera! LOL!


For a quick side dish for the tomato rice, I made a raitha with bell peppers and cucumbers. Cut bell peppers into really small pieces and fry in a tsp of oil with some mustard seeds tadka.


Add the cucumbers and the sauteed bell peppers in a bowl. Add a little bit of salt for taste. 

Add fresh curds to this and mix well. Add some chopped cilantro and Raitha is ready!

 Serve tomato rice hot with raitha!


Here's a up close and personal look at the rice! 


This one is almost invading into its personal space. But hey..what the hell. I can't resist!


 Enjoy. Peace Out!

Oct 27, 2009

Paneer Parathas with Tamatarwale Aloo and Raitha

I've been thinking of making this for a while but never got around to do it..call me lazy - I don't care.

Finally..this dish saw the light of day! I made this for a Saturday brunch..perfect to relax, enjoy and eat. This does involve a little bit of cooking. And I made paneer from scratch for the parathas. So, that did add a little bit of time and effort - but oh so worth it!

Before I start discussing the parathas - here are the two quick side dishes I prepared for the parathas.

I made Aloo with a tomato based gravy and a mixed raitha. They both go well with all kinds of parathas and are very easy to make.

For the potato subji, just boil about 4 or 5 potatoes and set aside.

Chop up about 3 tomatoes and a couple of green chilli - blend together to a smooth paste.

Add a tbsp of oil to a pan, add some jeera and chopped onions. When the onions are done, mash the cooked potatoes and add them here. Add some haldi, salt and garam masala. Fry for a couple of mins.


Add the tomato paste in here and let it cook in medium for a while.

And its' done! How easy was that?! Add some chopped coriander on top for flavor.


And here's my super quick raitha. Just chop up some tomatoes, onions and cucumbers into small pieces. Add fresh curds and give it a good stir. Add salt and a pinch of red chilli powder to taste. And we are done!


An now moving on to the parathas, here is the fresh paneer I made. To look at a complete recipe to make paneer, click here.

Drain the paneer and do not tie it up for long.

You will need to have crumpled paneer like this.


For the filling, add a tsp of oil. Add some jeera and then finely chopped onions. I added about 1/2 cup of finely chopped bell peppers too. Then, add the paneer and add salt and a tsp of garam masala for taste.


I used the whey from the paneer to make the atta. This does have some nutrition to it and I substituted this instead of water to mix the atta.


Make a round chappathi - not too thin.


Scoop about 2 tsps of filling inside here.


Fold all four sides and roll again.


There's the little bundle.


Roll it out slowly making sure that the filling does not ooze out.


You can see the filling through the chappathi layer.


Get all your parathas ready in a row!


Fry them both sides on a tawa. When the paratha is almost done, add a few drops of ghee and cook on both sides.


There they are...nice and golden!


Serve hot with tamatar wale aloo and raitha or with your favorite side dishes!



A close up shot of the paratha babes!


This one's for you!


Enjoy. Peace Out!

Oct 21, 2009

Couscous Pulav

Here's a desi twist to an international dish.
Couscous is a made with semolina wheat and then usually coated with finely ground wheat flour. I got mine at Trader Joes – the whole wheat version.

This is truly a quick dish to make and super tasty to eat! And the perks are that it is a food that is high in fiber and protein and really low in fat! What’s not to eat then? It is also a very light meal – perfect for dinners.

I’ve used a whole array of vegetables in here- use all the veggies you like! You could also paneer to this to make it even more delicious! I’m thinking of that for the next time I make this.

Ingredients check in –

Whole Wheat Couscous – or any other variety really
Vegetable Broth – if you don’t have it or can’t find it, make your own or substitute with water
Butter or Ghee – 1 tsp
Assorted Vegetables of your choice
Pulav Masala, Salt, Red chilli powder and turmeric – to taste

To begin with – chop all the veggies you are using into small pieces. I used red onions, green beans, carrots, peas and corn in here. You could also add bell peppers or broccoli, cauliflower etc.


I happened to have vegetable broth at home and thought that would be a little bit more nutritious and flavorful than just plain water to add to the couscous. If you don’t have veggie broth, just add plain water – that works just fine.

For about 2 cups of couscous, take about 2 ¼ cups of broth or water. Bring the broth to a boil in a small saucepan separately. Add 1 small tsp of butter or ghee to this.


In a wide pan, add about 1 tsp of oil. Add some cumin, chopped green chilli and chopped ginger and fry for a couple of mins. Then, add the onions and sauté for a min. When the onions turn translucent, add the other mixed vegetables. Now, add salt, red chilli powder, turmeric and about 1 tsp of biriyani powder or pulav masala. That gives us the desi kick! Cook the veggies for about 3-4 mins – don’t overcook the veggies.


When the veggies are done, switch off the stove and add the 2 cups of couscous to the veggies. Give it a quick stir.


Now, add the boiling broth or water to this and cover immediately. Let this just sit for about 10 – 15 mins.

You got 15 mins – go do something…I gave my daughter a quick shower! You could do something more fun!

15 mins are up…come on back here!

When you open the lid and take a look at this couscous…you get magically transported to Morocco… do a little belly dance …and then a little bollywood dance, because we do have the desi factor in here!

Fluff the couscous with a fork – you will see how light it is. Like they want to fly away and the veggies are holding them back. Can’t let them get away…

Enjoy hot on a plate.


For all you out there who have not tried couscous…please do it for me – at least once. And then I’m sure you will be hooked to this. Doesn’t this just look delicious? Don’t you want to eat some? So, just make it. And let me know how it turns out.

Enjoy! Peace Out!