Friday, September 9, 2016

Mexican Red Rice - A Variation Of Tomato Rice


I was pondering on whether to cook rice or rotis to eat with the Kalli Curry I had just prepared. Taming the 'monster with thorns' and cooking it was real fun! With my son's guidance the Cactus Curry had turned out good! At his suggestion I prepared Mexican Red Rice and we got to enjoy an authentic Mexican meal for dinner! Preparing Mexican Red Rice was very easy as it is just another variation of Tomato Rice. 
Rice - 2 cups
Stewed tomatoes - 1 can

Onion (Chopped) - 1 (big)
Garlic ( Chopped) - 4 cloves
Tomatoes ( Chopped) - 1 (big)
Dried California Chlliy (A mild chilly which has a distinct flavour) - 1

Red chilly powder - 1/2 tsp or more if you want a spicy rice
Salt - 1 1/2 tsps
Olive oil - 2 tbsps
1.Thoroughly wash and drain rice and keep aside.
2. Heat one tbsp of oil and saute chilly, chopped onion and chopped garlic together till they become golden in colour.
3. Stir in chopped tomato and cook till it becomes soft and switch off flame and allow to cool.
4. Remove the sauteed ingredients from the pan and grind them together into a paste.

5. Remove the stewed tomatoes from the can, chop them and keep aside with the juice in the can.
6. Heat the remaining oil in the same pan and add the washed and drained rice.
7. Fry the rice on medium flame until it is dry and stops sticking to the pan.
8. Add the ground paste, chopped stewed tomatoes, the remaining juice in the can and salt.

9. Mix well and add 4 cups of water.

10. When the water starts to boil reduce the flame to medium.

Cover and cook stirring now and then till all the water is absorbed and the rice is done.

Enjoy the Mexican Red Rice with Kalli Curry / Cactus ( Nopales in Mexican) and Pinto Bean Curry.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Baingan And Elephant Garlic Bharta - Eggplant and Elephant Garlic In Gravy


We arrived at Portland right on time for the 19th annual Elephant Garlic Festival!
 As the name indicates Elephant garlic is enormous in size. Unlike normal garlic, it has a mild and sweet flavour but possesses the same antibacterial properties as the normal garlic does. Each clove is fleshy and  is  as big as a medium size onion. It can be chopped and used like any other vegetable in soups, kozhambus, rasam, gravies and salads. 
Though we had already enjoyed the festival during our last trip, visiting the Garlic mela once again was really an exciting experience.
Garlic ice cream, garlic lemonade, garlic pizza, garlicky  popcorn and more garlic snacks were selling like hot cakes at the food stalls!
After having a gala 'all garlic snack time' at the Elephant Garlic Festival my taste buds started to crave for something spicy, tangy and salty! We had picked up four huge Elephant Garlic bulbs at the festival and there was a huge eggplant tucked away in the refrigerator at home. That was enough to trigger off my enthusiasm to prepare Baingan and Elephant Garlic Bharta for dinner! I was not brave enough to use more than three cloves of Elephant Garlic in this attempt! After tasting the Bharta I realized that more cloves would not have harmed in any way!

Grilling is the first and best option to cook eggplant for bharta. But I chose to microwave it this time.

Elephant garlic cloves ( Peeled ) - 3
Eggplant - 1 (huge)
Onion - 1 (huge)
Tomatoes - 3 (huge)
Ginger (Grated)- 1 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Sambar powder - 3/4 tsp
Salt - 1 tsp
Garam masala powder - 1 pinch
Sesame oil - 2 tbsps
Coriander leaves - for garnishing
1. Wash,wipe and cut eggplant into thick slices.
2. Place the sliced pieces in a microwave safe dish and microwave for three or four minutes  till they are half done.
3. Place the peeled cloves of Elephant Garlic in the same dish and microwave for another four minutes till the eggplant becomes soft and mashable. Let it cool.

4. Peel the skin of the cooked eggplant and mash the pulp using the back of the ladle and keep it aside.
5. Mince onion, grate the ginger and cut tomatoes into small pieces.
6. Heat oil in a pan and splutter cumin seeds.
7. Add the minced onion, ginger and the microwaved Elephant garlic cloves.

8. Saute till the onions turn golden in colour and then add the tomatoes, salt and sambar powder.
9. Cover and cook on medium flame, stirring now and then till the tomatoes turn mushy and  the oil separates.
10. Add the mashed eggplant and garam masala powder and cook till all the ingredients blend well.

11. Add water if the bharta is too thick and simmer for 2 or 3 more minutes.

Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and enjoy the Baingan And Elephant Garlic Bharta with rotis or rice.