The beauty of my country lies in its variety of rice …..in the way it treats the rice and what it does with its humungous variety of rice. What an incredibly edible item is rice.
Living in the south of the country truly makes you want more and more of each item. Warning though : the following items are all addictive in nature and i only live by example…..as soon as the desire to dig into one of these wells up within me, i remove all my inhibitions and dig deep into my rice cooker….however, i try to eat it only once or twice a week, so that i can do justice to my appetite and have no need of exercising any control whatsoever. So in a manner of speaking- i control my addiction! ahaa!
Today i wish to expound the number of dishes that have emerged to satisfy a variety of tastes :
Lemon rice – its ubiquitousness is legendary and seems to be loved by adults and kids alike;
Puli-rice (Tamarind rice) – even as i write the name, my mouth drools at the thought of its all-pervasive taste. It tingles, its tangy sweetness and the last morsel, coated with spice….mmmm, just leaves you wanting more. Eaten as is, or with a bowl of yoghurt, its king of spiced rice items;
Curry-leaf rice – made with love, when there’s an excess of curry leaves available, they are browned and roasted, some tamarind, some powdered spice, and the green leaves are a near-paste…cooked & curried, but never in a hurry. It is supposed to be the best cure for many a tummy ailment and unhurried desires that turn into passion when ingested with warm rice and some sesame oil, heaven at your fingertips i say!
Sambar-rice – some leftover sambar, some leftover rice and you have a delicious concoction freshly put together with dollops of ghee (clarified butter) and your tastebuds are tickled pink till your fingers are dowsed in this wonderful rice preparation, which is not quite a rice dish, and yet it’s what a lot of us would love to have just-like-that. If there be some crisp popadums (papads) to accompany it, why not!
Turmeric rice : as the name suggests, its yellow colour, and the accompanying spice- turmeric- that yellow colour that seems to reign supreme in every kitchen- it can be nicknamed the Kitchen God…it’s dominating presence can turn any dull dish into a fine-looking specimen, then why should rice be left behind. One could sputter some mustard seeds in oil, add a little red chilly powder and few pinches of turmeric (haldi) into the oil itself- watch the perfume go up in the air, as your nostrils are pervaded with its raw smell…dump in any leftover rice with a little salt to taste. swish the rice and there till all grains are yellowed- serve with a generous helping of ghee. With no accompaniments- this rice will give you intense joy….just as it is.
Chilly Red Rice : healthy and fiery- can’t go wrong can we now! Boiled red rice on one hand, and fiery red chillies on another- can be exchanged for green chillies as well, some handpound fresh root ginger, and we’re good to go. Squeeze some fresh lemon juice before serving or eating, and mmmmm, there’s heaven to be had. You do need some yoghurt on the side in case the chillies are overwhelming…
Zeera Rice : cumin – the most wonderful whole spice there is. They are all special, but cumin remains my ever-favorite. Rice tempered with cumin, a little pepper powder, some coriander powder and then topped with fresh cilantro- yummy is the word. Let it rest a little before you grab spoonfuls of it. One can always add a little red chilly powder too, but pepper should do the trick. The tempering is best done in a little mustard oil…if you have the stomach for it. This particular preparation was one that i created for my kids’ lunch boxes with leftovers…so i would even end up adding bits of veggies into the rice, which they happily wolfed down, treating this preparation as their mom’s Veg Biryani! Both parties were delighted!
to be continued……