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Posts Tagged ‘mustard seeds’

I have been ill for a frustrating amount of lockdown – Covid (mild, self diagnosed, with the Engineer developing an alarming but confirming case of Covid Toe), toothache (still waiting for the dental hospital extraction referral appointment) and then a gastric bug. It’s been boring for us all, and the Vicarage kitchen has rather suffered from a lack of creative input.

But as I started to recover a couple of weeks ago I happily remembered a recipe that I used to use frequently when we lived in South East Asia, but had almost forgotten. It’s essentially a South Indian rice recipe, and I remember being provided with it on field trips when I worked in Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh, when I was involved in a feasibility study for some enormous water pumping stations to supply the city.

Lemon rice is a gorgeous accompaniment to any Indian dish, but particularly anything barbecued, like tandoori chicken. It’s actually a pretty filling dish on its own, and because this version has peanuts, it’s a complete meal and so suits any family that has acquired a vegan *mother of teenagers face*.

I have made this using basmati rice and with Thai fragrant jasmine, but any type of rice would be fine. After our time in Malaysia and Singapore, our go-to rice is Thai fragrant jasmine. The Queen had not realised this, and had been buying standard long grain at university. Unfortunately, she had also realised that rice at home tastes much better and was distressed to find that we have basically spoiled her for cheap rice.

Ingredients

  • Cooked rice – I use 450ml of rice (3 rice measuring cups) for our family of 5 to ensure leftovers
  • Oil
  • 1 tspn mustard seeds
  • pinch of asofoetida powder
  • a handful of dried curry leaves, unless you can find fresh ones
  • 1/2 tspn grated ginger
  • 1/2 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 tspn chilli flakes, or a couple of whole dried chillis broken into 2cm sections (adapt to your chilli capacity)
  • a handful of cashews – raw or roasted and salted are fine
  • a couple of handfuls of red skinned peanuts
  • 1 tspn turmeric
  • Good slosh of lemon juice – 3-4 tbspns I guess

All you have to do is heat the oil, and then add the rest of the ingredients together, apart from the lemon juice, and gently fry until the nuts are toasted and the mustard seeds begin to pop. Then add the oil and fried nuts and spices to the rice, with the lemon juice, and mix until you have a beautiful fragrant yellow rice dish. Try not to eat it all at once.

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When the Vicar and I lived in Singapore, we had a lovely neighbour who was from Mumbai/Bombay. We celebrated the Millenium on her roof and shared recipes. And the Vicarage cat came to us through her feline loving contacts. Nomi also taught me to cook dhal. Spiced lentils is a staple of Indian cuisine, and there are heaps of different recipes. When I cooked this recipe for our Tamil church friends, though, they pleasingly said that it was ‘restauarant dhal’.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of toor lentils (not the oily ones) – these are yellow pigeon peas and can usually be found in specialist Asian grocers (or Tescos in our tow-un). If you can’t find them yellow split peas or red lentils would work as well.
  • pinch asafoetida (if you can find it, otherwise not a biggy – it’s meant to decrease the wind quotient of the lentils, but doesn’t really affect the taste)
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 tbspn black or brown mustard seeds
  • 1 tbspn cumin seeds
  • 1/2 cup of curry leaves – dried or fresh if you can find them
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 1-2 green chillies, chopped fine OR 1 tspn chilli powder OR 1 tspn crushed dried red chillies (use a smaller amount the first time you make this & increase next time if you’d like your dhal spicier)
  • 1 tspn turmeric powder

Cook your lentils in water according to instructions. I use a pressure cooker so I can cook them in about 15 minutes (plus all the time taken for the pressure cooker to calm down so I can open it without scalding my nose). When the lentils are cooked, you can add your asafoetida to make them less fartful. Then heat a good slosh of oil in the bottom of a frying pan. This oil will be flavoured and added to your lentils, so don’t skimp or you won’t be able to distribute the spiciness too well. I cover the bottom of my pan in oil – about 4-5 tbspns I guess. Heat the oil and then pop in the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and curry leaves. Once the leaves start to discolour and the mustard seeds start to get lively, add the garlic, chillies and turmeric. Once the garlic has cooked and taken on some colour, add the spiced oil to the lentils. And stir and serve. This is brilliant with rice, naan, chappatis or pitta. And freezes really well. Great for lunch or supper with another curry.

The spiced oil

The spiced oil

A pot of dhal

And a pot of dhal

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