Instant Pot Jeera rice

BM# 102: Week 4, Day 3
Theme : One bowl recipes

Jeera rice is one of the oft repeated dish at my place. Most of the times I am making a North Indian curry, I always make some Jeera rice to serve it with. It pairs very well with Rajma, Chana masala, mushroom Chettinad and almost all the Curries. The rice pairs especially well with spicier curries. I serve the meal in a bowl with rice on one half and the curry filling the other half.

Earlier I used to cook rice first and then prepare and add the tadka separately. Now I just add everything to the rice and cook for 1 whistle if using stovetop pressure cooker or 2 minutes if using Instant Pot. So just grab a pot that fits inside the Instant Pot or stovetop cooker, add the cleaned rice, 1.5 times water, peas, salt, Jeera and ghee. It’s a good idea to let the rice rest for 30 minutes before cooking. If I need to go out, I set the timer function for 30 minutes in Instant Pot for this. With the timer on, the cooking starts after the set time has elapsed, so the rice starts cooking after 30 minutes. The peas is optional here, but I like it. Read on for the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon jeera/cumin seeds
  • 1/2 cups frozen green peas
  • 1 tablespoon butter/ghee
  • Salt as needed

Method:

  1. Wash and drain the rice. In a stainless steel vessel that would fit inside Instant Pot, add the rice and everything else. Let it rest for 20-30 minutes.
  2. Add a cup of water to the inner pot of Instant Pot. Keep the pot inside trivet. Select Manual mode and set the timer for 2 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally. Serve with any curry of your choice.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#100

Kanchipuram Idli

BM#102: Week 2, Day 2
Theme :
Restaurant recipes

Me and my husband are both from middle income families where eating out was a rarity. It wasn’t financially feasible for our parents plus there was this firm notion in their minds that outside food is substandard. After we got married and moved out of my in laws place, me and my husband used to eat out a lot. The kitchen was always closed on weekends.

My in laws and my dad still look at eating out as wasting money, but my mother, who was held back by the financial situation while we were growing up but more so by my dad, was quick to change. She always liked eating out, but lacked company to do it. I remember her trying kanchipuram idlis at a South Indian restaurant we had visited once. So when I made kanchipuram idlis recently, I was thinking of her :-).

Read on for the recipe.

Ingredients:

For the batter:

  • 1/2 cup raw rice
  • 1/2 cup parboiled rice
  • 3/4 cup urad dal
  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • Salt as needed

For making the idli:

  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, crushed
  • Handful of cashew nuts
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry ginger powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder

Method:

  1. Soak the rice, fenugreek seeds and dal together overnight. Grind next morning using a grinder or mixie. Set aside to ferment. Refrigerate once the batter is fermented and has doubled in quantity. This usually takes about 8-10 hours depending on the weather.
  2. When ready to prepare the idli, crush black pepper and cumin together using a mortar and pestle. Heat ghee and add the cumin pepper mix. Add cashews and sauté until it changes color. Remove from heat, let it cool completely and then add to the batter.
  3. Add the turmeric powder and the dry ginger powder also to the batter.
  4. Pour the batter into the idli molds and steam for 10-12 minutes until the idlis are cooked through.
  5. Take off the heat, serve with sambar and idli podi.

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Barley Pulao

barley_pulav1

BM# 98: Week 2, Day 2
Theme : Dish for each meal

The only time I remember eating barley before was when I was pregnant. My legs used to swell up a lot. I used to feel that my body was a bakery. After all, it produced something similar to a domed up freshly baked bread right there in my feet….Oh! it was that bad. Barley was suggested by many to reduce the swelling, but the doctor told me that barley doesn’t help much with swollen feet. There was no cure except to wait for the baby to come out. I remember looking at my feet a day after Shreyas was born and wondering why the swelling was still there! After all, the doctor said it would be back to normal after the delivery. Thank God the baby kept me busy to worry too much about it, because I carried around my bread feet for almost another two months!!

After that brief stint with barley, I completely forgot about it. It was only when I saw this recipe for barley pulao in the book Deepa’s Secrets by Deepa Thomas that it came back to my attention again. This is a good recipe to start replacing some of the rice from your diet. It is very simple, barley is cooked with spices and then added to sauteed vegetables and that is about it. The list of spices may look long, but these are common spices in an Indian kitchen or just use what you have and skip the rest. The book suggests using whole grain barley here. Recipes don’t have to be tedious to be tasty and this is one example for that.

Read on for the recipe that will make an easy lunch or dinner.

barley_pulav2

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Ingredients:

To cook barley

  • 2 cups barley
  • 6 cups water
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 pods cardamom
  • 1″ cinnamon piece
  • salt and pepper to taste

Vegetable saute:

  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced thin
  • 1 each red and yellow capsicum, chopped
  • salt and pepper as needed
  • roasted nuts or lemon juice for taste, optional

Heat one tablespoon of oil in a pan, add the thinly sliced fennel without crowding. Cook undisturbed for a minute. Carefully turn it over and cook the other side. Take off the heat and move it to a bowl and set aside for now.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil and repeat the same with the pepper. Layer them without crowding the pan and let it cook undisturbed for a couple of minutes. Flip it to cook the other side and set aside.

Meanwhile, bring 6 cups of water to boil in a big pan. Add barley along with the spices and salt and pepper. Let it cook until its done, stirring in between. Once its cooked, add it to the sauteed fennel and  pepper. Top with lemon juice or toasted nuts.

 

barley_pulav3

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Acini Di Pepe Spinach soup

While rearranging my pantry I came across a pack of acini di pepe pasta. It’s a tiny pasta that works well in soups and salads. The name apparently means “seeds of pepper”. This tiny pasta is also used for a cold salad called frog eye salad. I had initially bought it to make the salad but never ended up making it.

I used the recipe in the box itself for our lunch today. It’s been extremely windy and cold here for the past couple of days. A hot bowl of soup is perfect for this weather.

The recipe is very simple and the soup was ready in a matter of minutes. While searching the internet, I learned that this soup is called Italian wedding soup if you add meatballs to it. The name implies a marriage of flavors rather than being served at an actual wedding. But of course I didn’t tell my husband that part ;-) He had his lunch thinking he was having a part from a wedding meal!

Read on for the recipe. This post goes to Kids Delight event, hosted this month by PJ under the theme Winter warmers.

Recipe source: Ronzoni

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 6 cups of broth/water
  • 1/2 cup acini di Pepe pasta, uncooked
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, optional
  • 10 oz pack of frozen spinach
  • Salt and pepper as needed
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, optional

Method:

  1. Heat butter in a pan. Sauté onion and garlic until it turns light pink.
  2. Add water or broth and bring it to a boil. Add pasta, nutmeg , salt and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Add spinach and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring in between. Pasta should be cooked by now. Take off the heat and serve with grated Parmesan cheese if preferred.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#96