Mushroom risotto

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Valli gives us ample preparation time and even reminders to get us started on the month long mega marathons. So for September, I knew that the theme was protein rich foods very well ahead. But as usual, I never got around doing any preparation. What I didn’t realize was that With a two month long India trip in between, there wouldn’t be enough time once I come back.

Still I decided to participate for this month. My main confidence came from the fact that our daily food involves a decent serving of protein. So catching up won’t be very difficult. Also I already had about ten recipes in my drafts folder (magic folder) to get me started.

This is one of the recipes from the draft. I had made this risotto with mushrooms and black beans a while back. I love black beans and go around adding a handful or a cup of it to a lot of recipes. The combination of cheese, broccoli and beans makes the protein factor look good. And to think that I wasn’t planning on a protein high meal when I was preparing this recipe :-)…

Risotto is made using Arborio rice but  the Indian idli rice is a good substitution and that’s what I used. Read on for the recipe.

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Recipe adapted from: Sweet and Savory

Serves : 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice*
  • 1 cup cooked black beans
  • 200 gms mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup cheese
  • salt and pepper

* I used idli rice instead

Method:

 

Heat oil or butter in your Instant Pot (Saute Mode) or a thick bottomed pan. Add the chopped onions and saute till pink. Add the sliced mushrooms and broccoli florets. Saute for a few seconds.

 

Add the rice, saute it so that it is coated in the oil. Add the cooked black beans and 4 cups of broth. Season with salt and pepper.

 

Change the mode from Saute to either rice or Manual. Cook for about 10 minutes. Release the pressure and stir in the cheese. Mix well and serve hot. If you wish, you can    sprinkle a handful of sautéed mushrooms on top before serving.

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 80

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Celery rice

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When two ladies talk on phone, a lot of information exchange happens. This recipe is a result of one such phone call. A casual phone call around lunch time with my neighbor led to the “what’s cooking?” question and when she said celery rice, I jumped out to get my pen and a piece of paper to note down the recipe.

I tried it out soon and I have to say that its a good way to use up the HUGE batch of celery we buy from Costco, the wholesale store. The recipe develops flavor as it sits and I thought it tasted a lot better the next day. I served it with plain curd and chana masala (recipe in drafts, hopefully will see the sunlight some day soon!).

The recipe goes to the second week of CCChallenge. Please check out this page for more details about the event. 

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Pictorial

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Wash and soak one cup basmati rice. Set aside.

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Grind one head celery after removing the base and the fibrous parts with one inch piece ginger and couple of green chillies.

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Keep the paste aside.

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In a pan, heat 1-2 teaspoons of oil and add one medium sliced onion. Saute till pink. Add one teaspoon of ginger garlic paste and let it cook for a couple of minutes.

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Follow this up with the masalas : 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon chilli powder, 2 teaspoon coriander powder, 1 teaspoon cumin powder and salt as needed. The masalas can be adjusted according to one’s preferences.

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Saute everything well, add a teaspoon of water if it sticks to the bottom of the pan.

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Add the ground celery paste now. Mix it in. Let it cook for sometime till the raw flavor goes off. Check seasonings and adjust accordingly.

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Time to add the soaked cup of rice and 1.5 cups of water.

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Cover and let it cook until the rice is done, about 7-10 minutes mostly. Serve with raita.

Recipe source: My neighbor Devi

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 head celery
  • 1″ ginger piece, peeled
  • 2-3 green chillies
  • 2 teaspoons oil/ghee
  • one medium onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • salt

Method:

  1. Wash and soak one cup basmati rice. Set aside.
  2. Grind one head celery after removing the base and the fibrous parts with one inch piece ginger and couple of green chillies. Keep the paste aside.
  3. In a pan, heat 1-2 teaspoons of oil and add one medium sliced onion. Saute till pink. Add one teaspoon of ginger garlic paste and let it cook for a couple of minutes.Follow this up with the masalas : 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon chilli powder, 2 teaspoon coriander powder, 1 teaspoon cumin powder and salt as needed. The masalas can be adjusted according to one’s preferences.
  4. Saute everything well, add a teaspoon of water if it sticks to the bottom of the pan. Add the ground celery paste. Mix it in. Let it cook for sometime till the raw flavor goes off.
  5. Check seasonings and adjust accordingly.Time to add the soaked cup of rice and 1.5 cups of water. Cover and let it cook until the rice is done, about 7-10 minutes mostly. Serve with raita.

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Mango Rice

Mango is frequently appearing in the dishes for sometime now, at my place. I have had Panha, Mango sherbet, Mango chutney, Aamras, Kulfi and what not! In addition to my mangakkari, my MIL brought me two big bottle full of mango pickle. That will hardly survive for three months at my place, given that I have pickle with everything!

My cousin suggested I try this Mango rice, since its a little bit different from the usual mango dishes. I made this immediately since any idea to shorten the cooking process in summer is welcome. So here is the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • Cooked rice                     :         2 cups

To Grind:

  • Mango                                :          1/2 of a medium sized one, peeled
  • Coconut                             :         1/4 cup
  • Ginger                                :         1″
  • Curry leaves                    :        1 sprig
  • Coriander leaves           :         a handful
  • Hing                                    :        two pinches
  • Jeera                                  :         1/2 tsp
  • Green Chilies                 :          4-5, per taste

Tempering

  • Oil                                      :            1 tsp
  • Mustard seeds              :            1 tsp
  • Urad dal                          :            1/2 tsp
  • Peanuts                           :            a handful
  • Chana dal                       :             1/2 tsp
  • Curry leaves                 :              1 sprig
  • Red chilies                     :             1-2

Method:

  1. Peel the mango, halve it and grind it into a coarse state with the other ingredients. It should NOT be a paste and should resemble the mixture in the below picture. Running in the mixie for 2-3 short pulses is enough.
  2. Heat oil in a kadai. Add the mustard seeds and red chilies. Once the mustard seeds crack, add the rest of the ingredients. When everything is brown, add the ground mango mix and cook for a minute. Take off the heat and add the cooked rice and serve hot with papaddam.

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Bengali Thali

I was standing there, watching the waves dance. Hubby and kiddo were playing hide and seek with the waves. Teasing the water to come and touch their feet.

At the horizon, the anchored ships had switched the lights on, they were now twinkling like little stars far far away.

I decided to let the waves kiss my feet. I wanted to feel the salty, chilling water wash away all my worries. I looked down to watch them come and bury my feet in the sand.

Only I couldn’t. My paunch was coming in between.

Not one to take a hint easily, I stretched a bit further to see the waves bury my feet. I could still not see my feet, only my paunch was visible.

OK, I get the message. Time for some serious measures to watch my weight. No more fatty food.

While I ponder over the point, you guys enjoy this great thali, dishes prepared from the state of Bengal. Just like dieting sounds alien to me, Bengali cuisine is also foreign for me. So thanks a ton, Vaishali, for your insight into Bengali food and for helping me design the menu. Without your help, I would have been totally lost!

Like Kerala Sadya, Bengali food too has some rules when it comes to the food. I read about Bengali Cuisine here, written by Sandeepa of Bong Mom’s Cookbook.

Rice is the main cereal there, just like in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The first course has bitter gourd or neem leaves (something bitter) in it, this is supposed to have cleansing properties.

It is followed by rice and dal, with a fried bhaja or any other seasonal vegetable as a side dish. Fish and meat courses follow, but for vegetarian meals, paneer is a common substitute.

Then comes the chutney round. I tried getting pineapples, but I was out of luck that day. Went in for a raw mango chutney, and boy! it tasted so good.

The last round is yogurt and then some sweet. I made misti doi. I cooked the milk in the pressure cooker and I don’t know what I did wrong, the texture didn’t come out right. The taste was yum, but the texture didn’t come close to even my usual thick yogurt. Just bad luck, I guess.

The menu:

  • Vegetarian Dishes/ Curries
    • Ucche Bhaja : Bittergourd cooked and fried in oil
    • Begun Bhaja : Deep fried eggplant
    • Aloo Poshto : Potato in Poppy seeds (I was not able to grind the seeds properly!)
    • Cholar Dal : Dal made with chana dal, made on festivals and special occasions.
    • Chanar Dalna : Paneer and green peas curry
  • Rice
  • Sides
  • Sweet
    • Rasgolla : Paneer balls, cooked in sugar syrup

Ingredients for Eggplant fry (Begun Bhaja):

For Ucche Bhaja, bitter gourd fry, substitute brinjal with bitter guard and follow the same recipe. 

  • Eggplant , big variety              : 1
  • Turmeric powder                     :  1/2 tsp
  • Salt
  • Oil for deep frying

Method:

  1. Wash and pat the brinjal dry. Cut into 1/2″ thick round slices.
  2. Apply salt and turmeric powder.
  3. Heat oil in a pan. Deep fry brinjal until crisp and brown on both sides.
  4. Drain on a paper towel and serve hot.
  5. I have cut mine too thin. It should be a little more thick.

Except for the rasgolla and the dal, I am making everything for the first time. I hope I have done it right. This is a first time Bengali thali for me and I really loved the food. Who thought eggplants would be so tasty when fried with salt and a pinch of turmeric?!

Aam Pora Sherbet:

Ingredients:

  • Raw Mangoes          :        2
  • Sugar                           :   a varying quantity, depending totally on the sourness of mangoes. Start with 1/3 cup
  • Salt                               :     a pinch
  • Mint leaves               :   a handful, optional
  • Water or Soda for serving : 4-5 cups, again need to taste test and adjust accordingly.

Method:

  1. The first step is to get the mango pulp. Then for serving, the pulp can be diluted with water or with soda.
  2. Wash, clean and pat the mangoes dry. Roast them directly in open flame (like how we do for Baingan bhaja) or I guess you can bake them until they are soft as well.
  3. Turn the mangoes with a pair of tongs cook both sides. Once the skin is black and blistered, keep aside to cool.
  4. Once its cool to handle, peel the charred skin off. Wash thoroughly so that there are no burnt pieces left and squeeze the pulp out. Collect it in a bowl.
  5. Add sugar and a pinch of salt and handful of washed mint leaves (optional) and blend in a mixer/blender.
  6. This is the concentrate. I finished off mine then itself , so never really got around storing it.
  7. Add 3-4 cups of water and blend again. Check the sugar and add more if required. The quantity of water and sugar will depend on the sourness of mangoes. So start with a lesser quantity and work your way upwards.
  8. Pour into tall glasses and serve cool with ice cubes.

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