Saturday, March 5, 2011

Spice Up Your Rice, With Mustard!

    I love a recipe that's easy. I love a recipe that goes with all sorts of other stuff which makes life easy. I love mustard seed rice because it fits all of the above. When I was planning my Academy Awards Dinner, I was serving about 8 things, all of which were made on the day of the event. The event which started at 5 but not really, because everyone, (okay just the women) wanted to come over earlier and see all the gowns on the red carpet and add their own particular snark to the mix. I wanted to be able to get a look too, and I wanted to be able to serve before the show started, so that everybody could settle and get comfortable with their thalis before James Franco came on.
   Believe me, the planning of this meal needed some sort of DD acronym like Operation Dal, or Coconut Freedom or something. It was that meticulous. Paula Wolfert once said after eating here that it was truly shock and awe considering I did it all without any sister-in- laws to help. I've been doing this for years and so I've built up a big cooking muscle, but even so, I like to make things easy if I possibly can. That's where this delicious rice comes in.
   Mustard seed rice is a staple dish and it's great for any sort of cooking because it goes well with any cuisine, not just Indian food. Also I love any recipe that starts with the words... make rice. The fancy part, which is actually not that fancy comes later, after everything is done.
  Make rice. Two simple words which always remind me of one former sister-in-law of mine who didn't understand rice that didn't come pre-made, boil in a pouch. She didn't last long in my husband's family where they are all  big time foodies. She was replaced rather shortly by my new sister-in-law Chong, who knows all sorts of food secrets thank you very much. But family drama aside let's start with rice. Make rice. Okay, there are a number of ways in which to make rice. I'll tell you one particular way used in this recipe.

Rice With Mustard Seed

Making Rice:
  Rinse 2 cups of basmati rice in cold water then soak it in 5 cups of water for 30 minutes. Drain it.
  In a large pot heat 1 Tbs of vegetable oil when it's hot, add the drained rice and stir it around for a minute or so.
Add in:
 2 and 1/4 cups of water
 3/4 tsps of salt
 Bring it to a boil, pop a lid on the pot and turn down the heat to very low. Let it cook like that for about 25 minutes or so until the rice is tender.
 While the rice is cooking

Make the Paste:
  This is the fun part. Get out a blender or food processor.
 Grind together:
 1 Tbs of brown mustard seeds
 1/2 cup grated dried coconut
 4 dried red chilies
 1/2 tsp of turmeric
 A piece of tamarind pulp as big as a marble (you can used a bit of lemon juice as a substitute)
 1 Tbs or so of water
Grind all of this up into a fine paste.
Set the paste aside.
  Now for the chaunk! or poppu which is the Telegu word. This is what gives the dish it's pop, or zing, or bam or whatever exclamation you wish.
  In a heavy skillet (I have a several cast iron ones in varying sizes) Heat 1 Tbs of vegetable oil.
When the oil is hot toss in:
 1 tsp brown mustard seeds
 1 and 1/2 tsp of urad dal
 1 and 1/2 tsp of chana dal
 1 dried red chili broken in half
 About 4  curry leaves
  When the mustard seeds start to pop toss in:
 3 Tbs of raw peanuts. Stir them around for about 3 minutes.
 Then add in the ground paste. Stir it up and fry it a bit until it's a bit toasty and aromatic.
 Add the mixture to the already cooked rice and serve it up .
   As I said, this is not just for Indian food. This rice goes well with all sorts of dishes, and once the rice is cooked, comes together fast enough for all the gossip on the red carpet.
   Coming next, spinach that can run hot or cold depending on how you feel about it.
  tomorrow I'm going to be turning my new waffle iron on for the first time and hopefully making delicious coconut flour waffles. At least that's my fantasy. I'll be taking some of my home-cured bacon out of the freezer to accompany it. Wish me luck and follow along with Twitter @kathygori


  1. wow very tempting and healthy rice...

  2. Well that's pretty brilliant! That rice looks good enough by itself.

  3. Never thought to add mustard to my rice, but it's a great idea!

  4. Adam loves rice. As a child Adam loved to eat rice with - and I cringe saying this - yellow mustard. I have teased him about this for ever, but now you've given me an opportunity to prepare his childhood favorite in what looks to be a delicious recipe. This will make a tasty surprise for him this week, thanks!

  5. I LOVE Indian rice Pilafs (whatever you want to call them) and I LOVE mustard seeds. So I am definitely adding this to the to try pile.

  6. I can almost smell all the spices from here! I wonder if this goes well with brown rice?

  7. @penny aka jeroxie,
    yeah, I think it would be fine with about brown basmati

  8. Love that Chamba pot! Had to laugh when I saw your loaded shopping cart and the beaming Mallu shopkeepers!



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