Tag Archives: lime juice

Lemon Rice

I have always loved this rice dish because it is so light yet flavorful. But then that is a hallmark of so many recipes of the cuisine of Tamil Nadu in India.

I made it for dinner yesterday when we had friends come over to eat with us.

I always make so much more rice than ever gets used so there was lots left over. We had some of that for lunch today with the raita and carrot salad that were also left over from last night.

This recipe borrows from Viji Vardarajan’s “Samayal”.

Lemon Rice

1 cup of Basmati rice

a few curry leaves

1/2 a teaspoon of mustard seeds

2 tablespoons – a little more or a little less would be okay too- of chana daal (yellow split pea lentils), soaked in warm water for 3-4 hours then drained

juice of half a lime

salt to taste

1/2 a teaspoon of turmeric powder

1 green chilli, sliced in to halves (optional)

2 tablespoons of oil

Wash and soak the rice in cold water for 30 minutes, then cook with salt, a teaspoon of oil and 1 and a 1/2 cups of water. Leave the rice to cool, then fluff up the rice a little to separate the grains.

In a large frying pan, heat the oil and add the curry leaves and the mustard seeds. When the latter begun to crackle and jump out of the oil, add the lentils and stir fry for a few minutes till they are quite soft. At this point they will begin to look a darker yellow and be just a little bit crisp (but not hard). Now stir in the turmeric powder, add the lime juice and then the rice. Mix everything together, then fry the rice for 3-4 minutes, turning over a couple of times and then take the pan off the heat.

Sambhar is an excellent accompaniment for this rice dish.

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Filed under Rice-Pulavs,Biryanis,Baaths

My Favorite Daal – Chana Daal with Lauki(Bottle Gourd) or Courgette

I tend to eat this daal (yellow split peas) from a bowl like one would eat soup, with a touch of  lime juice though it very nice with phulkas or paranthas too. It has a really  hearty taste and is quite filling.  My Ma usually tempers it with paanchphoran, which somehow suits this daal, IMO.

She often cooks it with bottle gourd (lauki) added to it, which I substitute with courgette since that Indian vegetable is not easy to find here.

And though I made it yesterday with the skin of the courgette peeled off, since the girls eat it more easily that way, it is probably better to retain the skin since that likely has a lot of nutrients.

I also usually make more of this daal than we need for one meal because the leftover portion, mixed with whole wheat flour, makes the dough for really soft and full-of-taste phulkas/paranthas the next day.

Chana Daal with Lauki or Courgette

1 cup of chana daal (yellow split pea lentils)

1 large or two small onions, chopped fine

1 medium sized or two small tomatoes, chopped fine

1/2  a teaspoon of grated ginger or ginger paste

1/2 a teaspoon (and perhaps a pinch more) of turmeric powder

1 courgette (300-400 grams), washed, peeled or preferably with the skin and diced in to chunks (neither too large nor too small)

salt (2 teaspoons or to taste)

2-3 tablespoons of sunflower oil

Also, ideally, 1 tablespoon of finely chopped coriander leaves

Soak the lentils for a couple of hours, then drain the water in which they were soaked and pressure cook with another three cups of water and salt till quite soft. This will probably need 6 to 8 whistles (if the pressure cooker is the Indian variety).

Remove the cooker off the hob and when all the steam has been released from the cooker, open the lid, stir the daal with a large spoon or ladle to break up the grains, then add the courgette and cook the mixture again -another couple of whistles should do it.

When the cooker is ready to be opened again add the turmeric and stir everything together gently so as not to smash the courgette pieces.

In the meanwhile, in a smaller frying pan, prepare the tadka. Heat the oil, then add paanchphoron.

As all the five spices of  paanchphoron begin to crackle, add the onions and fry till they are golden brown. Add the ginger paste/grated ginger next and fry for another 30 seconds, then add the tomatoes and fry till the oil starts to appear on the sides. Now add the chopped coriander and mix everything well before adding this tadka to the daal in the cooker.

If the daal seems too thick then add a little boiled water (and salt, if needed). To finish, simmer the daal for a few minutes so that the tadka blends in well.

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Filed under Daals, Quick Meal Ideas, Soups

Steamed Trout

Fish is one of those things I strangely cannot remember having watched my mother cook when I lived at home, though we had fish curry quite often  as both she and my father loved this dish and a friend of my father’s would often bring us delicious fresh water fish from his village that was not far from where we lived in Bokaro. And although Boudi, who is an excellent cook, makes the most delicious fish curries including Bengali cuisine classics such as bhapa maach and doi maach, I somehow never paid attention, when she was in the kitchen making one of those dishes, either. So each time I go back now to Mumbai for a holiday I tell myself that I am going to learn from her to cook one of those dishes. I never seem to get around to it though.

So fish has remained something that I don’t really know much to do with, which is the reason I either toss canned tuna or salmon in to pasta sauce or salads, or grill fresh fish as I learned to do a few years ago.  It is only recently that I have finally started to make a basic fish curry once in a while, and the girls do enjoy it.

And then this last Saturday we ate at the home of Doris and Jean-Luc, the parents of Indira’s childhood friend Celine and Doris made some excellent steamed white fish that Indira really loved. Luckily Doris cooked the fish after we arrived, so I was able to watch the process for myself. It is such a simple way to cook fish,  and so healthy too,  it made me regret that I hadn’t tried it all these years , especially when the girls were babies when it would have been so light and nutritious a meal for them.  Anyway…

So today for lunch I steamed trout, which Indira said, in her droll way, was “deliceuse !”

Noor was very satisfied with her lunch too, but then we had the fish with a salade de ble (made with wheat berries) which she loves, so it might have been that which worked for her.

Here’s my variation on the way Doris cooked the fish :

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Steamed Trout

Trout fillets

1 tablespoons of fresh rosemary

salt to taste

lime juice – enough for a liberal sprinkling over the fish, say 2 tablespoons, or a few slices of lime

Sprinkle first the salt, then the lime juice over the fish fillets(or place the slices of lime on top of the fillets).   Fill some water in the bowl of the steamer and set it to heat. Now spread the rosemary on top, place the fillets in the steamer and cook the fish till it is done.

Eat this hot, squeeze some more lime  if you like after breaking up the pieces of fish a little.

This preserves all the natural taste and sweetness of trout and, once again, a process tout simple.

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Filed under Easy One Pot Cooking, Quick Meal Ideas, Starters and Snacks, Versatile Accompaniments