Pea Pulav (Basmati Rice)

No Indian meal is complete without the fragrant Basmati rice. And, in our house, no birthday or celebration was complete without my mom’s flavorful pea pulav – an aromatic dish made with long-grained Basmati rice and green peas, and flavored with cardamoms, cloves, and other spices. It was inviting enough to eat on its own, no sides needed. When I make it for a Sunday-special lunch, I will often mix in other vegetables and have a delicious meal on-hand in no time at all.

Interestingly, each of the spices have a health benefit – so why not take a couple of minutes and add flavor and nutritional benefits to plain ol’rice:

  • Bay leaves are a rich source of vitamins A, and C, iron, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, promoting general health
  • Cloves are rich in antioxidants and minerals and known to strengthen the immune system, reduce inflammation, and aid in digestion
  • Thanks to it’s anti-inflammatory properties, peppercorn improves circulation, reduces joint pain and also helps combat high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases
  • Cardamom helps improve oral health and may have antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties
  • Turmeric is said to ease joint pain, stiffness, and inflammation

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Basmati Rice
  • 4 tbsp Ghee (or vegetable or olive oil)
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 8 cloves
  • 8 Peppercorns
  • 1 inch Cinnamon stick
  • 4 Cardamom – crushed
  • 1 large Onion (chopped finely)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 cup Green Peas
  • 1/2 cup Carrots (diced) – optional
  •  1 tsp Salt
  •  2 cups Broth ( veg, chicken or beef) – For perfectly separated rice – use the same cup to measure the rice and the broth

Instructions:

  1. Wash the rice very gently and drain all water. Rinse twice more so that the water is clear (this removes the starch from the rice). Drain water completely each time
  2. Place a large pan on the stove on medium heat
  3. Add the ghee to the pan
  4. Once the ghee is hot, add the Bay leaf. (Note: If the bay leaf sizzles immediately, you know the oil is hot. If not, wait a few more seconds, until you start to see the leaf sizzle)
  5. Add the rest of the whole spices to the ghee – cloves, pepper corn, cinnamon and cardamom
  6. Fry for 30 seconds
  7. Add the onions and fry for 2-3 minutes until the onions are translucent
  8. Add the turmeric powder and stir for another minute
  9. Add the rice to the pan, and fry for 1-2 minutes
  10. Add the stock, salt, and stir once, very gently
  11. Let the stock come to a boil then reduce the heat to low, and cover the pan with a tight fitting lid
  12. Let the rice cook – will take about 10-12 minutes
  13. After 10-12 minutes, check rice. If all the water is evaporated, turn off the flame. Keep the container covered – allowing it to sit covered for 5 minutes
  14. Fluff the rice and vegetables with a fork and serve

Goan Beef Curry (Ninja Foodi / Stove Top / Pressure Cooker)

Every Sunday morning after 6:30am mass, we’d go to see Nana and Papa (my maternal grandparents) who lived close to the church. The best part was the breakfast that followed – hot parathas, sunny-side up eggs, with beef “sidish” (i.e. curry). And Marie biscuits to dip into a cup of tea. But I digress. I didn’t realize a sidish actually meant side-dish until much later when I moved to North America. Nana’s beef side-dish, was a thick beef curry – spicy, tangy, and so delicious and the perfect accompaniment to eggs and parathas. It also made a great meal with a side of cauliflower and her aromatic rice pilaf.

SERVINGS: 4 – 6

INGREDIENTS:

  1. 2 tsp Cumin seeds
  2.  2 inches Cinnamon stick
  3.  10 cloves
  4.  10 black peppercorns
  5. 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  6. 1 tsp red chili powder
  7. 8 large garlic cloves (peeled and roughly chopped)
  8. 2 inch ginger piece (peeled and roughly chopped)
  9. 1/2 onion (roughly chopped)
  10. 3 tbsp vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar one I run out of my stock of Goa vinegar. Regular vinegar works too)
  11. 2 medium potatoes (chopped into large cubes)
  12. 1 serrano pepper (or 2 green chilies (Indian or Thai) slit long
  13.  1 tsp sugar
  14. 3 tbsp oil
  15. salt to taste
  16. 2 lbs stewing beef
  17. Water

Method:

  1. For the ground masala:
    • In a small food processor, grind the first 6 ingredients until smooth
    • Add to that ingredients 7 through 10 and grind until smooth
  2. Add oil to a medium-sized non-stick pan or in a pressure cooker. When oil is hot, add in the ground masala, (keep the food processor aside, you’ll need it later) and fry on medium flame, until you see the oil start to separates from the ground masala – you’ll see it on the edges of the masala. About 2-3 minutes
  3. Add the beef chunks to the masala, stirring occasionally for about 2 minutes
  4. Add half a cup of water to the food processor, swirling to get any masala remnants and then add to the pan. Cook for about 3 minutes
  5. If using a pan to cook on stove-top:
    • Add 2 cups of water, stir gently, bring to a boil, then cover and cook for 20 minutes
    • After 20 minutes, remove cover, add the potatoes, salt and sugar, and cook for 20 minutes
    • Go to step 7
  6. If using a pressure cooker:
    • Add another half cup of water, stir gently
    • Add cover of pressure cooker
    • Cook on high pressure for 25 minutes
    • When the time is up, immediately release the pressure
    • When the pressure has been released, add in the potatoes, salt and sugar. Place the pressure lid on and turn the valve to seal. Pressure cook on high for 4 minutes
    • When done, immediately release the pressure
  7. Check meat for tenderness
  8. Adjust the salt, if you like
  9. Serve with Goan pav, bread, over rice, or with chapatis/parathas