tiranga rice for indian independence day
the very talented food blogger, indira, is hosting an indian independence day food parade on her blog which is called mahanandi. indira invited fellow indian food bloggers to write about a traditional meal from their home state and submit it in time for her food parade on august 15th, the day india achieved independence from britain in 1947.
choosing my home state was a bit hard for me as i have fond attachments to three states that i know quite well. i was born in tamil nadu but lived mostly in karnataka and maharashtra when i was in india. can't really say where i feel most at home. when it comes to food, i'm much more interested in learning about a very wide range of regional and national cuisines and don't really have an in-depth knowledge of the traditions of any one type of cuisine.
my entry for this food blog event is a pan-indian recipe inspired by the tri-coloured indian flag and is dedicated to my mother as she found it and slightly adapted it from a tarla dalal cookbook. it's a spinach, peas and carrot rice which is then baked to create a golden cheese crust that smells heavenly, tastes delicious and works really well with the rice.
here's the recipe from which you can accordingly adjust proportions based on how many people you are cooking for. this time, i just used one cup of uncooked rice and adjusted all other ingredients based on my best judgement.
for the rice layer: 1 1/2 cups uncooked rice, 1/2 tsp shah-jira (cumin), 2 tbsp ghee, salt to taste
for the greens layer: 3 cups chopped spinach, 1 cup boiled green peas, 3 chopped green chillies, 1 chopped onion, 1 tbsp ghee, salt to taste.
for the carrot layer: 2 teacups grated carrot, 1/2 teaspoon shah-jira, 1/2 teaspoon curry powder, salt to taste
for baking: 3 tablespoon grated cheese (cheddar works well)
cook the rice. each grain of the cooked rice should be separate. heat the ghee and fry the shah-jira for a few minutes. add the cooked rice and salt and mix well.
cook the spinach with 1 tablespoon of water. when cooked, drain the spinanch. heat the ghee in a vessel and fry the onion for a little time. add the spinanch, green peas, chillies, salt and mix well.
for the carrot layer 1, heat the ghee in a vessel and fry the shah-jira. add the greated carrot and 2 tbsps of water. add the curry powder and salt and mix well. cover and cook for a few minutes.
grease a baking dish and spread half the cooked rice. Next spread the spinanch mixture, cover with the remaining rice and finally with the carrot layer. Sprinkle the cheese on top. (you might notice that i flipped the layers around. had to do that because i didn't get my carrot proportion right and ended up with too little so i layered it first.)
bake in a hot oven for 10 or 15 minutes. serve hot as such or after inverting on a tray.
my mom created this recipe for a dinner party a long time ago. and i have been making this dish ever since i started cooking. funnily, my mum is not into cooking at all. she just has a great talent for identifying good recipes and then instructing our cook on how to adapt them. in fact, she quite dislikes going into the kitchen and has always discouraged me from doing so. she's quite amused that i've taken to food and cooking in such a big way and spend so much time on it. she's much busier dedicating her life and soul to a bigger cause, one that she galvanised more than ten years ago.