Lunch Box

Mixed Vegetable Pulao (Vegetable Pulav, Tri-colored Pulao, Pilaf)

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Mixed vegetable pulao is a very commonly made rice dish for festivals, parties and other occasions. The aromatic basmati rice is cooked with mixed vegetables like carrots, beans, green peas, cauliflower, corn etc with very few spices. It goes well with any veg or non veg curries.

Here I have shared a very very simple recipe. Since I made this for Republic day, I have added just 2 vegetables - carrots and green peas. You can make the same dish without the onions and ginger-garlic paste. My kids enjoyed this tasty and healthy tri-colored pulao with some butter chicken and tandoori chicken.


Ingredients
 *  Basmati Rice - 2 cups
 *  Onion - 1 (chopped)
 *  Ginger Garlic Paste - 1 tsp
 *  Green Chili - 1
 *  Carrot - 2 (peeled and cut into small cubes)
 *  Green peas - 3/4 cup (fresh or frozen)
 *  Water - 3 cups
 *  Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
 *  Oil - 3 tbsp
 *  Whole garam masala - 1 bay leaf, 1 cinnamon stick, 4 cloves, 3 cardamom
 *  Salt - to taste

Method
 1). Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan or pressure cooker. Add the cumin seeds and the whole spices.
 2). After sauteing for a minute, add the onions, green chili and ginger garlic paste.
 3). Saute for a minute and add the vegetables.
 4). After about a minute add the rice.
 5). Saute for another 2 minutes so that the oil coats the vegetables and rice evenly.
 6). Now add the water and required salt.
 7). Bring it to a boil. Reduce the flame and cover with a lid.
 8). If using a pressure cooker, cook for about 10 minutes. If you are using a normal pot, cook for about 20-25 minutes till all the moisture is absorbed and the rice is cooked soft.
 9). Fluff with a fork and serve. I love to serve it with creamy curries.


Serving Suggestion
 * This dish needs no garnishing at all. It looks so pretty and colorful as it is. If you want to garnish, then top it with some finely chopped coriander leaves and some fried cashews.

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Potato Pulav (Potato Pilaf, Veg Potato Pulao, Aloo Pulao, Aloo Rice Recipe, Aloo Pulao)

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Ingredients
 * Rice-2 cups(160 ml electric rice cooker cup)
 * Onion-1 1/2
 * Potato (red potato look good) - 5 nos(small size chopped in small pieces)
 * Ginger-1.5" piece (grated)
 * Cumin seeds - 1 1/2 tsp
 * Cumin powder - 2 tsp
 * Garam masala -2 tsp
 * Green chilies - 3 (you could also use Jalapeno peppers too)
 * Lemon juice - juice from 1 & 1/2 lemons
 * Cilantro - handful
 * Curry leaves - 2-3 strands


Method 
 1). Cook the rice separately and  keep it aside.
 2).  Heat oil in a wide vessel and splutter some cumin seeds.
 3).  Saute the onions, green chilies & ginger.
 4).  Add finely chopped cilantro & curry leaves.
 5).  Add chopped potato and cumin powder. Mix it, cover and cook.
 6).  After the potato is well cooked, mix the cooked rice and garam masala.
 7).  Add salt and lemon juice.
 8).  At last add finely chopped cilantro and switch off.


Tips
 * Instead of cooked rice, you could add thick poha (aval) and make aval upma (batata powa) and serve with mint chutney for a quick breakfast, brunch or dinner.
 * You could also add some peanuts for some added crunch.
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Okra Rice (Okra Biriyani, Ladies Finger Pulao, Vendakkai Sadam, Bhindi Pulav, Vendakkay Choru)

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Ingredients
Tomato - 1.5
Okra - 1 lb
Onion - 1 (medium)
Basmati Rice - 2 cups
Ginger garlic paste - 2 tblsp
Turmeric Powder -  1/4 tsp
Garam Masala Powder - 1 tsp
Chilly Powder - 2 tsp
Corriander Powder - 2 tsp
Salt - to taste
Cilantro - for garnishing
Method
  *  Cook the rice with 3.5 cups of water and required salt. Keep it aside.
  *  Cut the okra into small pieces and pan fry it with little salt and turmeric powder till it is completely fried.
  *  Heat oil in another pan and saute the onions till it turns golden brown.
  *  Fry the ginger garlic paste for a minute.
  *  Add the tomatoes and fry till all the liquid from the tomato has evaporated..
  *  Add the turmeric powder, chilly powder, corriander powder, garam masala powder and little salt.
  *  Cook till oil oozes out of the mixture.
  *  Toss this mixture with the cooked rice. The rice should be thoroughly coated with the masala mixture.
  *  Finally mix in the fried okra. The okra should be evenly distributed throughout the rice.
  *  Garnish with cilantro and serve with raita.
Tips
- You can also make the masala mixture and cook the rice along with the masala mixture. Finally toss the fried okra.
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Curd Rice (Dahi Butti, Thayiru Choru, Mosaranna, పెరుగు అన్నం)

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No south Indian meal is ever complete without Thayir sadam or curd rice. Thayir sadam or Curd rice is one food item, which is a part of a lavish exotic menu as well as a simple “sattvic” menu. In many temples, curd rice is made as an offering (Prasadam) to the God. In the world famous Tirumala temple, though the ladoos are popular and the devotees are given many prasadams, the offering or the Prasadam to the main Lord is curd rice. That is the vitality of curd rice in the south Indian menu.

During my first year of college, we had to take lunch boxes to college, as the engineering department was far away from the hostel. My preferred choice for lunch was always curd rice. I made my own variations in it with my creativity and relish it every day. Some days I would add chopped cucumber or grated carrots or raisins or raw mango and even pomegranate. My personal favorite those days was curd rice topped with pomegranate with vadu manga or ready-made paruppu podi or curry leaf podi. Like me, my children also prefer curd rice for dinner and they prefer to eat with potato fry or vathakulambu.


Try this creamy, delicious and healthy rice variety and your children will also become a great fan of the same just as mine.

Recipe For Curd Rice

Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 3-4
Ingredients
  *  Rice - 1 cup
  *  Water - 3 cups
  *  Cold Milk - 1.5 cups
  *  Curd - 1.5 cup
  *  Cream - 2 tbsp
  *  Salt - as needed
  *  Cilantro - handful (finely chopped)
For Tempering
  *  Oil - 1 tbsp
  *  Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp
  *  Channa Dal - 1 tsp
  *  Urad Dal - 1 tsp
  *  Dry Red Chilies - 2
  *  Green Chilly - 1
  *  Ginger - 1/2 "piece (minced)
  *  Curry Leaves - 1 spring
Method
  1).  Cook the rice with 3 cups of water and some salt. We need overcooked rice which gets easily mashed up. (Tip: If you have leftover rice, just reheat it with some additional water.)
  2).  Once the rice is cooked, mix and mash up part of the rice.
  3).  Add the milk and keep mixing till all the milk gets absorbed by the rice.
  4).  Once you add the cold milk, the rice will cool down. If it is still hot, wait for it to become lukewarm before you add the curd. This will prevent the curd from curdling.

  5).  Add the cream and yogurt and mix well.
  6).  Heat oil for tempering in a small pan and splutter the mustard seeds.
  7).  Add the channa dal and urad dal and wait for it to turn reddish brown.
  8).  Now add the dry red chilies, curry leaves, finely chopped green chillies and finely chopped ginger. Fry for a minute. (You can add some raisins and cashews too.)
  9).  Add this to the curd rice. Also add the finely chopped coriander leaves and mix together.
 10).  Curd rice is ready to be served. You can also garnish it with more chopped cilantro or grated carrots or chopped cucumber or fresh fruits like pineapple, pomegranate, grapes, apples


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Serving Suggestions
  *  Most curd rice lovers like to enjoy it all by itself without any side.
  *  In South India, Thayir Sadam is typically served with spicy pickle.
  *  Some people like to have curd rice with some spicy gravies like chicken curry, sambhar, pulikulambu etc.

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Variation
  *  The Maharashtrian variation of Curd Rice (also called Dahi Bhutti) is mildly sweetened with 1 spoon of sugar.
  *  You can substitute rice with semiya and make "Curd Semiya".
Tips
  *  If you do not like tiny pieces of ginger and green chilly coming in your mouth, just make a paste of it before adding to the curd rice.


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