Rice is a staple in India, especially in South India. Most of the time it is boiled and served with curries but ever so often, when people want a one-dish affair, rice is used as the base for a complete meal. This is done by adding vegetables, seafood or meat to rice and cooking it. From the lush green rice fields to your table – rice can make for such delightful meals! Here are some rice dishes which are not very typical but which have an Indian flavour.
Boil ½ cup of rice in salted water till cooked through. Drain and keep aside. Take two cups of yogurt and stir in with 1 teaspoon salt and a pinch of sugar. Add ½ a teaspoon of turmeric and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Chop and boil or steam 1 cup of mixed vegetables. They should be chopped fine.
In a pan, put in 1 teaspoon oil and when it gets hot, not smoking, put in ½ a teaspoon of mustard seeds. As soon as they finish spluttering, put in a few curryleaves if you can get them. (They’re available at most Indian stores or you can get a sapling and grow it in your home.) Add the chopped vegetables and stir for a couple of minutes. Add the yogurt, then the rice and stir through.
Red Masala Rice
Boil ½ cup of rice in salted water till cooked through. Drain and keep aside. Chop two cups of vegetables fine. Chop half an onion fine and fry in 2 teaspoons of oil. Add the vegetables and add 2 teaspoons of red masala paste. Stir for a few minutes, then add ¼ cup of water and wait till it comes to the boil. Add the rice and stir through. Serve with cilantro (coriander) leaves chopped fine sprinkled on top.
You could add ½ a cup of boiled chicken, diced small to this too.
Green Masala Rice
Boil ½ cup of rice in salted water till cooked through. Drain and keep aside. Chop 11/2 and onion fine and fry in 2 teaspoons of oil till transparent. Add 2 teaspoons of green masala paste and stir. Add sliced mushrooms and cubed tofu or paneer (1 cup) and stir, then add the rice with 2 tablespoons of yogurt and stir through.
You could add ½ a cup of diced chicken or lamb to this too.
Rice With Meat Or Shrimp
Rice can be made in so many different ways. It can be boiled, steamed, fried, microwaved or baked. Boiling is rather simple because all you have to do is to take three or four times the amount of water, put in the rice, bring it to a boil, turn down the flame and let the rice cook though. Then drain and it’s ready. It’s very much like what you’d do with pasta. You could add salt to taste when before the water boils.
Here is yet another way to make rice. You can fry it a bit and then add just enough water so it cooks but you don’t need to drain out any water. Here are a few more one-dish rice recipes with a difference.
Vegetable Fried Rice
Dice the vegetables – you can use just about anything – carrots, beans, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, potatoes, sweet potatoes and make up1 ½ cups. Measure 1 cup of rice and set aside.
In a tablespoon of oil, put in a ½” stick of cinnamon, a couple of cloves and a couple of cardamoms (optional). Then put in the rice and the vegetables and stir. Pour in 3 cups of hot water, add salt to taste, wait till it boils, turn down the flame, cover and wait till the water is all gone. Turn off the flame, cover for a few minutes and it’s done.
You could add some flavour or seasoning to it. You could add ½ a teaspoon of curry powder (click here for recipe) when you put in the vegetables and the rice, you could add a chicken cube, a cube of Oxo or a teaspoon of Bovril after you’ve added the water and before you check for the salt, you could add ½ teaspoon of turmeric to the water before it boils or you could add a dash of your favourite sauce after you’ve added the water. What you could also do is to substitute the water with a half water-half chicken or vegetable stock mixture.
Meat/Shrimp Fried Rice
Measure a cup of rice and keep aside. In two tablespoons of oil, fry ½ an onion chopped for a few minutes and when it turns transparent, add ½ a chopped tomato and fry well. Add ½ teaspoon turmeric. 1 teaspoon curry powder (click here for recipe), ½ a teaspoon of green masala (click here for recipe), the rice, 1 cup of boiled and cubed lamb or chicken (if your using shrimp or prawns, add them raw, not cooked). Stir for a while, add 2 ½ cups of hot water, turn down the flame and keep covered till it’s cooked and all the water has been absorbed.