When I was leafing through the book Cuisine from Coorg, I was intrigued to see a different combination of spices in the making of Yarchi Pulav (yarchi means meat in Coorg). The method of making this pulav was in the traditional way of straining the rice when three-fourths cooked, then adding to the gravy for further cooking. I feel that this method is very tedious especially when you do not have a very large kitchen. Therefore I changed the cooking method to boiling the gravy and water, and then adding the rice to it. In this way, you shorten the cooking time and avoid a mess in the kitchen. I have used spice powders because they are easily available now. I have also introduced curds to marinate the meat to tenderise it. This has made this recipe much easier to prepare.
This recipe was a Christmas treat in my family when I was growing up in Thirunelveli, but my mother did not make it on Christmas as there was already so much work to be done. Instead she would make it between Christmas and New Year. I simplified this traditional recipe a lot, allowing me to easily make it on Christmas Day as the main dish in the feast. This is traditionally served with the hot and sweet Inji Thuvaiyal (recipe below) and Thayir Pachadi.
January is the month when good quality green peas are available, and this is the time to relish recipes using them. I’ve previously posted the recipe for an Easy Peas Pulav. This version contains ground cashew nuts and powdered spices to give a rich but mild flavour which goes well with the winter season.
In Tamil Nadu, February is when high quality fresh green peas are available. It gives me great pleasure to shell them and to see the lovely green peas inside and, of course, cook them too! This Peas Pulav is a very simple, easy to make preparation, but it can hold pride of place in any feast.
A beautiful and delicious meal to ring in the New Year, and is hopefully a sign that 2017 will be a beautiful year. The term Kola Urundai in Tamil means round balls, as if balls are any other shape! Brinji rice is rice cooked in milk and spices. This exotic and delicately flavoured dish is unique in that the meatballs are deep fried and then cooked along with the rice, not served as an accompaniment or as garnish. I have come across this recipe only in my family. I think it belongs to my great-grandmother who had settled in Thanjavur in the 1800s – perhaps she got it there. It is quite easy to make even though it is one dish composed of two preparations.
I came across an interesting combination of spices for chicken pulav in The Asian Cookbook. The recipe did not use any green spices such as green chillies, tomato, or coriander and mint leaves. It used spices that are usually available in the Indian kitchen, making it very easy to prepare as a special dish if you have unexpected guests.
Whenever I cook meat for chops or mince for cutlets or chicken for Chicken à la King, I have lots of stock left over. I always think it’s a shame to discard the stock as it has lots of dissolved nutrients. Quite often bottles of stock languish forgotten in my freezer. Therefore, I had to device methods to use up the stock. Apart from using the stock in meat curries and kurmas to improve the flavour, I found that I could also use it in simple rice preparations.
Because my son doesn’t like most vegetables, I concocted the mushroom and capsicum pulav with two foodstuffs he graciously accepts on his platter. This pulav is also dry enough for a packed lunch along with an omelet or a cutlet.