Do you have childhood memories of being cajoled into eating?
Shiny shoes with glistening buckles swung, knocking at the kitchen cupboards whilst I was perched onto a kitchen worktop in velvety dungarees and a sympathetic, fresh polo neck jumper. Mum or Dad leaned their tummy gently against my knees, for balance and in sing song and over-enthusiastic grins and upstretched eyebrows, they transported 'aeroplanes' loaded with rice, bathed in tomato soup and widened their mouths, hoping that I'd mirror them.
It's the sort of food that's easy, juicy and sweet in a dribble inducing sort of way. Modest, economical but its familiarity and succulence is calming...but you know that I like to meander to new ways with gorgeous stuff. These days it's a roasting red, spicy kick that I'm longing for. The thought of dried red chillies, releasing their sweet heat when soaked sets my heart a-flutter (but not on fire, I don't go that far!). That's why this recipe I'm about to share with you gives me my fix; I can change it to suit my mood. More or less heat, some veg, a bit of bite or crunch or something soft or squidgy. To be honest, I could make a meal out of this recipe, I don't need much else.
Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Rice
1 cup tomato pulp
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
200g of roasted red peppers (the jarred stuff is fine to use for this recipe)
4-5 shallots, finely chopped
7-8 curry leaves
2 tbsp. Channa dhal (Bengal gram)
10-15 cashew nuts halved
2 red chillies and 1 green chilli (or to taste)
300g uncooked rice
The spices; ½ tsp. garam masala, ½ tsp. mustard seeds, 1 tsp. cumin seeds, pinch of asafoetida, salt to taste,
1. Wash and boil the rice and then keep it to the side
2.Whilst the rice is cooking, whizz (roughly) together the tomatoes and the roasted red peppers to a deep red pulp
3.Heat the oil in a deep pan, then add the asafoetida, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, chillies, Bengal gram and curry leaves and cook until the gram is golden brown and crunchy
4.Stir in the cashew nuts and stir until they've browned a little
5.Bring it together with the onions, add the salt and sauté for a couple of minutes before bringing in the garlic and sauté until they have softened
6.Add the tomatoes and red pepper and bring It to a gentle simmer before stirring in the garam masala and then stir in the cooked rice
7.Serve with something yogurt and garnish with coriander.
Deena Kakaya, Vegetarian Food Writer
My vision is to share rousing, sensational world-influenced recipes for you the open-minded busy person who loves to eat. I'd love to know that you actually make these recipes, not simply read about them. Like me, many of my recipes have an uncomplicated Indian strand, but that's the reality of modern cuisine, isn't it? And I promise to share all this with you,with a story...its always more fun that way. Visit my site for some more recipes.
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