Thursday, February 3, 2011

Capsicum Brown Rice and can you identify this ?

On my recent trip to Coimbatore (a city in India) I came across these bright and attractive greens. My mother in law tells me that this is an edible green, and a lot of folks in that region use it much as they would spinach. I have no clue what this is called or how it tastes , but I am curious to learn more about it. I would love it if any of you could identify this and give more information about it. Looking forward to your responses :-)

In the meanwhile,  moving on from unidentifiable greens to a much more well known green veggie. I am referring to green bell pepper also known as capsicum in some parts of the world. Green bell peppers are among my favorite veggies, these peppers seem to enhance the flavor of any dish that they are used in.This green bell pepper rice is something I make when I am looking for a quick, flavorful one dish meal. I just add some raita or salad and some chips or papad and I get a complete meal.


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Ingredients and Method to make Capsicum Brown Rice
1 1/2 cups brown basmati soaked in 2 1/4 cups of water for 30 minutes and cooked in the rice cooker with 1 tsp clarified butter (ghee/nei) see notes
2 green bell peppers (capsicum/ koda molagai) de-seeded and cut into thin strips
1 large onion cut into 1/4 inch pieces
2 tsp clarified butter (ghee/nei) or oil
Additional 2 tsp clarified butter (optional) (if you want a little richer taste)
3/4 tsp mustard seeds
salt to taste

Garnish with
4 tsp lemon juice (or to taste)
4 tbsp finely cut cilantro (coriander leaves/kothamalli)

For the masala
(Dry roast each of these items separately until aromatic, cool and grind to a fine powder)

2 tsp coriander seeds (dhania)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (jeera )
2 tsp split black gram lentil (udad dhal/ulatham parappu)
3 dry red chilies (or to taste) ( I used byadgi variety)
6 tsp raw peanuts with skin

Soak brown basmati in water as mentioned above for 30 or so minutes, then place in a rice cooker, add 1 tsp clarified butter and cook until it is done. 

Dry roast each of the ingredients mentioned under masala separately in a heavy bottomed pan until aromatic.
Remove and keep aside to cool. Grind in a spice grinder to a fine powder.

Heat ghee in a heavy bottomed pan, add mustard seeds. When the seeds begin to splutter add onion and saute until the onions turn transparent.

Add bell pepper and stir fry until it is cooked yet crisp.
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Add cooked rice, salt to taste, masala powder and mix well.

Just before serving add lemon juice and cilantro and mix well.

Serve with raita/ chips/ papad or any curry of choice

Brown basmati can also be cooked in the pressure cooker if you prefer, just  make sure that the rice is cooked yet each grain is separate.

This dish can also be made with white basmati if you prefer, just cook the rice as you would for pulao. Then cool it a little by spreading on a plate, then add to the cooked capsicum and proceed as above. The reason you do not need to do this for brown basmati is because brown basmati holds its shape better and does not break when hot the way white rice does.

The masala can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container for convenience.
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