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Pudhina Dhaniya Pulao (A Mixed Vegetable Pilaf flavored with fresh Mint & Cilantro)

Posted Jan 20 2011 11:16pm

Today was a very productive day.  I am not one to make the absolute best use of my day so I was extremely happy that today was productive.  I woke up super excited for my haircut and highlights appointment - I was contemplating between brown highlights and red highlights, such big decisions I tell you.  My family is probably so turned off by reading my daily thoughts.  Hehe!  Well, I decided on red, reddish-brown to be exact.  I can't say that I am truly happy with my decision because the color is very subtle on my black hair, but hopefully it'll be a bit more obvious tomorrow when the sun comes out.  

To continue on that happy note, my hairstylist straightened my hair for me which is always such a treat for my sometimes frizzy & hard-to-manage curly hair, I almost look like a different person today.  My husband surely loves the temporary look, and so do I, but I have also grown to love curly hair... it took years and years of therapy!  Just kidding!  :-)

After I was done with my hair appointment, I headed to Noodle Gourmet, one my favorite Chinese food shacks since the Rutgers days.  If you are ever around Rutgers, I'm tellin' ya, head to Noodle Gourmet - it is seriously one of the best Chinese places.  After grabbing a bite, I headed to COSTCO - it was so empty on a weekday which saved me a ton of time!  My final stop was the grocery store where I picked up some ingredients for my friend's birthday cake... I'll be baking a healthful, moist, and delicious Banana Cake this weekend so watch out!  See, today was very productive!  I love it when I get so much done.

And now... food!  The other day I wanted to make Chinese Veggie Fried Rice, however my husband asked me to make an Indian Rice Dish instead.  I agreed and created a recipe to make us both happy.  I incorporated the Chinese Fried Rice veggies (broccoli, carrots, scallions, onions, peas), combined them with Indian spices and a blended paste of mint and cilantro leaves.  The fresh herbs alone added color and a depth of flavor.  Hope you like this. 

TELL ME: How do you ensure you make the best use of your day?  Help me!

NUTRITION: Broccoli adds tons of nutrition value... Fiber, Folic Acid, and Vitamins A, C, and K.  Carrots are LOADED with Vitamin A (eyes).  Also, it is a very good source of Fiber, Vitamins C and K.  Green Peas are a good source of Vitamins B1 & C, Protein, and Iron, and a very good source of Folic Acid and Vitamin B1.

  • Mint Leaves - 1 handful (blended)
  • Cilantro Leaves - 1 handful (blended)
  • Sunflower/Olive Oil - 2 tbsp (I used Sunflower for this dish)
  • Bay Leaves - 3 
  • Cinnamon Sticks - 1
  • Cloves - 4
  • Black Cardamom - 1 (or you can use 3 green cardamoms instead)
  • Cumin Seeds - 2 tsp
  • Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Green Chilies - 4 (sliced lengthwise)
  • Ginger - 1 inch (chopped)
  • Garlic - 4 cloves (chopped)
  • Scallions - 1 bunch (chopped into 1 inch pieces)
  • Red Onion - 1 medium (sliced)
  • Carrots - 3 medium (chopped)
  • Broccoli - 1 (cut into florets, use the stem)
  • Coriander Powder - 2 tsp initially; 1 tsp later
  • Red Chili Powder - 1 tsp (go with 1/2 tsp if you can't handle heat)
  • Frozen Green Peas - 1 cup
  • Tilda Basmati Rice - 2 1/2 cups (washed & drained)
  • Water - 5 cups
  • Garam Masala - 1 to 1 1/2 tsp (again, depends on how much heat you can handle)
  • salt to taste

1. Slice the green chilies.  Chop the ginger and garlic.  

2. Slice the red onion.  Chop the scallions into 1 inch pieces.

3. Heat a pot on medium heat, once hot, add oil.  Add the bay leaves, cinnamon stick, cloves, and black cardamom.  

4. Once they sizzle, add the cumin seeds.  

5. Immediately add the turmeric powder.  Allow this to cook until you can smell the cumin seeds - wait about 10 seconds.

6. Add the green chilies, ginger, garlic, onions, and scallions.  Season with salt.  Combine.  Allow this to cook for 5 minutes.

8. In the meantime, chop the carrots.  Cut the broccoli into florets.

9. Check on the onion-scallion mixture - this is what you should have.

10. Add the broccoli and carrots.  Season with salt.  Combine.  Allow this to cook for 5 minutes.  

11. Rip off a handful of mint and cilantro leaves.

12. Blend into a paste - you will need some water if you are using the Magic Bullet.  I used about 2 to 3 tbsp of water.  Set aside.

13. Once done, add the blended paste over the veggie mixture.  

14. Add 2 tsp of coriander powder and 1 tsp of red chili powder.  You can add less red chili powder.  Combine.

15. Immediately add green peas.  Combine.  Allow this to cook for a few minutes.

16. In the meantime, wash and drain your rice.  

17. Once done, add the rice (WITHOUT WATER) to the veggie mixture.

18. Combine.  Allow this to cook for a few minutes - 3 minutes.  This process will toast up the rice giving it a slightly nutty flavor.

19. Add 5 cups of water.  Combine.

20. Add 1 more tsp of coriander powder.  Season with a good amount of salt.  Combine.

21. Cover and let this cook on medium heat for about 20 minutes.  Keep checking in between.

22. This is what you should have.  Check the rice, is it soft, or it is slightly hard.  If it is not cooked, reduce the heat and cover with a lid for a few more minutes.  

23. Check seasonings.  Add garam masala.  I added 1 1/2 tsp, however you can go with 1 tsp for slightly less heat.  You may need to do this in batches.

24. Serve with Raita , an Indian yogurt usually flavored with salt, cumin powder, and very little chili powder.  The yogurt will help balance the spice level in this delicious pilaf dish.  Thoughts?

TELL ME: How do you ensure you make the best use of your day?  Help me!

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