Sunday, March 23, 2014

Something on the side

According to my yoga instructor, I should stay away from rice if I want to improve my practice. I have been doing that for most days of the week. (I usually indulge over weekends where I consume a fair amount of rice with nothing more than curd, daal, and thinly sliced potatoes fried with lots of onions, capsicums, and chillies.)

So, for the most part, if I am not eating chapattis, I am eating dalia. This, I like. But the thing with dalia is that it is dalia and not rice. Rice I can eat simply with salt, especially if it is cooked really soft and is steaming on the plate. If there is butter and boiled, mashed potato to be added into this delicious heap, the meal is perfect. But I haven't developed this affinity for dalia. I usually cook the broken wheat with a lot of lentils, some veggies, and if possible, a green leafy vegetable. My mum had once made it like fried rice - with capsicum, broccoli, tofu - stir-fried with a bunch of sauces. But since my mum is not here and my cook is not my mum and I am not even my cook, I have to eat the lentils - broken wheat combination.

I usually don't mind it but on some nights like tonight, I did. I really wished that dinner could have been a little more tasty. It was very tempting to reach for the rice but I really want to resist rice until I absolutely can't. So here's what I did.

First, I went for a walk. It's not part of the cooking procedure but it helps me. After working up wee bit of an appetite, I got home and rummaged through the fridge. A neighbour had brought me these large chillies (the kinds you stuff or fry in besan) from her farm. I thought I could have this on the side with my dalia pulao. (This time, it was cooked with green moong, carrots, and peas - so not so blah.)

I heated some oil, deseeded and halved those chillies and fried them until they were a little burnt. The smoked, charred taste is really nice and it softens the chillies. (Otherwise, they have a hard casing. You can choose not to fry them too much if you like your chillies to have a solid bite to them.)When the skin on the chillies was getting a little dark and wrinkly, I added salt, a lot of chilli powder, and some rasam masala. Then, I sprinkled some water and cooked this on slow flame, sprinkling water as and when required.

After the chillies had softened and were nicely coated with the pungent mix of salt, rasam and chilli power, I took them off the pan and onto the plate. I had used a little too much chilli powder but it was still a perfect accompaniment for the dalia.

Some day, when I'm in the mood to really indulge, I will try these chillies with rice.


Anonymous said...

This is what I meant when I requested you to write more about cooking.

DI said...

I did not realise just how much rice in itself was awesome, until i went off it completely (except for the weekend indulgence) 2 years ago. There is a flavor to it which dalia in no form can ever make up for.

Btw, totally with the comment above. I have never read posts which make you love food so much more :)

mukta raut said...

Anon, I thought of you when I wrote this. DI- 2Years! Impressive!

crab said...

I second everyone here. u shud write more often. n on food as well :) - crab

Jagdeep Kaur said...

cyra loves plain steamed rice with butter... :)