Wednesday, April 28, 2010

When in doubt...........

.........make some Pilaf!

I must admit that even though I love to cook, honestly, it gets to a point where I go, "OK, what the heck should I cook tonight?" This especially happens on a Wednesday. After thinking for about a couple minutes, I got the bright idea of whipping up some easy pilaf with veggies and nutrela, i.e. soy nuggets. Now I know that my husband simply hates this stuff and I bet a lot of vegetarians as well as meat-eaters hate soy and frankly speaking, I do not understand their hatred for soy! Well OK, I sorta understand--- to a staunch vegetarian, it probably looks like meat and to a meat-eater, it probably is not real meat..........hence the hatred for soy. But really, it is not that bad. In fact my brother and I have loved nutrela since childhood. To my joy, my kids quite like it too! That's always a plus point!

So once again, I opened the fridge. Took out a couple carrots, half a green bell pepper, some tomato, even some eggplant--- basically whatever vegetable I caught hold of! Chopped them up. Oh I did slice a medium onion and minced 3 cloves of garlic. Also grated an inch of fresh ginger. Now a days I don't peel ginger- just wash it well and leave the skin on. It just imparts a better flavor, I think. Washed a couple cups of rice. Any kind of rice will be fine, really. Meanwhile prepared the soy nuggets by soaking a handful in hot water and then squeezing out the water. Then started with the pilaf preparation. Put 4-5 teaspoons of oil into the cooker, heated, put in some cardamom (the big black kind) and cumin and put in the onions, garlic and ginger. Sauteed a little bit and threw in the rest of the veggies. Decided to exclude the bell pepper and eggplant (to my husband and kids' relief!). Stirred everything and then added the washed rice as well as the soy nuggets. Added salt, red chilli powder and a wee bit of garam masala (the famous Indian curry powder). I put in a tablespoon of tomato paste as well--- I just love tomatoes- I can put tomatoes into pretty much everything! Finally added water and closed the cooker lid. Cooked for 3 minutes- that is how long my cooker takes. Allowed the cooker to cool. Once all the steam was gone, opened the lid and threw in a cup of frozen peas. I love frozen peas since you don't really have to "cook" them. They become nice and tender if you just put them into something hot, like in this case, the pilaf.

In the end, I took a teaspoon of coriander seeds in a microwave-safe bowl and popped it into the m-wave for a minute to release the aroma. Then quickly ground it in my coffee-grinder (that I of course use for purposes other than grinding coffee itself!) and sprinkled this powdered coriander on to the pilaf. This kicks up the taste by at least 10 notches, if I may say so!

Finally, garnished with cilantro and finely chopped green onion and voila! another tasty dinner was created!

 Pilaf cooking inside the cooker

Coriander seeds ready to be powdered

The final creation. We had some simple cucumber salad on the side too. Beautiful!


Priya said...

I must try this.Looks yummy!BTW I like the way you are going about ur blog.Reminds me of Julie and Julia.I like the part that every recipe comes with a story/intro.We associate food with so many things.

Dreamer said...

Haha! Thanks! Ohhh ya, J&J--- Bonnnnn Appetiiiite (like meryl).....