Friday, April 18, 2014

Brown Rice (with Basmati Rice) –my mom’s specialty

My one year anniversary and my 100th post!

I am so lucky to still have in my life, the friends I grew up with.  Not only are we in touch, we are a huge part of each others' lives.

We used to spend a lot of our vacation time in each others' houses, just “hanging out”, being silly, getting emotional, providing each other with a shoulder to cry on, feeling righteous, getting riled up against our common enemies (there were quite a few), talking, eating, more talking - about mean teachers, boys, clothes, things of consequence, things of no consequence, movies, music, parents, siblings – you name it, we talked about it - and still do.  Nothing was off limits, and you could say whatever came to your mind – no censoring or sugar-coating necessary.

Birthdays were also spent together.  For my birthday, which always came during summer vacation, everyone would come to my house.  The girls would bring me presents – something small and sentimental, with sentimental cards to go with them.  Anu would have written something way better than any professional card writer could write, and all of us would get emotional.

My mom would cook an elaborate meal, which almost always included brown rice, because, that was her most requested dish, and my friends loved it.  My mom is a great cook and makes a lot of things well, but even today, this is what my friends talk about, when we reminisce about the good old days - this brown rice and my mom’s adais.

I never thought to get this recipe from my mom, and by the time I got around to asking her, she had forgotten exactly how she made it.  She told me what she remembered, but it never turned out to be exactly the same.  I have been making minor adjustments to what she told me and this is as close to the original as I can get.

Girls, this one is for you.

Here is what you need:

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 tsp. ghee
  • 2 tsp. oil
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 -5 cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • ½  medium onion, slivered
  • 1 tsp. garlic , minced
  • 1 tsp. ginger, grated
  • ½ tsp. sugar
  •  ½ cup frozen or fresh green peas (I use the one from the Indian store)
  • salt to taste
  • browned onions for garnish (optional)


Here is how I made it:

  1. Wash and soak the basmati rice in enough water for about 20 minutes.  Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat ghee and oil in a pot.  Add cumin, cloves, bay leaf, and star anise.
  3. When the spices get slightly browned, add the onions.
  4. Fry on medium heat till the onions get richly browned, but not burnt.  I usually save some of this for garnish later, but you don’t have to.
  5. Add the sugar and mix well.  Keep stirring so that the sugar melts and starts caramelizing.
  6. Add the ginger and garlic.  Mix well.
  7. After a couple of minutes, add the drained rice. 
  8. Fry on medium heat till the rice gets slightly browned.
  9. Now add 2 cups of water and bring this to a boil.
  10. Add peas and salt.  Stir well.
  11. Cover and cook on low for about 10 minutes, till the rice is done.
  12. Turn off the heat and let this sit for 10 more minutes.  Fluff it up with a fork to separate the grains.
  13. Top with browned onions (if you are using them).

Serve with vegetable kurma, egg curry or raitha.

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