Today was an interesting day, food wise. The rest of it was pretty ordinary. Mango pickle was the catalyst. Mango pickle takes a day or two to make, and then you need to eat it up right away, unless you use truly green mangoes. The mangoes that I used were already a little yellow so we’re having mango pickle inspired meals for a few days.
Husband says that if he had to pick only one cuisine to eat for the rest of his life, it would be Thai. I understand, but given the same restrictions, I pick Indian (or Hindu as it’s known here). I wouldn’t want to be restricted to just Hindu cuisine, I like it all Hyderabad, Malabar and all the rest of the different regions. If I ever became vegetarian, it would be my choice of cuisine too.
Today we had Saag Panir , coconut rice and green mango pickle. I used Lala brand full fat panela cheese, and it was perfect! I have used many other brands but the Lala seems to be the best for this dish.
The coconut rice is my own recipe, it has a similar taste to Malabar coconut rice. I used left over cooked long grain rice, mustard seed, dried coconut, water and coconut oil. Coconut oil is probably the worst possible vegetable oil you can use, since it’s full of saturated fats. Then again, if you google “the benefits of coconut oil” you get a completely different story. You decide for yourself, I also use butter (never ever margarine) so I have made my decisions based on taste.
If you are starting with raw rice this is how I normally fix coconut rice.
Heat some coconut oil in a pan, when it’s hot toss in about a tablespoon of mustard seed. Stir the seeds so they don’t burn until they start to pop. Add a cup of rice, cook until the rice changes color. Add 2 cups water, salt to taste and 1/2 cup dried coconut. Cook like you normally cook rice.You can use less coconut, more rice etc.
Today, I had about 2 cups of already cooked rice. I soaked the dried coconut in hot water to cover and a little more. After sizzling the mustard seeds, I added the rice mixing well. Then I added the soupy coconut and covered to heat it all thoroughly.
One day, a friend of mine was watching me cook and she was surprised at how I cook rice. I pretty much cook all my grains pilaf style. Saute them in fat until they change color , add enough hot liquid until it reaches about an inch above the grain. I usually use about a teaspoon of salt too. Lower to a simmer. When the rice starts to make craters, cover and turn off the heat. Wait about five minutes and fluff. Works for me. Sometimes I cover the grain when it’s simmering, but usually I don’t if it’s rice. Long grain rice is the key for separate rice grains. Short grains are good for sushi or rice puddings because they are sticky, I don’t cook those in fat first, since you want them to stick together. Anyway, she said that she had always been afraid to leave rice uncovered and to stir it or peek at it. I think the difference is that most recipes tell you to just use water and salt and don’t have you pre-cook the rice.
I grew up eating rice every night at dinner. I have friends who grew up eating potatoes every night. It rarely occurs to me to fix potatoes, but I know a lot of ways to cook rice. A couple of days ago we had Moros y Cristianos (black beans & white rice), ropa vieja and fried plantains.
I don’t have a plan for tomorrow, but I did buy eggplant (12.95 a kilo at Super Aki) and I have been meaning to try out an eggplant recipe that I saw. Maybe I should go look it up?