Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Sesame vegetable rice

Finally a chance to post this recipe, which I'd printed off from Khanakhazana a few yonks ago (one yonk = unspecified amount of time somewhat less than a decade. Since it's not been officially defined, I thought I would step in. No need to thank me. Really.) and only managed to make last week. I love the flavour of sesame and the fact that it pairs perfectly with anything - sweet and savoury. Me being me, I go for savoury almost every time, although I've been known to down a few "ellu urundai" on occasion. (Note to self: Get recipe from amma.)

Apart from years of inertia, one of the other reasons it took so long to make this recipe was a long weekend spent in Scotland with a friend. (You can
read about it here - but be warned it's long!). And once we got back last Monday, it seemed like Pete and I were eating out every evening thereafter, until yesterday! To think that I was kinda proud (and pleased) that we werent the "eating out kind"...

Not that I'm complaining too much, because we discovered a pretty authentic Cantonese restaurant that wasnt horribly expensive AND had great food. And an "Indian" (read Bangladeshi) one that had a unique working arrangement... basically, the time you enter the restaurant (called "Shuvecha") is the price you pay per person for a 3-course meal. So if you get there for 6pm, you pay £6 per person. If you go there at 10.30pm, you pay £10.30 per person. They do have an a la carte menu too - but the main courses listed start at £7.50 or thereabouts... so the time-wise payment is wayyyy cheaper. I wonder how the restaurant manages to make a profit.

We enjoyed our meal there because the food wasnt bad and the service was brilliant. There was this young waiter who looked about 14 years old who was really enthusiastic and friendly. When Pete praised the tandoori chicken salad he'd had as a starter, this young fella rushed off to the chef and got some cooked tandoori chicken in a box, along with the recipe, so that Pete could make himself a salad like that at home. What's more, we werent charged for this. You couldnt ask for better service, and the young man earned himself a large tip.

Oh bother, I've gone off the track (not quite off the rails though!) as usual. So before I wander any further, let me say that the sesame-flavoured savoury rice that I made was mouth-watering in aroma and flavour.

Since it was a one-pot meal, all it needed was a simple raita (I made a baby cherry tomato-cucumber raita) as an accompaniment. Yum. It was probably especially nice because I was craving home-made food after all that eating out, fun though it was!

Recipe for:
Sesame vegetable rice


For the sesame powder:
3 tbsp sesame seeds
6-7 dried red chillies (or to taste)
2 tbsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp oil

For the vegetable rice:

4 cups cold cooked basmati rice
1-1/2 cups mixed chopped vegetables (I used potatoes, carrots, fresh broad beans and bell pepper)
Salt to taste

For tempering:
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp chana dal
1 tbsp oil
a few curry leaves torn roughly
pinch of asafoetida


1. Roast the sesame seeds till they begin to turn pale brown.

Set aside to cool completely, then grind to a powder. Be careful not to over-grind or let the motor get hot, or the sesane seeds will exude oil and become lumpy rather than powdery.

2. Heat 1/2 tsp oil and roast the red chillies and coriander seeds on low heat until they turn a darker shade and give off a nice aroma.

Set aside to cool, then grind to a powder. Mix with the powdered sesame seeds.

3. Cook the chopped vegetables (dont add bell pepper now, if using) in the microwave until done but not mushy.

4. In a large pan, heat 1 tbsp oil and add the tempering ingredients. Cover and let the mustard seeds pop.

Add the chopped bell pepper now, if using.

5. Let the bell peppers cook for 4 minutes, then add the cooked vegetables, mix well and fry, stirring once or twice, for another 3-4 minutes.

6. Add the sesame seed powder, along with salt to taste, and mix well.

7. After a couple of minutes, add the cooked rice and carefully mix it with the vegetables, without breaking the grains.

Once the rice is heated through, sprinkle with chopped coriander and serve hot with a nice cool raita and vadam/appalam/crisps.


Happy cook said...

Wow excelent dish.
I love also ellu urnudai, but only eat them when i am in India.
But then shop bought, my mom never made that at home.

Rajitha said...

i really like the smell of sesame and add them often in stir-fry.. never added them to rice as of now.. should try this way too

Roopa(KitchenAromas) said...

Bookmarked! :)

Suganya said...

I will try this today for lunch. Am putting you under pressure so fast X-(

Suganya said...

Shammi, I made this today for lunch and loved it. Its simple but quite tasty. Capsicum is a must, it pairs well with sesame seeds. I also omitted broad beans and added black chickpeas.
I was wondering why you were thinking abt ellu urundai out of nowhere. But soon after grinding, the aroma...hmmm... I too crave for ellu urundai. Let me know yr mom's recipe :)

TheCooker said...

Love sesame in 'most everything!
This one-dish meal looks really good.

Shyam said...

Happy Cook: My mom made ellu urundai very rarely - part of the reason why I like it so much :)

Rajitha: Do try it, you'll be pleasantly surprised!

Roopa: Thanks! :)

Suganya: Wow that was quick. Capsicum is a definite must, you're right! :)

Shyam said...

The Cooker: I was pleased with how the rice came out - pretty much perfect. It helped make the final dish look really nice! :)

Linda said...

Oh, doesn't that look yummy! I LOVE sesame in any way shape or form, though like you I will always go for savory first. My question is, what are you grinding the sesame seeds in? I do have a little kitchen-aid grinder, better than coffee mill, but 3 TB is hardly enough to be ground properly. This is one of the great mysteries, to me -- what to get for a grinder.

Now I'm off topic too ;) But will definitely try your sesame rice!

Taste of Mysore said...

Lovely recipe. Liked the writer in you. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Have a good day ahead.

Redchillies said...

Yonks? That is a neat word. Glad that I learnt a new receipe along with a new word. Great pictures too!

Anonymous said...

Hey Shyam, I loved the idea of spicing up rice with sesame masala... Will try it out asap...
and yonks is a cute word

Raaga said...

I learn not just recipes but also new english words... when I visit your blog... as if the former weren't enough! :-)

Raaga said...

Lovely recipe :-)

Shyam said...

Linda: I use a small spice grinder that (I think) came as an accessory with my Sumeet mixie from India. It's soooooo useful!

Taste of Mysore: And I've found even more recipes on your blog that I've never tried before! I'm glad I dropped by :)

Redchillies: I aim to please (and educate!) :D

Anon: And now cute even has a definition :D

Raaga: I wouldnt trust those "new words" enough to use them in formal company... ;)

Anonymous said...

Hi Shyamala, what a detailed way of showing all the steps that go into the making of this yum looking pulav. It sure looks good, and I can imagine how wonderful the sesame flavour would have been! I like your self description…truly crisp and funny!