Wednesday, July 30, 2008

GYO - Minty peas pulao

"Grow Your Own", they say blithely, as if just anybody could grow stuff. Edible, sustaining stuff, I mean. If the event was "Grow Your Own Weeds", I would have beaten everybody else hands down! If wishes were strong enough to bear fruit (and vegetables), I would be buried under a windfall of produce. Unfortunately, wishing does nothing to grow plants… it simply cannot overcome the multiple disadvantages of terrible weather, lack of space, an abundance of leaf-gobbling insects and things and, not the least, my black-fingered efforts at gardening.

Never let it be said that hope doesn’t triumph in the face of adversity, however. Every year, despite the ample evidence of my gardening inability proven by the desiccated brown carcasses of the previous year’s gardening efforts, I plant things in the hope that they will grow. I’m driven by images of succulent fruit and vegetables and herbs that I see on other blogs; even as I rail at the invisible entities that are eating away my growing plants, leaf by leaf, bite by bloody bite, I see myself going out to the garden to get some tomatoes, green beans, peas and potatoes that I’ve grown all by my own self. Alas, they remain dreams, because the reality is that I mostly manage to grow herbs – for a while, that is, before they inexplicably die. And no, it’s not a natural death from herby old age.

Maybe they perish from loneliness, but they shouldn’t. I talk to my plants every day, although I have to admit not always lovingly – sometimes the frustration of having things slowly NOT growing in pots makes me snap. So instead of friendly greetings like “hello plant, how are you today, did you have a good day, I hope the sun shone sweetly on you”, the trend of remarks occasionally is more on the lines of “You! Yes, YOU! You ‘orrible thing! Grow! Laziness wont be tolerated. Use the sunshine, make chlorophyll, put out a few more leaves, fling off any insects, just GROW dammit!”.

Does talking to them – or yelling at them – work? If you’re a black-fingered plant decimator like me, I’m afraid I cant report on any positive growth – cajole or chide as you will, if a plant doesn’t want to grow, it simply wont. Give it to someone else, however, and it will flourish like … like a blasted nettle. It wont even need feeding, watering or pep talks, in someone else’s hands!

Anyway, since the mint is the only flourishing thing this year (despite being slowly decimated from underneath by greedy things not visible to my eye), I plucked a handful of mint leaves off the top and made minty peas pulao, which is my entry for
Jai and Bee’s Grow Your Own event.

This peas pulao has minimal ingredients, so the fresh taste of the mint and coriander stand out. Damn, but it was nice to be able to go into my garden and just fetch me some mint - AND the coriander, too. Just call me Gardenin' Gal!

Recipe for:
Minty peas pulao


4 cups basmati rice, cooked and cooled
1-1/2 cups peas, cooked
1 cup mint leaves, loosely packed
1/2 cup coriander leaves
1 large onion, minced
3-4 green chillies, minced
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp oil
Salt to taste


1. Grind the mint and coriander leaves to a fine paste with the lemon juice. Do this just before making this dish, not beforehand.

2. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the cumin seeds and green chillies and let fry for a minute.

3. Add the minced onion and fry till it begins to turn soft and brown.

4. Now add the ground mint-coriander paste and fry for a minute or so, stirring well, then add the peas.

5. Toss in the cooked rice and salt to taste, mix it all carefully with a large spoon, without breaking the rice grains.

6. Stir it about on medium heat till the rice is thoroughly warmed through. Serve hot with any raita.


bee said...

this looks absolutely delicious. the best way to let plants grow is ignore them, i am convinced. the ones wwe have forgotten about are thriving. the oes we check on often are not doing that well.

Gini said...

One mint is better than nothing. Try promising some booze for them next time. That might do the trick.

sra said...

Know the clumps of lucky bamboo that are sold in little glass bowls, the Feng Shui stuff? They're not supposed to need any sun or anything, just a change of water, but in my house they yellowed, rotted and finally died. Good luck plants dying, what does that say about me, or is it about them?

bhagyashri said...

Hi, I love reading your posts and thoroughly enjoyed this one!

But something is better than nothing. You atleast have the herbs wit you :) I dream of owning a nice & pretty & 'Yielding' garden too but cant achieve it because of the lack of space.

Shyam said...

Bee: They die. They ALL die. :(

Gini: I promised my mint some julep, but I dont know if that's a threat or a promise :D

Sra: KNOW 'em? I've currently got one dying a slow brown death on my windowsill even though I water it frequently. :)

Bhagyashree: Just two pots of mint, that's all. But yes, something better than nothing. :)

Anu said...

A mint grown is a pulao spiced..or, that effect. So kudos to you for managing to turn out that and coriander..! Still waiting for my pots to turn out something here...:(

The Pulao looks fresh and cool; just perfect for summer!

Anu said...

Still, a mint grown is a Pulao seasoned. that effect. So kudos for turning it out along with the coriander!

Great looking Pulao; fresh and cool and perfect for summer!

Dibs said...

Hi, You have sooo many blogs, and makes interesting reading as well! This post is really funny!

I managed to 'grow' few measly strands of corriander ..but I could not imagine, killing them for a rasam! I may as well have though, because a few days later the crow got them :-(

Sarah said...

Hi Shyamala,
I was trying to reach you by email, but I cannot find your address. Would you be interested in exchanging links with my site, I think my readers would be interested in yours. My site focuses mainly on what restaurant dishes and company products are eggless and vegetarian. I also have a couple recipes.

Sarah said...

Forgot to mention, I also have articles on nutrition and have an on-staff vegetarian nutritionist to answer questions. Hope you are interested in exchanging links!

Sophie said...

We would like to feature this recipe on our blog. Please email if interested. Thanks :)

You can view our blog here:

Andrea said...

This looks perfect. Simple food is the best, and you used your mint and cilantro well. Thanks for sharing with Grow Your Own!

Kavitha said...

Hi Shyam, great blog!.. but I just noticed, you mentioned peas in your ingredients' list but not in the preparation?.. I believe the peas should be added after the mint-coriander paste is added?

- Kavitha

Shyam said...

Kavitha: Thanks. Cant believe nobody including me noticed the omission! :) It's been corrected now, thanks again.