Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sesame soyabean pulao

Sometimes what you think is a brilliantly innovative idea turns out to be somewhat less than that. Even if not a total flop, the idea certainly isn’t close to what was visualised. For instance - I recently bought a pack of Lapsang Souchong tea (no, that was not the innovative part, that was just what I thought was the brilliant part. Wait for it, people, wait for it. The point will make its grand debut further down this post. Watch for the trumpet fanfare that will announce its arrival.)

Over the years I’d heard a lot about Lapsang Souchong. It was the name that attracted me first, to tell the truth. Lapsang Souchong. Such a treat for the vocal cords. Lapsang Souchong. Lapsang Souchong. Lapsang Souchong. (It made me feel sophisticated just saying the name.) So anyway, I’d read about how this tea embodied the essence of refinement, how delicately smoky it tasted, how it was loved by the top connoisseurs of tea in general, and so on. In the past I was not drawn to the idea of tea at all, even with milk and sugar – and the idea of drinking tea that had neither milk nor sugar seemed incomprehensible. Not even a genuine tea-connoisseur favourite uncle could tempt me to try drinking tea black.

But of late, since I have been drinking fruit teas and green tea, I thought that my palate ok, that *I* was finally sophisticated enough for this supposed queen of teas. It seemed promising enough when I bought the box because I could smell the smokiness even without opening it.

As I poured hot – not boiling, as specified by the instructions – water on the teabag in my mug, my senses were assailed by the lovely smoky aroma. Alas, the tea itself was rather too bitter for me. Evidently my palate (please note this – my palate, not me) had not reached the level of sophistication required to drink Lapsang Souchong. (Perhaps I should have used a fine bone china cup from which to drink the tea, rather than a Tesco mug that had “Tea Coffee Tea Coffee” printed all over it in striking black and white stripes? Ah well, we will not make this discovery in a hurry, and enquiring readers will just have to wait till I can muster the willpower – and the requisite refinement of the five senses - to try Lapsang Souchong again. From a posh china cup.)

So anyway, the remaining 39 tea bags sat in their box in a drawer, perfuming the air delicately with their smokiness whenever the drawer was opened, for a couple of weeks before I had my next *trumpet fanfare* idea. (Yes, folks, this was Part 2 - the innovative part – of the original brilliant idea.)

I have liked the flavour of smoked food, ever since, years and years back in a Maori village in New Zealand, I tried it for the first time at the traditional “hangi” or feast. (That’s another story, which you can find
here.) So I was suddenly struck by the thought that I could use a Lapsang Souchong tea-bag while cooking some soya beans (the dried kind, after first soaking the beans overnight). Two birds with one stone, and all that... I could use up the tea bags eventually, and hopefully the lovely smoked flavour would infuse into the soya beans.


That innovative idea? Innovative, perhaps, but sadly not brilliant in its outcome. The smoky taste did NOT get into the beans or the cooking liquid, but the tea did turn the beans a beautiful (NOT!) brownish grey. Overall, I would say that pressure-cooking the beans with a Lapsang Souchong teabag did not add anything in the way of extra flavour, but also, let it be said, it did not detract from the taste of the beans. I was going to make a superbly and subtly smoky soya bean chole sort of thing, but in the event, I decided to do something else with the tea-cooked beans.

And that is how this sesame soyabean pulao happened. Looks quite nice, doesn't it? It tasted as good as it looks - and I personally believe it looks verrrrry good!

Mind it!

sesame,soya bean,pulao

Recipe for: Sesame soyabean pulao

sesame,soya bean,pulao


4-5 cups cooked basmati rice, cooled
1-1/2 cups cooked soyabeans
2 medium onions, sliced thin
4-5 green chillies, sliced into strips (to taste)

sesame,soya bean,pulao

3 tbsp sesame seeds, crushed lightly in a mortar & pestle
1/4 cup concentrated tomato puree
1" stick cinnamon
1 star anise
1 green cardamom
1 black cardamom (optional)
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
2 tbsp chopped coriander for garnish


1. Heat the oil in a pan big enough to comfortably take 4 cups cooked rice. When the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, cardamoms and star anise. Let them brown gently (about a minute) till their aroma is released.

sesame,soya bean,pulao

2. Now add the sesame seeds and let them fry till they begin to turn a pale brown.

sesame,soya bean,pulao

sesame,soya bean,pulao

3. Add the onions and stir fry on medium heat till the onions begin to turn soft.

sesame,soya bean,pulao

4. Pour in the tomato puree.

sesame,soya bean,pulao

5. Mix it in well,

sesame,soya bean,pulao

then add the cooked soyabeans.

sesame,soya bean,pulao

Stir them in gently till they are completely covered with the onion masala. The masala should not be runny or watery, or the pulao will not taste right.

sesame,soya bean,pulao

6. Add the chopped coriander and stir it in, along with salt to taste.

sesame,soya bean,pulao

7. Now mix the cooked rice with the soyabean masala, taking care not to break up the grains.

sesame,soya bean,pulao

8. Serve hot with any raita.


FH said...

That little pot you served with is sooo cute, lovely and healthy recipe with soy beans and sesame.

Shammi said...

Thanks, Asha! :) I got a set of these matkis from one of the Bangladeshi restaurants - they served desserts in it :D

Trendsetters said...

soybean pulav-wow who wud have thought of

Anonymous said...

I really like the idea of smoky beans! Don't give up yet! Try adding more tea to the beans! How long have you had the tea? If it's been open for a while, it might have lost its flavour, so you'll need more tea.
Also, when making tea, sometime it takes a while to work out the brewing time, as different teas need behave differently in that respect. Tea gets bitter when overbrewed. You could give it another go! Lapsang Souchong can be lovely!

Shammi said...

Trendsetters: The recipe was an afterthought :) A happy accident!

Maninas: I liked the idea of smoky beans too... and thanks for the suggestions. The tea isnt that old - just a couple of weeks or so, and the bags are not open to the air! I WILL be trying lapsang souchong again. :)

kamalabhoopathy said...

Lovely pulao with soybean and sesame different and yummy

Simplyfood said...

Beautiful click looks absolutely delicious.

Rekha shoban said...

nice presentation and yummy pulavo

Shammi said...

Kamala, Simply.Food and Rekha: Thank you! :)

shankari said...

I like the name too..try making the tea lighter or a tad bit of honey maybe?

brinda said...

Tea BAGS???? You don't use tea bags if you want to appreciate tea. Tea bags are fine for those fruit flavoured things or in office. The Tea Snob has spoken. EOM

Fathima said...

healthy 'n yummy pulao... love the step by step pictures...

RV @ Food for 7 Stages said...

it sounds like a brilliant idea to use tea bags. me too loves the smoky flavor on the dish.... I tried to use the phulka grill to bring out smoky flavor in the cutlets...and I was successful to some extent..

Sorin said...

This is just beautiful. Awesome Post!