Tuesday, 20 January 2015
Earlier South Indian Cuisine meant only Idly, Dosa and Uttapam to me, till I visited some of the major temple cities of Southern India in 1992 with my parents. The memories are still fresh in my mind. I loved everything about the tour, the history behind the temples, the sarees, the beaches and the local cuisine using lot of coconut in almost everything. It was such a pleasure to have breakfast with appam, at lunch munching on a big dosa with coconut chutney and for dinner gorging on rice and fish curry using tamarind juice and coconut milk. With a filled stomach, watching the temple architectures, built during the rule of different dynasties was an educational tour sort of. I specially loved Kanyakumari, Pondicherry, Mahabalipuram, the Kovalam Beach and the very romantic hill station of Kodaikanal. I wish to visit these places again at some point in life.
There is so much of history attached to the temples that a 15 days tour is not enough to cover even half of them and have a taste of the local cuisine. It was in that 15 days span, I got acquainted with lemon rice, tamarind rice, mango rice. For an ardent rice lover like me, it was quite a treat. Back home, my mother did not really prepare them, neither the Kolkata eateries did sell them. In general, South Indian food meant Dosa, Idly and Medu Bada in Kolkata then.
It is now that I have a couple of South Indian colleagues at work, I get to taste various South Indian dishes almost everyday. I specially like LEMON RICE and like to have it with plain yogurt. There are many number of posts already on it, I thought of adding mine too.
Par Boiled Rice : 1 cup
Lemon Juice : 1/2 small cup
Curry Leaves : 10
Black Mustard Seed : 1/4tsp
Black Gram[Skinless] : 1/2 tsp[urad dal]
Chana Dal : 1/2 tsp
Raw Peanut [with skin] : 3 tbsp
Dry Red Chilli : 4[halved]
Turmeric Powder : 1/4tsp
Salt : As required
Oil : 3 tbsp
Wash the rice thoroughly 4-5 times and soak in water for about 1 hour. Heat 6 cups water in a deep bottomed vessel. Once the water starts boiling, add the rice. Let boil at medium heat. Keep on checking whether its done. Drain the water when the rice is 80% done. Get the juice from the lemon.
Heat 3 tbsp oil in a wok. Fry the raw skinned peanuts for 2-3 minutes, take out.
Temper with mustard seeds. As they splutter, add the urad dal and chana dal. When they turn light brown, add the pre washed curry leaves and the halved dry red chillies.
Add the boiled rice. Put in salt and turmeric powder. Fold in well. Keep stirring at medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the lemon juice and mix well. At this stage you can add the fried peanuts and 2 slitted green chillies if you wish to.
Switch off gas and transfer to a serving bowl.
Serve with plain yogurt/raita accompanied by salads!!