Monday, December 22, 2008

Corn Curry in a hurry

Mmmmmmmmm ... this is going to be a great day, I can feel it. Right now I have a sultry and delicious plate of Khichdi (lentil rice) and Makai ki Kadi (Corn Curry) beckoning me. If you've never had this combination, I urge you to try it out. I've only made khichdi a handful of times in my life, so to make sure I was doing it right, I called my mom to run it by her. Once she gave me the recipe, she proceeded to tell me what else I needed to make with it. "You must have it with qeema (minced meat curry), tamatar ki chutney (tomato salsa) and papad (fried rice puffs)" ... "Really Mom? I must have it this way? What'll happen if I don't?!" ... "But this is the best way!" ... "But that's not what I feel like having!" ... and so on. Now listen here, I get it. I do. I understand where my mom is coming from. There's years of hyderabadi tradition and personal taste behind her recommendations. But my tastebuds were screaming for "creamy & green chilli spicy" not "khatta (sour) & red chilli spicy". I think I'm allowed to break tradition in the solitude of my own home, doncha think?!

So if your tastebuds are wanting what mine were wanting today, here is the recipe for you. I used a rice cooker for this, but you could cook it the way you regularly cook rice on the stove. I am pretty grateful to my mom for buying the rice cooker for me - it's a fantastic piece of equipment!
Khichdi
Serves 3-4

Ingredients:
2 cups rice
1/2 cup masoor daal (red lentils)
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/4 tsp ginger paste
1 bari elaichi (large cardamom)
2 cloves
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric
Pinch of shazeera (black cumin seeds)
1/4 - 1/3 cup oil
5 1/2 cups water

Method:

1. Wash the rice and lentils 2-3 times and keep them aside to soak.
2. In the meantime, warm up the oil on medium, then put in the cardamom, black cumin, cloves and onion. I use the inner container of the rice cooker for this - it works fine on the stove.
3. Once the onion is golden brown, add the turmeric, garlic and ginger. Saute for a minute.
4. Then add the rice + lentil mixture, followed by salt. Stir it about till all the rice grains are coated with the oil.
5. Cover the whole thing with the 4 cups of water, and put it inside the rice cooker.
6. Push the "cook" button on the rice cooker and walk away! Rice will be ready when the light on the cooker changes from red to green (or however your rice cooker works).

Makai ki Kadi (Corn Curry) - I adapted this recipe from Suvir Saran's book "Indian Home Cooking". It is a wonderful cookbook with simple yet scrumptious recipes. Thank you Suvir - you're a great chef and fabulous guy! For more on Suvir, check out his blog http://suvirsaran.typepad.com/.

Serves 4

Grind to a paste (this is the major "YUM" factor) the following 6 items and keep aside:

2-3 small green chillies
1/4 cup cilantro
8-10 fresh kadi patha (curry leaves)
1/2 tsp ginger paste
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1-2 tbsp water
1/2 cup heavy pouring cream
1.5 cups milk
3 tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp black mustard seeds
2 whole dried red chillies
1/4 tsp turmeric
8 fresh kadi patha (curry leaves)
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
3-4 cups frozen corn

Method:

1. Combine oil with the seeds and red chillies over medium-high heat, till the seeds brown.
2. Drop in the curry leaves (watch out for the oil sputtering!), then quickly add the green paste you had ground up earlier, plus the turmeric. Cook for a minute on medium heat.
3. Add the flour and stir this around for a minute.
4. Gradually add the milk-cream mixture, a tbsp at a time initially, and make sure it all combines well with the flour mixture.
5. Once the liquid is completely combined, add the salt and frozen corn, and bring it to a boil.
6. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 mins till corn is tender, and the whole thing is thick and creamy. Check for salt. Done!

Then sit down with a piled up plate of this and watch re-runs of the divine Anthony Bourdain on "No Reservations", while day-dreaming of having your next vacation be anything like his travels! Oh Tony, why do you tease me so? You have eager and ready guides to show you around the late night foodie haunts of Hong Kong, or the busy food bazaars of Morocco. I'll probably just have my hotel-given map, and a print-out from Trip Advisor! But Tony, I do have something you don't ... I have this soul-satisfying meal that I'm digging into right now. Isn't the color enough to just put you in a brighter mood? Even if it is -12 degrees celcius outside. You heard me. You'll have to excuse me, but I can't focus on freezing temps when I have a steaming plate of yellow cheer in front of me.
Mom, you listening? *evil snicker*

9 comments:

Matt said...

oh wow, that sounds good. can i come over for dinner???

Amna said...

Love you...you foodie blogger you!! Fantastic recipe...havent ever tried the corn recipe you've just posted...but looks YUM!

Doppelganger said...

Hey, your khichdi recipe is different from my mom's. :) I'm trying your's next time i make it. And while the corn curry looks delicious, I must say I agree with your mom! How can you not have qeema and tamatar kee chutnie with khichdi!? My khala used to make garlic and whole red pepper chutney with it, which brought tears to my eyes just smelling it, but damn! that thing was delicious with khichdi!

Vicki said...

This looks so good! What kind of rice do you use? I have jasmine, will that work?

Muneeba said...

Vicki, I use basmati rice and I really think that will give you the best result for this particular dish. It's available in most regular grocery stores nowadays.

Ishrat said...

What can I say...I am just another traditional mum. But I must say this that, whenever we go over to our daughter, we are completely pampered by her and her DH. We just sit back, relax and enjoy her deliciously cooked food. Her father just loves her huge variety of desserts that she makes.

gaga said...

Hmm, I've never had corn curry but it sounds like something that I'd like. I'll have to give this a try some time, thanks!

Joyful Reverie said...

looks great, i love it

Joyful Reverie said...

this looks delicious i love the recipe