Monday, May 10, 2010

Qubooli - Like A Hug From Mom

I hit the motherload when it came to flowers on my first Mothers' Day. And the best part was that I wasn't expecting them, so they all came as a surprise, and I loooove surprises!

But today, dear readers, I don't want to talk about my Mothers' Day - I'm in the mood to hear from all you lovely ladies. For those of you lucky enough to have fabulous moms, did you call them/visit them and expound upon their sheer greatness?! After all, they did change your poopy diapers as a baby, struggled through your bratty kid phase, and did not disown you when you were an obnoxious teenager. And if any of you are fortunate enough to be mothers yourselves, I can only hope that your kids and/or significant other did something special for you - even if it was just a sincere effort to "let mommy get some peace and quiet". I imagine some of you had to smile through your husbands' attempts to make you breakfast-in-bed (probably the only time you enjoyed rubbery scrambled eggs and scorched pancakes), then squealed with glee and praise over your kids' handmade cards. Now if only it didn't have to be you who had to clean up the mess in the kitchen at the end of the day anyway!

Speaking of surprises, I know you must be expecting me to share some girly, feminine dessert recipe with you today, in honor of Mothers' Day. But dear readers, it was cold that day, and I wanted to warm up my insides without spending too much time in the kitchen. So I made Qubooli/Kabooli - a vegetarian Hyderabadi rice dish, which is a complete meal in itself, and as it turns out, is so comforting that it feels like a hug from Mom. It's a new look at soul food.
Qubooli/Kabooli (my version of Lubna's recipe from Kitchen Flavors)
Serves 5-6

Click here for printable recipe

2 cups basmati rice
3/4 cup chana daal, washed and soaked for 2 hours
1 can chickpeas, drained and washed
1-2 onions, sliced
1.5 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp garam masala powder
2-3 tbsp yogurt, whipped
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp red chili powder
1-2 green chillies, slit down the middle
2 cardamoms
2 cloves
2-inch piece of a cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
3-4 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
Chopped cilantro for garnish

1. Cook the chana daal in water (it should reach 1 inch above the level of the daal in whichever saucepan you use) till tender but not mushy. Drain any excess water and set aside.

2. Heat the oil with the cardamom, cloves, bay leaf and cinnamon stick in a large pot.

3. After a minute, add in the onions and green chillies - saute till onions are golden. Mix in the ginger-garlic paste and saute for another minute.

4. Lower the flame and add the rice, cooked chana daal, chickpeas, salt, chili powder, turmeric, and garam masala. Mix gently.

5. Stir in the yogurt and saute for another 2 minutes.

6. When all the ingredients start to gel together, you can add water to 1 inch above the rice mixture, then: a) transfer this mixture to your rice cooker and turn it on or b) cook on the stove itself, with a tight lid on the saucepan, for approximately 20 minutes till water completely evaporates and rice is done. Garnish with cilantro and serve with spicy tomato chutney (recipe below) and yogurt raita.
Verdict: Many people call this Hyderabadi dish a poor man's biryani, but take that in the best way possible, because this really is uber-comforting and over-the-top delicious. It contains some pretty basic ingredients, but infusing the spices into it makes it special. And since there's no meat involved, it takes only a few minutes to put together - then I just let the rice cooker do all the work! DH gobbles up this qubooli with gusto, but rest assured, I made this for me - it's my day, after all (he just reaps the benefits of being the lucky spouse)! So if it's still a bit chilly where you are these days, cook up some heart-warming qubooli.

Spicy Tomato Chutney

Click here for printable recipe

2 tbsp canola oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
2-3 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
Salt to taste

1. Heat up the oil with the cumin and mustard seeds. When they begin to sputter, add in the ginger-garlic paste (cover with a splatter screen!) and saute for a few seconds.

2. Then mix in the tomatoes, salt, chili powder and turmeric. Stir, then cover with a lid and let the tomatoes soften. Cook down till the mixture thickens up and reduces. Done! Serve as a side.

One of the best things I was able to do on Mothers' Day was spend some quality time with Ozzy, who I've been ignoring terribly. Like many older siblings, he went through some issues when baby B came into our lives. And although he is a gem with B, it's me he was angry with! So when I woke up on Mothers' Day to find both DH and B snoring away, I took the chance to snuggle with Ozzy - and boy, have I missed that! The deep purring noises that emanated from him told me that he had missed it too.
My other baby, my Ozzy.