hi INDiA Copyright 2020
Waaaaay back in February of last year, and it seems longer ago than that, I started laying in supplies for Quarantine. The minute I heard Dr. Messonnier say “a disruption of everyday life might be severe” I thought…uh oh…where’s my yeast? Actually that wasn’t my first thought, my first thought was where’s my toilet paper!
I grew up in the house with an ex-military, turned first responder. My dad was a fireman in SF, later lieutenant of the Rescue Squad EMTs and so life was all about being prepared, always sitting in the very back of theaters, always noticing where the exits are when I enter a room, you get the drill and yeah, I got the drill. We had fire drills at home, we practiced dropping out of the upstairs windows, dad first then mom helping us out the window, and finally her turn to hang on and drop into my fathers arms.
What’s that got to do with toilet paper? A lot. My dads’ family were immigrants and so they knew how to prepare and stock up for almost anything cheaply. We had cupboards of on sale TP, paper towels, a whole bunch of off brand stuff but we were prepped! It’s something I was raised with even before becoming a Girl Scout, Be Prepared. So back in February I checked my larder. Since I cook a LOT of Indian food I was stocked with lentils, rices, spices, atta flour, and of course rice.
I got Covid early in March and so I wasn’t doing any cooking for about two months. When I emerged from my isolation I was all stocked up and ready to go, but cooking everyday, all meals, you run through stuff fast and that’s when I discovered it was hard to get rice in the quantities I wanted, and I wanted the good stuff. I took what I could get, and then the people at Regal Harvest reached out to me and asked me if I’d like to try their rice. I was just about to search out more Basmati rice since the pantry was getting low, of course I said yes!
I expected a small sample pack but was surprised and delighted when I received a large bag. I opened it and was greeted by the lovely golden color and aroma of good Basmati Rice. I’d really been missing that ! So, what to make first? All I could think of was “shelf stable,” the vegetables that last the longest in my cold storage, and what I had in the garden. And so….a very simple dish, which makes for an easy lunch, or as a side dish for any sort of meal.
Rice With Cauliflower And Potatoes
Here’s What You Need:
1 cup of Basmati rice
2 Tbs vegetable oil, butter or ghee ( I use coconut oil)
t tsp cumin seed
2 bay leaves
1 inch cinnamon stick
1 black cardamom pod
4 black peppercorns
5 whole cloves
1 medium red onion thinly sliced
1 yukon gold potato peeled and cut into 1/2 pinch cubes
1/2 of a medium sized cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 tsp turmeric
1 and 1/2 tsps kashmiri chili powder (if you don’t have it try a mix of cayenne and paprika)
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp kosher salt
Here’s What To Do:
put the rice in a bowl, rinse it in cold water about 3 times and then drain it.
Add three cups of water to the bowl of drained rice and let it sit for about 20 minutes
then drain it into a strainer
Heat the oil or butter or ghee in a medium sized pot or pan over medium heat.
When the butter or oil gets hot, add in the cumin seeds, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, cardamom, peppercorns, and cloves. When they become fragrant add in the onion.
Saute the onion until it’s lightly browned (about 3 or 4 minutes)
Add in the potato and cauliflower.
Saute over medium heat for about 2 minutes.
Now add in the soaked rice…
…the turmeric, chili powder, garam masala, salt, and stir.
MIx everything together well.
Add two cups of hot water.
And stir again.
Bring everything to a boil, then cover the pot or pan turn the heat down to low and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes until your rice is tender.
Serve it up with some chopped fresh cilantro
This was a great main meal for lunch. The next day I took the left overs and mixed in some Indian spiced shrimp and bingo! This time I had dinner.
What I love about this dish was the fact that it took very little time to get lunch ready, always important on a work day. The ingredients are readily available. If you don’t have black cardamom don’t sweat it there’s really no substitute and the dish will be just fine anyway. It’s a perfect answer to using up those shelf stable or rather cold drawer stuff like potatoes and cauliflower. If your cauliflower has been shelf stable for a while, don’t worry any random brown spots can be trimmed away. I hate wasting food, especially when we’re trying to get the most use out of what we’ve got, so I found his guy on the internet who has a pretty interesting article on his site… Toss or Keep
There’s a lot of knowledge there if you want to get the most out of what you’ve got to work with as my grandma used to say. Though I don’t know if she was talking about beauty or vegetables. The Regal Harvest rice was tender and delicious, and that fabulous Basmati aroma filled the kitchen. I’m already planning some more dishes with Regal Harvest and I’m very grateful for getting such wonderful rice to play with during my pandemic cooking.
Coming up next, hopefully a break in our cold and drippy weather will allow me to fire up the tandoor oven without needing an umbrella. Stay tuned and follow along on Twitter @kathygori