There are days when I just don’t want to cook dinner. But I still want to eat a nice home-cooked wholesome meal. And eating out or ordering in isn’t an option because I avoid eating out on impulse during weekdays. Also, I’ve been trying to cook as many meals as possible so I can save up more and use the savings to travel. trust me, it works! Although it may sound difficult- cooking three meals a day? No way! But it isn’t, if you sort out your grocery and vegetable shopping and stock your fridge with the necessary ingredients. Then it’s just about chopping and cooking. And experimenting with the menu rally helps. I for one don’t like to eat chapatti-sabzi for every meal.
So far, it’s been a good run. Except for those days when you are low on energy and just want to eat quickly and get done with the day. On such days, I often revisit childhood and Mom’s kitchen. Apart from calming me, this is where inspiration finds me. Ever so often, my mother would cook up something to keep my interest in reaching the dinner table alive.
One such successful experiment of hers was the Rainbow Pulav, as I like to call it. A pristine white pulav bursting with colours. No one else in the family was particularly fond of it, and I think it was because it was made specially for me. You know those dinner table rivalries, even the elders of the family indulge in.
And I was more than happy to get her attention. Everytime she told me there was this particularly beautiful looking Pulav for dinner, I would not only suddenly start feeling hungry, but also help her prepare it. Shelling the peas, defrosting the corn and chopping carrot was something I really enjoyed doing with her. I think it was the combination of colours that got me excited.
The sunshine yellow somehow enlivened me, the luscious green added freshness and the blushing red made it even more enticing. All these colours together, set in the virgin white, was for me, what fairytales were made of. Comforting, vibrant and with happy endings.
Not much has changed.
So last night, despite getting back home very tired, I was really excited to make the Rainbow Pulav. Preparation time is literally fifteen minutes, and within forty minutes, it is there on your plate, ready to be devoured.
All you have to do is, shell peas, dice carrots and wash the corn kernels (that I bought from the market), wash the rice and put all of it to cook with a little salt. Really, it’s as simple as that. And very pretty to look at 🙂
Here’s what you need to do to prepare it.
150 gms Basmati/ white rice
1 medium onion finely chopped
2-3 green chillies sliced
50 gms shelled green peas
50 gms corn kernels
50 gms carrot diced
1 tsp jeera or cumin
2 tbsp oil (groundnut or rice bran, any)
salt to taste
a dash of lemon
Coriander to garnish
If you are using Basmati rice, wash and soak it in water for 15 minutes. I do this for most Basmati brands (Hello daily, Kohinoor, Radikal, India Gate) available in India and it really helps, although a few of them (like Best) are better off without soaking as it makes them break easily.
Heat oil in a skillet, and when hot add the jeera (cumin) seeds. When the seeds start sputtering, add the chopped onions and chilies and fry for about 3 minutes. You don’t want the onions to be translucent or completely cooked as they will be boiled with the rest of the vegetables and the rice.
Then, add the corn, carrots and peas. Add the rice and add salt to taste. Cook for about 3 more minutes and then add water till it just about covers the rice and vegetables. Cover partially and leave it to simmer at medium low flame.
Once all the water has evaporated, check to see if the rice is cooked else add a little more water.
And that’s all you have to do! 🙂
Garnish and serve with chopped coriander.
The recipe is perfect as is for me, and I don’t really like the taste of ginger, but if you do, you can go ahead and add crushed ginger with the onions and chilies for that extra zing.
What I really like about the Rainbow Pulav is that it is so easy to make, full of flavour and a complete meal. The lemon really ties all the ingredients together. You can have it with plain curd or raita and enjoy the simple joys in life.