Last year’s new year’s eve was slightly different for me. We were in India and the celebration was more a family gathering rather than a wild party involving alcohol. Well , this meal at a reputed five-star hotel did involve cocktails and spirits but we made sure we consumed alcohol is a more civilised manner to avoid things going out of control. I was really thankful for being sober that night as I could eat to my heart’s content and enjoy the massive buffet the hotel has laid out for the guests. The food was delicious and went on from the restaurant dining area to the garden and across the pool area. Street food, regional food, Indo Chinese, Italian , numerous desert stalls and everything was so delicious. Few dishes have stood out for me, Awadhi Chicken curry and a gongura rice which were very unique and extremely tasty. Out at the kebab counter , I got chatty with the chef who was making yam kebabs and upon enquiry the head chef was from Awadh. No wonder , the Awadhi chicken curry was spot on and the addition of gulouti kebabs made sense. Few minutes later, he introduced me to a telugu chef and we got talking about the Green rice. I was amazed of the different kinds of rice he mentioned and how popular these dishes are getting. The Craze is understandable because buffets have been typically serving pilau rice for so many years, it’s time for change and innovation .
He quickly shared the gongura rice and Karvepaku (curry leaves) rice with me and insisted I should try it at home. Both the recipes are quite easy and quick to whip up. Almost a year has passed and I remembered about these when I was brainstorming about what to do with the several Tilda rice I got given at an event/supperclub hosted by Tilda and Mallika Basu about which you can read more here . I cooked this literally hours before we were catching a flight to India to attend my brother’s wedding. The intention was to write up the recipe on the flight and post it immediately 🙂 . But as you can see, that didn’t happen. My laptop proved useless as the volts on the flight to charge was not enough for my laptop charger. There is my excuse to watch three movies in a row, a documentary about foodies while munching on the bread roll and butter Emirates served. As I landed in India I was bombarded with tasks to do for the wedding. Wedding preparations , especially for an Indian wedding in an unknown city managing so many relatives is definitely not a cake walk. However, in the end , it has been a successful event resulting in a very happy couple and our family picture is now complete with the new member joining in. We had the reception in the very popular Golconda resorts in Hyderabad and of course , my main focus was food ! We had two tasting sessions with the chef in order to come up with a perfect reception buffet menu. The chef was extremely cooperative and enjoyed creating specific dishes for us on request. We are really pleased how it all turned out in the end with deliciousness all over the party !
Coming back to the Karvepaku Rice , the main ingredient is of course ‘karvepaku’ ie, the curry leaves. The south Indian in me was already smiling with joy while I was picking and prepping the leaves for the dish because of the amount of leaves I was going to use. In most dishes curry leaves are used to garnish or you saute a few leaves into the curry. But here, the curry leaves are the main ingredient and you can imagine the flavour and aroma that will fill your kitchen shortly after you start cooking this dish. Curry leaves are known for their valuable medicinal values and are widely used in the Ayurvedic medicines. They are believed to aid in hair growth , reduce side effects caused by chemotheraphy, reduce diaherea, help with skin infections and many more. So, it becomes even more important to include the mighty curry leaves into your diet.
I used Tilda Brown Basmati and Wild rice because , we are a family who need their pure Bamsati for every meal. Now to make the transition from pure basmati to wholemeal, I need something delicious and full of flavour to coat the rice with and this curry leaf powder works wonders in that sense. Together with the quality Tilda wholemeal rice you will, even for one second, think that you are having anything less luxurious. So, pick up those curry leaves and get cooking !
To make the Curry leaf powder you will need :
1 Bunch fresh curry leaves
11/2 Tsp. Bengal Gram (yellow split gram)
1 Tsp. Seseme Seeds
3-4 Dried Red Chillies
1/2 Tsp Cumin Seeds
1/2 Tsp. Coriander seeds
1/4 Tsp. fenugreek seeds
To finish off the dish :
Salt to taste
2 Cups Cooked rice (I used Tilda Brown and Wild rice )
4 Tsp. Ghee (clarified butter)
2 – 3 Spoons Roasted Butternut squash cubes
Few roasted peanuts for garnish
Heat the pan and dry roast all the lentils and spices except the curry leaves and keep aside .
The same pan , heat a teaspoon oil and roast the curry leaves
In a grinder , mix all the ingredients and make a fine powder or a little gritty if you like a bit of texture. Add some salt to taste and there you go , a nice blend of flavourful powder is ready for you to enjoy with rice.
To serve :
Cook the Tilda Rice as per the directions on the pack and fluff it . While the rice is cooking , dice some butternut squash and roast them in the oven. You can use any seasonal veges in this place to add extra nutritional value to the dish. But the sweet butternut squash worked well against the strong and spicy curry leaf flavour.
Stir in some of the curry leaf powder prepared into the rice and add generous amount of ghee and the butternut squash cubes and mix well.
Garnish some peanuts and serve Hot. We ate it with spicy lamb fry and was a treat.
Few pointers :
The Curry leaf rice can be enjoyed with a variety of curries and vegetable stir fries . So, it becomes a really versatile dish to serve up at dinners .
The powder can keep well and fresh for up to one – two weeks , so stock up for those lazy night and you could just heat up a ready made rice to cuddle up on the sofa with a hearty meal
I have used both ghee and coconut oil with rice and they are both my favourite . coconut oil works really well with the rice especially of you make the curry to with using coconut oil as well. You can use any oil you wish …like olive oil .
you can use any garnish with cashew nuts as well and some sautéed curry leaves
You can also temper the rice with mustard seeds and more curry leaves if you wish
I hope you like the super simple Rice and I am sure this will come in handy when you need something to lift you up taking only a few minutes of your time.