Monday, December 16, 2013

How to Cook Perfect Basmati Rice

Basmati Rice Cooked on the Stove Top
Basmati Rice Cooked in the Microwave Oven
Thanks to my Facebook friends on Kitchen Raagas for introducing me to the perfect way to cook Basmati rice in the microwave oven. Here are the instructions for cooking the rice on a stove top and in a microwave oven. The ingredients are the same for both methods.

It takes 30 minutes (plus 10 minutes resting time) to cook rice on the stove top and 18 minutes (plus 10 minutes resting time) in the microwave oven. The advantage to microwave cooking is that there are no pots & pans to clean. I was also surprised to find out that rice takes only 18 minutes to cook in the microwave oven as opposed to 40 minutes in a rice cooker!

Red Lentils with Capsicum & Cucumbers

Masoori Dal with Cucumber & Green Peppers
This dish of lentils came about because I needed to use up half an English cucumber and half a green pepper or capsicum.  Red lentils and most other lentils taste very good with vegetable. This is a great way to boost the consumption of vegetables in our daily diets.

Basa Fillets in Yogurt Sauce

Basa Maach-er Doi Maach
Basa is also known as Mekong catfish and Swai. The latter has recently become available in mainstream grocery stores in our area. It is a white fish that has a more delicate flavor than catfish.

When I begin cooking a meal, I raid the fridge and lay out all the vegetables on the counter. Then items get paired with the three or four, sometimes five, dishes I plan to make. That's how half a red pepper or Kashmiri Mirch/Capsicum made its way into this fish dish. Half a container of plain Greek (or hung) yogurt was used in this dish and the other half in a Beet & Cucumber Raita.

In this way, every vegetable plays an important part in the meal and rarely, if ever, do I discard one because it's past its prime.

Reduce and keep the heat on low before adding yogurt to the pan. Do not allow the yogurt sauce to boil as this may cause it to separate or curdle.

Stir-Fried Green Beans & Chickpeas

Green Beans & Chickpeas
My intention was to stir-fry green beans with diced potatoes, but this was made at the tail-end of preparing dinner last night. Feeling too tired to peel and dice a russet potato, I went in search of a can of diced potatoes in the pantry. 

Lo and behold, this can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans/chana) was staring me in the face! I figured the texture was pretty close to cooked potatoes and size similar to diced potatoes which resulted in a delightful stir-fry that was peppery and full of texture. 

The next time, I will add grated coconut for more flavor.

Beet & Cucumber Raita

Beet & Cucumber Salad with Yogurt Dressing
After cooking dinner yesterday, there were half a tub of greek yogurt and half a seedless English cucumber left, so I prepared this quick and easy salad. It is refreshing and cools the palate during an Indian meal.