Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Muttar Pulao (Indian Rice and Peas)

The pea is a symbol of love. Rice is a symbol of not only love, but also protection, fertility and prosperity. Since this recipe also includes other protective ingredients, I would recommend the dish for protection, if you wish to use it for any magical purpose.

Of course, you can just make it, eat it and enjoy it for Imbolc or Ostara, or any time of year. Frozen peas make it possible to enjoy any time, but using fresh peas would be great for Ostara or Beltane. Spicy dishes are appropriate for Imbolc.

I had this for dinner last night simply because it sounded good and I had frozen peas to use. Here is how I did it.

Muttar Pulao

1 cup of rice (Basmati is my preference, but use whatever you have)
1 teaspoon ginger, grated
6 cloves garlic
1 large-ish chile, minced
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup frozen peas
3-4 whole cloves
3-4 whole cardamom pods
1 teaspoon cumin (ground or seeds)
1 small cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
salt to taste
optional: pinch of turmeric or a few saffron threads bloomed in water

Heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil in a pot. Add the cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon stick (break it in half first) and cumin seeds. (If you're using the ground cumin, add it later.) Let these sputter in the hot oil for a minute. Stir things about so they don't burn.

Add the onions and chile and soften for about 5 minutes. Next, add the garlic and ginger and cook for 2-3 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic.

Add your washed, drained rice and stir to coat with the oil and spices. Cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add the peas, bay leaf, ground cumin*, and turmeric, if using. Stir in two cups of water, some salt to taste, and the bay leaf. Cover and cook until the water has been absorbed by the rice. Let it sit uncovered for 5-10 minutes.

Garnish this with slivered almonds or chopped cashews, if desired.

Serves 4. Per serving:

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