Mushroom, Baby Corn & Soy Rice Bowls | Easy Lunchbox Recipe

Packed lunches can be a tricky thing. You want to make something that’s tasty and fun to eat, but also convenient. Roti-sabzi-dal, the holy trinity of Indian tiffin is a great, wholesome lunch; but I just don’t have time for it in the morning.

Which is why I love one-pot (or one-box, or one-dabba, if you prefer,) meals which taste great and travel easy.

BBC Good Food Magazine is my go-to for quick meals. And this one is perfect because it uses one of my favourite vegetables: mushrooms. The original recipe calls for the mushroom to be paired with pumpkin; but I used baby corn instead  because I like the crunch.

I have made this a couple of times, but never got the rice grains to be as dry as the ones pictured in the Good Food recipe- mine always comes out a little ‘saucy’ with the grains coated in soy. Maybe I need to add less stock than the recipe calls for!

MUSHROOM, BABY CORN & SOY RICE BOWLS (Adapted From BBC Good Food.)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 red  chilli, sliced
  • Button mushrooms, diced, 200 grams
  • Baby corn, sliced, 150 grams
  • Raw basmati rice, 100 grams
  • Chicken or vegetable stock, 250 ml
  • Soy sauce, according to taste
  • Bell peppers and spring onions/red onions, diced, a handful each
  • Thinly sliced ginger for garnish

METHOD

  • Heat olive oil. Add the garlic, onion and chilli and sautee for 2 minutes.
  • Next, add the mushroom and babycorn and cook for 3-4 minutes more, allowing them to soften.
  • Add the stock, raw rice and soy sauce and bring everything to a boil.
  • Simmer on low heat for 25 mins, until rice is tender and the stock has been absorbed.
  • Add the diced peppers and onions and stir-fry for 30 seconds to a minute, until well incorporated.
  • Pull off the heat, garnish with ginger sticks and pack in your lunchbox!

(I just put mine in a bowl. You know, since I named it mushroom, baby corn & soy rice bowls.)

I added some ginger matchsticks to finish off

I added some ginger matchsticks to finish off

What kind of quick-fix one-pot meals do you like making?

From My Kerala Kitchen: Kozhu Katta or Steamed Rice Dumplings

I’ve been eating kozhu katta for as long as I can remember. My grandmother used to make it pretty often as an after-school or evening snack. I would gobble them up real quick, and never really bothered to understand what went into preparing them. So this month, when I went home to Kerala to visit family, I went into the kitchen for a one-on-one tutorial.

These steamed rice dumplings are versatile, and make a great breakfast or snack. I have always eaten them with coconut or mango chutney, but they taste great by themselves too. Katta in Malayalam means lump, so the name aptly corresponds to the shape of the snack. I do not really know the history of the name; my bloggy friends who have a clue, comment away!!

There are two kinds of kozhu katta, sweet and savoury. The sweeter version, filled with jaggery and coconut, resembles a dimsum and is made especially during Ganesh chathurthi. (It can be made year-round as well.) It’s called modak in the state of Maharashtra. Both versions are usually filled with something, sealed and then steamed, but this one is not. The dough is mixed in and cooked with tempered spices and then steamed. My knowledge about this snack is a little sketchy, so let me not embarrass myself further and get down to the recipe!

Anyway. Most recipes call for rice flour, but I followed my grandmom’s version which is a little more painful- you have to soak the rice overnight and then proceed to grind it. She also uses equal amounts of coconut and rice, to give it a nice grainy texture. And hey- I come from the land of coconuts. Coconutty= better.

SAVOURY KOZHU KATTA

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup white rice, soaked overnight and drained
  • 1 cup grated coconut
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoons roasted cumin seeds (cumin which is not roasted is fine too.)
  • Water
For tempering:
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons urad dal (black gram)
  • 2 teaspoons crushed chilli flakes
  • 3-4 curry leaves
  • 1 cup water

METHOD

  1. In a blender, combine soaked rice, coconut and just enough water to make a paste and blend to make a pancake like batter. Not too runny, not too thick.
  2. In a large wok, heat the coconut oil. When it gets hot, add the mustard seeds and black gram, followed by the curry leaves and crushed chilli. Pour the batter into the wok, and stir it around so it gets coated evenly and cooks. Let things bubble and simmer, and make sure you stir continuously to avoid lumps. Cook till the water disappears and the dough leaves the sides of the pan. You do not want to get the dough too rubbery. It should not be sticky, but smooth enough to knead gently.
  3. Now, take the dough out of the wok, grease your hands with some oil and knead gently.
  4. Tear off one-inch pieces of the dough and mould into little balls.
  5. Place in a steamer for about 8-10 minutes.

There are several other recipes which call for the dumplings to be steamed, and then tempered separately in a wok before serving. I have followed this method because this is the way my grandmom has been doing it for years. Plus, when the dough cooks in spicy tempered water, it absorbs the flavour much better.

The first time I made it, I added too much water and the dough just fell apart and stuck to the bottom of the pan. The second time, I cooked it through and the dough got too tough sitting in the wok. Things can also differ with the kind of rice that is used- some varieties require more water and some less.

I know all these comments will put several home cooks off- but it’s just my way of saying that this is one of those recipes that may not be all perfect from take one.

You can eat this as is, or serve it with chutney like I have (I made a mango chutney.) I’ll share the recipe for the mango chutney in my next post!

Bright New Year, Bright Yellow Lemon Sevai

Happy New Year everyone! The new year weekend was fun, and we had family and friends over, and there was eating and drinking and general merriment and now everyone is back to work.

And my son had a new year’s gift in the form of his vaccine shot, so he was not a very happy trooper after we left the hospital. But he was fine once we got home and he got a chance to play with his new giant caterpillar toy, which was his real new year’s gift from his aunt.

I haven’t posted in a while, but that is also because I was away, visiting family in Chennai. Each time I go back, I am reminded why I love the city so much: the food! From the freshest seafood to the softest idlis, Chennai has so much to offer. And whenever the whole family gets together in Chennai, there is always a lot to eat.

After so many wonderful breakfasts of idlis, dosas, pongal, upma and puttu, I couldn’t bear the thought of getting back to Special K this morning. I needed a South Indian breakfast. Since I didn’t have time to go grocery shopping after getting back, I had to make do with whatever was in store. I had a few packets of rice sevai, some coriander, and lots of lemons. And I thought: lemon sevai!

Rice sevai is a kind of thin rice noodle. Easy to make, and very versatile. You can turn it into a breakfast dish, cook it with warm milk, sugar and some spices to make payasam, layer it with chicken to make a biriyani…pretty good stuff.

Lemon sevai

LEMON SEVAI WITH COCONUT-CORIANDER CHUTNEY

For The Lemon Sevai

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pack MTR rice sevai (this works out to about 450-500 grams; I used MTR but you can use any brand you want.)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon white urad dal (black gram)
  • Juice of 1 lemon/lime (I use desi nimbu. I still do not know the difference between a lime and a lemon!)
  • Salt to taste
  • 5-6 curry leaves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil

METHOD

  • Cook the sevai as per the instructions on the pack, drain and keep aside. (It is pretty much like cooking pasta.)
  • In a wok, heat the oil. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and let them pop.
  • Then add the white urad dal and the turmeric and stir fry for a minute or two.
  • Next, add the cooked sevai, the curry leaves and lime juice and cook till everything is evenly coated. Add salt to taste.

For The Chutney

  • 3 tablespoons set curd
  • 3 tablespoons grated coconut
  • 1 tablespoon chopped coriander
  • 1 green chilli
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil (You can skip this one if you want to.)

A good coconut chutney needs lots of grated coconut, and some mustard seeds and curry leaves for tempering. But I was lazy. This is my quick-fix chutney. Just put everything together in the blender and whizz (or zhuzh) around till it is well blended and light green. That’s all.

A nice bright start to blogposting in 2012. That was a pretty good breakfast considering I was working with a nearly-empty refrigerator. When life gives you lemons, and you are South Indian, you make lemon sevai!