Just like now, it was a time when the Republican's were in control of the Congress and 'Contract with America' was in effect. President Clinton refused to blink when the Republicans threatened to shutdown the government and the Federal government went into shutdown.
This in no way stopped us from visiting DC and enjoying the sites. Around 8.00PM we slowly meandered towards the Capitol Hill. We were not asked for tickets, no patting down to check for God's knows what. Anyway after we finished our self-guided tour we wandered towards the Senate chambers. The guard posted there asked if we would like to witness Senator Dole who was the Senate majority leader at the time give a speech in the chambers. Of course we did. Besides a few spectators and a few more in the chambers there was hardly anyone. Open government at its best even when it was shutdown.
These days nobody gets to anywhere inside the Capitol Hill without a ticket and not a second after 4.00PM. Let that not stop you from visiting, it is one majestic symbol of a free country.
All this came into mind with a sense that those days are never going to come back when President Clinton took over the White House podium from the current one and held forth on a variety of subjects last Friday. I am not sure why the guy(I mean the current President) is called a great orator, his tongue seems to be stuck to his jaw and the umhs and aahs more pronounced than ever. Looks like someone who is in deep agony and his face shows he is not enjoying the job. Oh Well!
Now on to the recipe,
If you have mint or coriander handy this recipe takes exactly 15-20 minutes to put together. The abundance of mint from summer gets frozen and I always have mint handy during winter. One evening tired and hungry this recipe proved to be a life saver.
Set the rice to cook while the mint paste is getting done. I use an electric cooker to cook the rice so they are nice and separate.
Quick and Easy Mint Rice
1. 1 1/2 cups of Basmati rice cooked with a few drops of oil
2. 1 cup of mint leaves or coriander leaves
3. 1 cup onion sliced
4. 4 cloves of garlic + 1 inch piece of ginger
5. 6 green chilies or 4 red chilies (as per taste)
6. pulp from a small piece of tamarind 2 tbsp worth or a tomato
7. seasonings : 1/2 tbps split urad dal, curry leaves and cumin seeds
8. 1 -2 cups of green peas and corn kernels (any vegetable of choice can be used)
9. salt to taste
10. 2 tsp of oil
For the paste
1. I a pan heat a tsp of oil and add the ginger and garlic, let them saute for a few minutes, add in the chilies and saute for a minute more. Finally add the mint leaves and saute till they are nice and wilted. Cool and blend with the tamarind pulp to a slightly coarse paste.
2. In a wide mouthed pan heat the rest of the oil. Add in the seasonings first the urad dal when they turn color add the cumin and curry leaves, followed by the onions and saute till they turn translucent
3. Add in the peas and corn with salt and let them cook for a few minutes
4. Now add in the blended mint paste along with a 1/4 - 1/2 cup of water and let cook for 8-10 minutes. Check for salt. There should a little bit of moisture left when the rice is added
5. Now add in the cooked rice and mix it in well and let the rice heat through
Serve with raita and potato chips/sticks.