Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mexican Rice(with puy lentils) served with Mango-Avocado Salad

What is the first thought that comes to your time when you look at the picture above?

Memories of an easier time? Airing laundry in public? Environmentally friendly? or Could it be the thoughts of the inescapable chore that has to be taken care of every weekend, the folding that comes later on or the piles of unfolded laundry laying on the bed?

As for me it brings thoughts those special moments spent with my mom. Let me explain before you think I am some sort of weirdo.

Not long ago back home a laundry person came home and took care of all the laundry needs. In recent years that has started to change with the advent of washing machines.

When I was a child mom was a busy with her profession and as was the case with most doctors, patients needs came first. I grumbled and complained and whined when she had to go attend to her patients. My brother who much younger than me handled it much better than I ever did. This was how it was for a long time even when we went home for holidays. She did double duty then.

Then a few years ago my mom retired and things changed. But you know how it is when we visit home, moms take it upon themselves to pamper and spoil. When grandchildren are involved it only gets worse. She is as busy as ever only now the profession is not there to make demands on the time.

Mom follows a routine, early every morning she climbs the stairs with the load of dirty clothes up to the terrace to the laundry room. There she separates the whites from the colors and loads the washing machine, while the machine runs she takes a few of the clothes over to the wash basin to soap and rinse. This routine rarely changes. When I am home I usually follow her to the laundry room. The rest of the household is still in the final hours of their blissful sleep before the heat gets to them. During the summer (where I lived and of course my parents still do, heat is a constant the seasons being hot, hotter and hottest) the early morning hours are the best with a coolness in the air and the occasional breeze. Your head is clear and you actually think straight before the heat starts beating down with a vengeance.

Those early morning hours with my mother selfishly were to be mine and mine alone before the world started making demands on her time. As she hung clothes on the line I followed jabbering and trying to make myself useful. This time is when we had our conversations on different subjects, gossiped and/or just enjoyed quiet moments together. Every visit back home I eagerly look forward to those moments.

Here during the summer months I wash the clothes and hang them out to dry and they immediately bring those memories back. I relish the quiet, contemplative moments this simple chore of hanging clothes brings and maybe I understand a little bit why my mom prefers to do them early in the morning. DDs sometimes join me and the activity seems to calm them too. Hopefully years from now this mundane activity would give them the same simple pleasure as it does me.

Miss you Mom and Happy Mother's Day!

soaked lentils

Every culture/cuisine as we all know has their own version of rice and dal and it perhaps symbolizes the comfort food at its best. Few months ago on TV saw a Mexican Rice and beans dish cooked with whole pigeon peas and some sort of meat. I had puy lentils on hand and searched for a suitable recipe.

Mango-Avocado Salad (cut ripe mangoes, avocado with a dash of lemon juice)

This one on the Homesick Texan was the one that looked closest to what I had seen. I soaked the lentils for a couple of hours so they cook in the time the rice cooks.

The rice goes well with a side of Avocado and Mangoes. I was planning to call it salsa, DD2 correctly pointed out that it should be called salad.

Recipe Source: Mexican Rice from Homesick Texan
Mexican Rice with puy lentils with Mango-Avocado Salad
1. 1 cup of puy lentils soaked for a couple of hours and washed clean
2. 1 1/2 cups of rice
3. 4 1/2 cups of chicken broth (vegetable broth can be used)
4. 1/2 cup tomato chopped
5. 1 cup of onion chopped
6. 5 garlic cloves minced
7. 2 tbsp lime juice
8. 1 tsp black pepper
9. 1/2 tbsp red chili powder (adjust to taste)
10. 2-3 tsp oil or butter
11. 1/2 tbsp cumin powder
12. handful of chopped cilantro leaves [optional, I did not add them]
13. salt to taste

1. In a pressure cooker heat the oil saute the onions till soft, add the garlic and saute till they are browned
2. Add the pepper powder, cumin powder and red chili powder and mix it in
3. Add the tomatoes and let them cook till they are mushy
4. Add about 1/2 cup of the chicken broth, the soaked lentils and rice, switch of the heat and let it sit for an hour or two [See note if you cannot let it sit]
5. Turn on the heat, add the rest of the broth bring it to a boil and let the liquid reduce about 8-10 minutes
6. Add the lemon juice, salt, cilantro, close the lid, put the weight on and let it cook in medium low heat for 6-8 minutes (the time depends on how much liquid is left, do not wait for the whistle). Alternately once the liquid starts to boil the contents can be transferred to an electric cooker and cooked to completion.
7. Switch off the heat and let it sit for another 10 minutes before the lid is opened.

Serve with Mango-Avocado salad or a tomato salsa.

1. Soaking the lentils is required so they get cooked in the same time as the rice
2. Soak the rice ahead of time if you do not want to let them sit and marinate in the onion-tomato sauce
3. If you do not want to use pressure cooker, cook on stove top but make sure the rice does not stick and keep the heat at low.
4. Care while adding salt because the broth already has salt.

This will be an entry to MLLA - 23 an event hosted over at The Well-Seasoned Cook by Susan who is also the amazing inventor of this event.


  1. Avocado and Mango combination sounds nice. Have only heard of this very recently. Nice to see it in ur salad.

    Happy Mothers Day to you!

  2. So nice to read the laundry ritual with ur mom :) my mom is never satisfied with the dryer when she's here and says she misses the open air dring under the sun bcos the suns rays are purifying.

    I love Mexican rice and that salad sounds perfect for the summer.

    Happy mothers day indo

  3. I just bought a pack of puy letnitls yesterday for making it for salades, but i think i like more this rice way.
    Wow you live near a really greeen place i envy you as we live in a apartment.
    Oh yes i remember the days when our laundry was hanging like that, mostly on weekends, it was my sister and my duty to do the laundry on saturday and we really enjoyed it , because when we used to spread the clothes for drying we had chance to see ppl and they used to gossip to us :-)
    Happy Mother's day.

  4. What a sweet post! And the mexican rice looks fantastic.

  5. I just enjoyed the view but when I read your intro, i remembered what I read iast week and can't really forget since then - there was an article on modernising train toilets and it said the effect of having the current variety was that germs are dispersed as far as 15 km - and in India when are you ever 15 km away from a railway track unless you're in a remote area? Now in addition to the general dust and dirt, I have to live with the knowledge I'm covered with this variety too.

    On to more pleasant things - I too made an avocado salad today, with prawns. I love the Mexican rice that is served here in restaurants, but it doesn't have any lentils in it.

  6. Mexican rice looks super delicious and nutritious..even my mom do almost the same as ur mom do with the clothes..Happy Mother's Day..

  7. Right now, looking at the clothes drying outside, only one word comes to my mind "POLLEN"!!! Ahhhh!!!!:D

    Yeah, in India we used to help mom hang the clothes or play around them like hide and seek even though maid wahed them. Now my mom has a wahsr ans dryer in Bangalore and no backyard at all since they built 3 storey house using every inch of land. Sad but true. Enjoy. It was 90F y'day, loaded up with antihistamin to go out.

    Today "Ironman 2", got a Nikon Camera. My son left me a most beautiful little handmade card this morning, I almost cried!Daughter still sleeping! Oh well!! Can't have everything!!;D

    Love those Puy lentils, don't think I have cooked with them. Makes a nutritious meal, have fun.

    Happy Mother's day. Hugs.

  8. Happy Mothers Day! Its good we have something to thank and recollect and think of our mother's on this day, not that we don't do otherwise. I guess when we express love universally, it becomes more powerful.
    Liked reading your post this morning. I could almost feel the half dried laundry and feel the sun dried crisp laundry texture, something very nostalgic.
    The avocado salad, rice with lentils all sure look good.

  9. Your post made me so nostalgic! Yes, there are these quiet moments with your Mom that you always so much cherish, right. Happy mother's day to you -- don't cook too much today, just relax :)

    The puy lentils with rice looks delicious.. I am bookmarking this recipe right now.. I love the mexican flavors in it.

  10. What a sweet sweet post. Some simple things are what I miss doing with my mom, now that I don't have her with me.

    I am going to do the mango avocado soon. sounds delicious!! lentils and rice are always a great combo for one bowl meals.

  11. Happy Mothers Day to you!

  12. Great recipe!! Puy lentils have a real flavour and go very well with rice!!

  13. Happy Mother's Day ISG -- my mom had (still has) a clothesline too :)

  14. What a sweet post! made me so nostalgic... Happy Mother's day to you too!

    rice and lentils are a great combo and it works best for me...infact I am having it for lunch now :)

  15. ISG, its been long time, how are u. I know u have been doing some extensive gardening, i would like to check with u, as where did u get those fablous looking purple egg-plant seeds. they look amazing and well grown. I would like to plant some this year. Lets see.:) Thanks

  16. The view brought back memories of my childhood, except that we used to hang the clothes upstairs. For me kitchen was the place to chat with my mom, not at the clothes line though.
    Hope you had a good Mothers day. Loved the avocado mango salsa.

  17. Happy Mother's day!
    Me and my mom usually had a chat in the kitchen and I did help her with other chores too.
    In our community we cannot have a clothesline although sunny days are rare in Seattle. You are lucky to have this luxury.

  18. Thats a lovely way to wish on a mothre's day...U're vivid story is excellent and ofcourse the picture is wonderful kindling so many memories. Wishing you a very happy (belated) mothers day too Indo!

  19. Lovely post ISG ! Belated Mothers day wishes to you...the mexican rice and salad both look very inviting!

  20. I love laundry lines :D and I have one now,and so glad about it :-)

    Hope you and your mom had a great mom's day !Lovely rice and yumm salad

  21. Indo, your morning time with your mom is just so special.

    I'd love air drying laundry outside if somebody else does it for me. Right now, we air dry them indoors and I am going to stick to it even after buy a house. I'm too lazy and forgetful to remember the clothes outside. Indoor drying racks work in tandem with my laziness. heheee!

    The mexican rice sounds so yummy!! I'll give it a try sometime soon.

  22. ARCG, glad to see you here again, though I am not able to place you exactly (unable to lookup your profile). I buy the seeds from evergreen seeds.

  23. When I look on your first photo, I imagine a private and very dear ritual where the lovely breezes get the best of the laundry - and I long for a time when I can get out of this blasted condo into a real house with a properly green space to hang the wash. If you are a weirdo, then so am I. And I do not care.

    Thanks for your MLLA recipe. Sounds excellent. I do not enjoy my stash of French green lentils enough. This must change.

  24. Looks like a greeeen option to me!


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