Monday, December 31, 2018

Kerala Ghee Rice (Neichoru) in Instant Pot - Using saute mode

Happy New Year! Wishing you all a very prosperous and peaceful year ahead.

Ghee Rice is one of those recipes that is easy to make, loved by almost everybody and very very tasty. An Instant Pot makes an easy job of this recipe with a jiffy cleanup. While I do not use the Instant Pot's saute setting for a lot of heavy duty sauteing like Biryani and the like, for something like this neichoru the Instant Pot saute setting turns out to be just perfect.

I saw this recipe on Sneha Nair's Masala Trail cooking show on Amazon Prime and the immediate thought was to try this out in the Instant Pot. Being the holiday season when everyone is at home some special dishes have to be made don't you think? If you want the youtube video it is here.

Any recipe that is prefixed with Malabar in it is tasty, mouth watering and the ingredients simple but extremely flavorful. This ghee rice is no different. With just a few simple whole spices this dish comes together pretty quickly. Served with a side of chicken curry or egg curry, Sunday lunch can't be any more grand :)

I am completely besotted with my Instant Pot, makes cooking a lot easier, what formally would have required a pressure cooker. Don't get me wrong I love my pressure cooker but my pressure cooker would require to baby sit and pay attention to the time the pressure is coming out and how many whistles etc., While in this Instant Pot it is put and forget it.

Pair the ghee rice with some roasted chicken, it will make your meal all that more special. The recipe for pan roasted chicken is here.

Put the Instant Pot in saute mode (normal) and add in the ghee and when hot add the whole spices followed by the green chilies.
Add in the raisins and cashews and when the raisins start to plump up add in the onions and saute till they start to turn brown.
Drain the soaking rice and add to the onion mixture and mix it in.
Add the required amount of water, close the lid and the put the valve in sealed position.
After the cooking time is done the setting goes to warm, leave it there till the pressure releases naturally.
Once opened fluff up the rice.

Kerala Ghee Rice - Neichoru
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes
  1. 1 cup of Jeeraga Samba Rice or Kalijeera Rice
  2. 1 1/2 cups of water
  3. 1/2 cup of red onion sliced
  4. 4 slit green chilies (seeds removed)
  5. 1 tbsp of ginger
  6. 1 1/2 tbsp of ghee
  7. 1/4 cup of golden raisins
  8. 1/2 cup of chopped cashews
  9. salt to taste
  10. whole spices : 2 small sticks of cinnamon, 5 cloves, 3 cardamoms(i did not use)
  1. Wash the rice and let it soak for at least 20 minutes or so. *
  2. Put the Instant Pot in saute mode and Adjust the heat setting to Normal (this has 3 settings less, normal and more). When the Instant Pot flashes Hot add the ghee and let it get hot.
  3. Now add in the whole spices, followed by the green chilies, let cook for a few seconds.
  4. Now add in the raisins and let it plump up, followed by the cashews and let it saute for a minute. **
  5. Add in the sliced onions and saute till they start to turn slightly brown.
  6. Add the ginger and let it saute for a minute more.
  7. Add in the drainer rice and mix it into the onion mixture. Now add in the required amount of water. In my case I am adding a little over 1 cup of water.
  8. Place the lid and put make sure the steam release valve is in the sealed position and use the manual setting (some Instant Pot it is called Pressure Cook setting) and put it to cook for 6 minutes***.
  9. The Instant Pot will go to the warming mode once the cooking is done, let it sit in that setting for about 15 minutes or so. By this time the pressure would have subsided.
  10. Open the lid and fluff up the rice.
  11. Note:*If the rice is soaked the amount of water to be cooked can be reduced, so for jeeraga samba rice add 1 cup of water instead of the normal 1 1/2 cup of water.
  12. **I added the onions before the raisins and the cashews.
  13. ***If the rice is soaked, for Basmati Rice 4 minutes is sufficient but for other kinds of rice set to 6 minutes.

Like what you are reading? Subscribe!

The Week That Was!

This time of the year is best spent with family. Around this time of the year is when most of us start making resolutions for the upcoming year. We keep up with it or not is another matter altogether.

Classical Stretch
I have shared about Classical Stretch DVD by Miranda Esmonda-White. I did with some regularity for a while but doing the same routines got boring and turning on the DVD at a certain time all needed extra resolve. It is much more easier to turn on the TV and follow along at a certain time of the day everyday. It is on Maryland Public Television at 7:00AM everyday. Breaking the monotony of the same routines from the DVD these are different workouts everyday. I try to do the stretches and it has help loosen up my muscles. If you are looking for a low impact and a effective way of loosening up or having a regular stretching schedule this might be something you want to look up. It is telecast on a lot of public television stations around the country there should be some station carrying it wherever you are.

Maryland Farm and Harvest
The other show that I try to watch and if I miss an episode I usually catch it online is the Maryland Farm and Harvest show. Watching the greenery that is the object of the show is not only soothing but very uplifting. I bet it is not just me but most people. I know first that growing food is a hard and back breaking without the economic benefits of many other professions. If you get a chance watch the show or catch it online. Also resolve to get to know your farmer better this year. You won't be disappointed and your health and body will thank you.

So last week being Christmas, the young one in the family got themselves each a gift. We are not into Christmas gift giving since we don't celebrate the holiday but who does not like getting gifts.

Books for Kids (not so young)
Elements Of Investing
If you have a high school aged kid who is interested in making money and learning about investing in the stock market, this might be the book you would want them to read. DD2 is into investing and this was a perfect for her. I am hoping she will read this book and make wise decisions while investing her money. Starting them early and teaching how to save and invest is probably essential to make them money wise and also to make them realize how hard it is to make money.

Your Money Or Your Life
This book is for late teen or young adult who has started making money on their own. Every body wants to achieve financial independence at an young age so that your life does not end up being a series of jobs that you do and live paycheck to paycheck, not really enjoying what you do. Start thinking about how you want to achieve financial independence as early as possible.

Like what you are reading? Subscribe!

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Rustic Ginger Shrimp Masala

DD2 loves shrimp in any form and she always orders that while going to restaurants and the rest of us enjoy it as well. Most restaurants cook the gravy or the curry separately and add in the chicken, fish or shrimp later, even in high end restaurants at least that's what I think they do based on the taste. Well anyway while chicken curry cooked this way does not taste as good for shrimp this kind of cooking works perfectly.

It takes not more than 5-6 minutes max to cook shrimp and if they are cooked longer than they tend to become rubbery and not so good. So the bit about the restaurant way of cooking is to inform that their method works perfectly for shrimp recipes methinks while chicken curries give the feeling that we are eating old curry.

So for shrimp curries get the sauce to almost the final stage of cooking before you add the shrimp. This method works perfectly for me to keep the shrimp from getting rubbery and tough.

Keep the onions, ginger and garlic ready. In a pan heat oil and add the seasonings.
Add the curry leaves followed by the onions. Saute the onions till they start to turn brown.
Add the ginger and garlic and saute for a minute. Add in the spice powders and mix.
Now add the tomatoes and saute till the tomatoes become mushy. Continue to cook till the desired level of thickness is reached and oil comes out of the sides.
Add in the shrimp and cook for another 4-5 minutes till the shrimp is cooked.

Rustic Ginger Shrimp Masala
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes
  1. 15-20 medium sized shrimp
  2. 1/2 cup of chopped red onions
  3. 1/2 tbsp of grated fresh ginger
  4. 4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  5. 1/4 - 1/2 cup of finely chopped tomatoes*
  6. 2 tsp of turmeric powder
  7. 2 tsp of chili powder
  8. 1/2 tsp of cumin powder
  9. 1 tsp of pepper powder
  10. seasonings: mustard seeds, 1/4 tsp fennel seeds, 2-3 sprigs of curry leaves
  11. salt to taste
  12. 2-3 tsp of oil
  13. Note:keep the tomatoes to the lower side if you want to keep it on the dry side.
  1. Heat a wide mouthed pan and heat the oil and add in the mustard seeds and fennel seeds and when the mustard seeds stat to pop add in the curry leaves.
  2. Add in the onions and saute till it starts to turn brown, at this point add in the garlic and ginger and saute for a minute, be careful not to burn.
  3. Add in all the powders and mix, now add the tomatoes and saute till the tomatoes become mushy.
  4. Add salt and let the tomatoes cook till you desired dryness level is reached. you will see oil leaving the sides.
  5. Add in the shrimp and cook for 4-5 minutes more till the shrimp has become pink and curled up. Add more curry leaves and turn of the heat immediately.

Serve with steamed rice.

Like what you are reading? Subscribe!

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

The Week That Was!

Last week was fairly busy one so not too much of time was spent on the normal mindless pursuits.

We have Comcast as our cable, internet and telephone provider. We managed to live most of the last 15 years ever since DD turned 3 and started going to school without cable television. We had basic TV with just the local channels and of course PBS. PBS kept the children entertained with their children's programming and in the evenings me with all their BBC TV shows and their news shows. When we moved to the farm the only provider available was Comcast and the cheapest was to get the bundle. Even with all these numerous channels I still turn to PBS to watch their shows so this was a show but as is usually the case I normally watch an episode after a few weeks have gone by. Mostly I can find the rest of the episodes online. This time Comcast had the other episodes on demand.

The Syndicate

Online Reading
FIRE plans gone wrong! Have you heard of FIRE? Financial Independence Retire Early, a movement that has a lot of adherents. I have nothing against Financial Independence in fact that should be a goal from early on but the Retire Early part is where I disagree on. I will talk about this in subsequent blog articles.

When We Eat, or Don’t Eat, May Be Critical for Health
We had some relatives stay with us during the summer. One of them had only salad or fruits for dinner, sometimes sprinkled with spiced peanuts or boiled peanuts. So within the month they stayed with us we got onto the salad eating band wagon. I love eating sugary things which makes it almost impossible to keep out those extra calories from sugar away at night and almost impossible after a big meal. Salad has never been one of my favorite things but greens with some crunchy carrots, cucumbers and fruits like apple or pear sliced into it along with an occasional Avocado or a few grapes and some pickled jalapenos, eating salad wasn't all that bad. I also realized after eating the salad I was rarely hungry or longing for a huge dinner. I also started eating the salad earlier in the day and try to be done by 6'0 clock and most mornings most days I don't get to breakfast before 7 or 8 AM and sometimes as late as 9 AM. So unbeknownst to me I was following the 12 hour fast. I realized those bulges in the midsection and upper thighs was slowly disappearing. Along the way I also noticed that I was eating a little bit more during lunch and also eating a few more sweets without the guilt. I have been doing this for a little under 2 months and it has been great and last week I started to read about the 12 hour diet.

Washington Post - Business Section
Tech Concerns with concerns for ethics drive new kind of employee activism

If you have wondered what employees think of how companies have been using them to create the kind of products they are creating.

Like what you are reading? Subscribe!

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Bell Pepper Tomato Masala

DH's cousin and her husband visited us for a month in the summer, when just in time for the busiest time of the year in the farm. Did I say it was great to have them around. Both of are very active people and did a lot of helping around the farm and we harvested far more vegetables than we ever did.

The biggest and fun side benefit of all is that she is also a very good no fantastic cook so we enjoyed some new and creative recipes. In the summer when we were harvesting bell pepper, this recipe was made for a quick dinner. The difference between the homegrown bell peppers and the store bought ones is that the homegrown ones do not have as much moisture so they have a much more concentrated flavor and goes without saying they are much more tastier. We also had home grown jalapenos and tomatoes being harvested at the same time and nothing can compete for taste with that combination of all those fresh vegetables.

I am not someone who eats uncooked bell peppers. They make me gassy. Once they are cooked I have not experienced any adverse effects thankfully. Since bell peppers don't need to be cooked completely adjust the time according to your needs. The time I have is for the bell pepper to be completely cooked but still maintaining a slight crunch.

Here is the recipe in pictures,

Cut the onions, jalapenos and garlic and the tomatoes.
Heat the oil and add in the onion, jalapenos and garlic and saute till the onions are turning brown.
Add in the tomatoes and let them cook. Add in bell peppers and let cook for 4-5 minutes more or till done.

Bell Pepper in Tomato Masala
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 - 20minutes
  1. 2 cups of cleaned and chopped into 1 inch pieces
  2. 4-5 jalapenos or spicy green chilies, de-seeded and chopped
  3. 1 1/2 cups of finely diced tomatoes
  4. 2 garlic cloves roughly chopped/ pounded
  5. 1 tsp grated ginger (optional)
  6. 2 tsp of red chili powder (depending on the heat of the green chilies)
  7. 2 tsp oil*
  8. salt to taste
  1. In a wider mouthed pan add oil and add in the onions and jalapenos, saute till the onions become translucent.
  2. Add the garlic and ginger if doing so and saute for a minute.
  3. Add in the tomatoes and let them cook till they get mushy and completely broken down. Add salt and chili powder if doing so and mix.
  4. Add the chopped bell pepper and in low heat cook for 4-5 minutes**. Turn off the heat.
  5. *The amount of oil depends on your preference, a half a tbsp of oil will give a restaurant style shiny but oily gravy.
  6. **The amount of cooking time depends on your desired level of cooking for the bell peppers. I prefer a completely cooked but slightly crunchy bell pepper. So check to make sure the peppers don't get mushy.
Serve with soft chapathis or rotis.

Like what you are reading? Subscribe!