Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Gajar Matar Pulav ( Carrot- Peas Pilaf)

When I first visited Peoria, a small city in Illinois, I had no idea and no wish to call it home. I was happy and content living in Los Angeles, who wouldn't be? Sunshine, palm trees swaying to the breeze, everything close to home, a ton of friends. Life was great, like a jigsaw puzzle, all the pieces in their  place. 
The only thing that made me unhappy was that M had to travel  to work and  S and I missed him, a lot. Weekends were full of chores and that was not what I wanted. I wanted us to enjoy the beautiful weather and be together.
Well, I got my wish, almost........... we moved out of sunny LA and plonk, in the middle of cold city which looked and felt strange and with no friends, no smiling faces. Then I met a friendly girl and we  liked one another, but there was a snag, she was  going to India for a 2 month holiday. sigh!
Much as I had wanted this, this wasn't the exact thing I wanted. Make sense?  I felt just as jumbled as the sentence. 
We faced our very first 'snowy' winter, that in itself was not as bad ( huh?!!), the snow was a novelty, but as the snow stopped and we waited for spring, time hung heavily on our hands. S and I would long for fair weather when we could go out for walks. On one such walk I made a new friend. She was playing with her son, who looked my son's age or a tad older. I walked over and we smiled at one another and then things fell into place. Like a jigsaw. 
That day, it felt like spring. Things 'clicked' and  soon, just like my LA days, we formed a group and started meeting everyday. Potlucks, mixed lunches ( bring what you have and let's enjoy types)  became  necessary. Tea and tea time snacks, baking bread and  talking about anything and everything became  order of the day.
Time no longer hung heavily on our hands, the boys play together or at least in the same room without any upheavals and we are happy once again! 
On one such potluck I made this gajar matar pilaf ( Carrot- Peas Pilaf). It is pure simplicity and tastes good. A minimum list of ingredients and comes together quickly and looks colorful. 
I serve this pilaf with kadhi and pickles (or papad) 

You need:
1 Cup long grained Rice- Basmati
2 Tbsp. Ghee
2 Cloves
1 tsp Cumin seeds
2 Carrots, peeled and cubed
1/2 Cup Green Peas ( fresh or frozen)
Salt to taste

Wash the rice in 3-4 changes of water, top with fresh water and keep aside for at least 20 minutes. Drain completely before using.

In a thick bottomed vessel, heat ghee on a medium high heat, add the cloves and cumin seed

Saute till the seasoning sizzles

Add the vegetables and then the rice and stir briefly to ensure the seasoning coats the vegetables and rice.** 

Add 2 cups water, salt to taste and cover and cook till rice is cooked through and is fluffy ( each grain is cooked and separate)

OR, I usually after ** this stage, transfer all the contents to the rice cooker and let it cook while I start on something else. Totally hassle free! 

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