Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Quick Pulav and giving Thanks.

Earlier this moth, we moved (yes, A-G-A-I-N!) this time to another state- in a hurry. I packed and moved in under 2 weeks.
When I look back, I keep asking myself, did I really do that? 
4 years, all boxed up in a week. Furniture sold or trashed. Things dear to my heart ( read, anything that is used in the kitchen, like my beloved cast iron pan, my pizza stone and assorted stuff  passed on to friends) and one afternoon, just like that, we boarded the flight to start a new adventure in sunny Florida.

It was really difficult saying good bye to Dallas. I had a good friend circle, the location was SUPER convenient and the Indian stores! Oh those fabulous BIG Indian stores with anything and everything any Indian kitchen needs! I miss that the most
I still recoil in horror and dismay at the sad vegetables in the Indian store here, it pains me to see just one or two brands of Basmati or Sona masoori rice sacks and the prices, let's not even go there. Suffice to say, I doubt I will ever get a big fat bunch of Methi / Fenugreek leaves for 50 cents or even vegetables at a reasonable rate, here you pick a vegetable and they put a price to it, not that I object, but I like to know the price before I buy.

But there is always a silver lining, always. 

The weather, its perfect, right now. 
And then there is this view, 

I love waking up to this view everyday. 
I love to sip my tea and watch the sun rise, I just sit and gaze.
I love how there's plenty of natural light that fills the rooms and makes them bright.

We moved here just as it was Diwali. Which is my favorite time of the year. But this year, it was all a mess.

No Diwali lights ( well, just 4-5 diyas), no goodies made, no traditions observed. We had very little stuff  and that was a dampener. 
What is Diwali without chivda, chakli, ladoo, shev, karanji, shankarpali, right?  

My parents knew that and they stepped in! 

Just in time for Diwali, on the day !

A whopping big parcel which made the Fed Ex guy bend, was delivered to our door at 10:30 am. 

We lugged it upstairs and waited. It was SO difficult not to rip the tape and just take in all the goodies inside, but I waited, knowing that li'll S would be thrilled to receive a big parcel from his beloved Ajji and Ajja. Those li'll hands got busy the moment he spied the parcel. 

A parcel from my parents is never just one thing, the box was packed and bulging. Among the goodies nestled books, 'kesar veldoda syrup', kokum agal, an apron and a must have in most home, 'Kalnirnay' Calendar and so much more! 

I was thrilled to get this cookbook. I have seen this book, 'Annapurna' and 'Ruchira' gifted to almost every new bride. 
The recipes are wonderful and you will find many scattered across blogs. 

The day our boxes arrived, we were super busy and late at night, all I had the courage to whip up was this quick pulav from 'Annapurna' with the addition of vegetables.

It is tasty and flavorful and a great option for a lunch box, a potluck or to make on a day you are expecting guests. Pair it with some raita / koshimbir or a veg. gravy and papad + pickles. 

For the 3 of us, I used

1 cup Basmati Rice (wash in 3-4 changes of water and soak in fresh water) 
1 Onion, finely chopped
1 small piece Cinnamon
2 Green Cardamoms
1 Bay Leaf
* 1 Cup chopped vegetables ( My addition, I used Carrots, french beans and some peas)

For the Masala Paste:
2 small Garlic cloves
A small knob Ginger
A Hefty pinch Red Chilies Powder
1 Tomato
2 pinches / 1/4 tsp Fennel  /saunf seeds

Grind the Masala Paste ingredients and set aside.
Cook the rice (ensure that each grain is separate)  and spread it on a plate to cool.
Chop the vegetables in small and equal sized pieces and microwave with a couple of tbsp. of water to cook.
Heat ghee in a deep pot /pan.
Add in the spices (bay leaf, cinnamon and cardamom)
Once the spices smell aromatic, add the onion and cook till its is soft and light brown.
Add the masala paste and cook till it smells good ( basically the raw garlic smell must go away)
Add the vegetables and rice and mix gently.
Serve with papad + Pickles or a raita. 


Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! 

I know I am thankful for a LOT! Most of all, for my wonderful parents for their thoughtfulness and love! 

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