This week at One Hot Stove, it is "Q for quick"! So here is a quick post featuring my favorite quick meal. It maximizes flavor and nutrition while minimizing effort and prep time. Mixed vegetables, lentils and rice come together, and are flavored by tamarind and a ready-made spice mix. The whole thing virtually cooks itself in the pressure cooker and you are in for a treat!
Bisibele rice is a specialty from the Southern Indian state of Karnataka, featuring lentils, rice, vegetables and spices cooked together slowly and lovingly into a festive dish. In my quick khichdi, I use bisibele spice mix to approximate those flavors in a fraction of the time and make faux bisibele rice. Here's how...
1. Prepare 2 cups of mixed vegetables, cut in medium dice. Here, I have used green beans, frozen peas and carrots. Other vegetables that work well are zucchini, eggplant, cauliflower, lima beans etc.
2. Prepare 1 tbsp thick tamarind paste. If you use tamarind pulp, the paste is prepared by soaking 1 heaping tsp of tamarind pulp in a couple of tbsp of hot water, then squeezing out the pulp and discarding the solids. If you are using tamarind concentrate, you can directly use 1 tsp of it instead of the paste.
2. Measure out 1/3 cup rice and 1/3 cup green (unhulled) split moong dal.
3. Have some ready-made MTR brand bisibele masala handy. It is available in Indian and international grocery stores, or in online stores.
4. Other prep: chop half a small onion.
5. Now, in the body of the pressure cooker, add 1 tbsp oil. Make the tempering with: 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, chopped onion, 5-6 curry leaves, pinch of asafoetida.
6. Saute for a couple of minutes, then add 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, 1/2 tsp red chili powder, 2 tsp bisibele powder (or to taste) and salt to taste.
7. Stir in vegetables, dal, rice, tamarind and 3 cups water. Pressure-cook for the amount of time that you normally need for cooking rice (in my superhuman efficient cooker, it takes one mere whistle).
8. Serve piping hot, with pickle and yogurt on the side, if desired. Potato chips/ papads take this dish to a whole new level :) When I have time, I throw together a pachadi to serve with this khichdi.
MTR's bisibele masala is extremely flavorful and authentic (to the extent that I am able to recognize authenticity of Kannada dishes, at any rate). And no, they are not paying me anything to say this, this endorsement comes straight from the heart. Quick "bisibele" rice is stewy and soupy, and may not be much by way of good looks, but it is the one dish that I make time and again. It has sustained me through countless busy nights, and through rough times at work, and through times of illness. Last week, it fed V when he was unable to eat anything else after dental surgery. Now I have made it so many times, I can make it in my sleep!
Got a favorite flavorful quick recipe? If it has vegetables in it, and Indian or Indian-inspired flavors, you can send it in for the Q of Indian Vegetables!