Monday, February 14, 2011

Sweet Pulao infused with Mango pulp + Coconut milk - Topped with Bing Cherries, nuts, raisins, black currents. For side - Spicy Beetroot+Orange salad with Kalonji Tadka - A Special Indianized Valentine Treat

This year for Valentine's Day I  wanted to cook something more Desi or say Indianized Valentine Dish. I came up with Sweet Rice / Pulao and  spicy fruity salad. I cooked Sweet pulav  based on the Maharashtrian Naralee Bhat /Sakhar Bhat / kesari Bhat recipe, it is sweet coconut rice prepared during Narli Poornima. This Valentine special - Sweet rice is infused with Mango pulp and coconut milk. I added spices to make it aromatic and generously garnished with raisins,almonds, fresh coconut, carrots and Bing cherries. Salad  was  made with beetroot and fresh oranges, added a special zest with Kalonji + green chili Tadka. Both dishes reflected luxurious deep red and yellow color glow to match the feeling of affection. It was  a delicious and tasty treat for Valentine's Day. (Scroll down to enjoy few clicks of red miniature roses.)
Note :- Recipe published on 06/12/11. 

  • 2 Cup Basmati Rice
  • 1 Cup Mango Puree/Pulp + 1 Tb.spoon (used canned)
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut milk  + 1 Tb.spoon  (used Renuka brand)
  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 1 Cup fresh grated coconut
  • 20-25 - Fresh Bing cherries
  • 1 Cup - carrots cut into disc shape
  • 1.5 Tb.spoon Ghee + 4  more for roasting raisins, black currents, almonds, carrots
  • 1 Tb.spoon - Black currents
  • 2 Tb.spoon - Golden raisins
  • 3 Tb.spoon - slivered almonds.
Whole Spices :-
  • 5 Cloves
  • 3 whole Cardamom
  • 1 Bay leaf - ( 2 inch long)
  • 5 Nagkesar pieces ( in absence - use 1.5 inch cinnamon stick)
  • 1 Star anise
Ghee roasted ingredients and fresh coconut

Cooking process for  pressure cooker cooked Sweet Pilaf / Pulav.

A)  Pre-preparations :-
  1. Rinse and soak rice for 20-25 minutes.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon ghee in a small skillet, add sliced carrots; stir fry for 2-3 minutes on a medium low heat. Do it in two  batches. spread them on paper towel and keep it aside.
  3. Wipe out skillet with paper towel, moderately heat  one more teaspoon  Ghee, add 1 tablespoon black currents - quickly stir for 15-20 seconds and  place them on the paper towel.
  4. Add little more ghee  and add  golden raisins, 1 tablespoon at a time - quickly saute for 15-20 seconds or until they puff up. Act quick to avoid burn. Drain raisins on paper towel.
  5. Wipe out all ghee from skillet with paper towel, add 1 teaspoon  fresh ghee and roast slivered almonds until they turn light golden color - spread it on paper towel and keep it aside.
  6. Cut each Bing cherry in two or four pieces - Discard seeds.
B)  Pressure Cooker cooking process :-
  1. Heat 1.5 tablespoon ghee in pressure cooker (minimum 4 quart size). Add all whole spices - sizzle for 20-25 seconds. Pour one cup mango pulp, allow to simmer for three minutes. Add half cup coconut milk + One cup sugar - wait until it starts to boil. Add soaked rice (just rice no water )- stir  and simmer for two minutes.
  2. Now add 2.5 cups water, 1/2 cup fresh grated coconut - mix well and allow it to simmer.Once it starts to boil - close the pressure cooker lid and wait until it blows first whistle. Reduce the heat to medium low and allow to cook for another 7-8 minutes. During this time it is ok if it whistles second time. Finally reduce heat to lowest heat setting  and leave pressure cooker on stove  for another 7-8 minutes. Shut off the heat, allow  it to cool down.
  3. In a large mixing bowl combine rice with pan roasted  carrots, black currents, golden raisins, almonds. Now add remaining fresh grated coconut, 1 tablespoon coconut milk, mango pulp and gently mix with wooden spatula. Pulp and coconut milk will bring glaze and moistness also it will enhance  fresh  mango aroma. Finally add bing cherries, decorate your way and serve. You may also add fresh mango cubes for final garnish.This is great sweet rice/pulao dish for festivals and parties.

Preparation- Spicy Beetroot  Orange salad

Peel and thinly slice one medium size beetroot into half an inch size pieces.(1 cup yield) Peel one orange, remove all white pith and membrane from orange - slice into half an inch thin pieces. Keep it aside.
Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a small skillet. Add 1/2 teaspoon Kalonji seeds - sizzle for 10 seconds. Quickly add chopped green chilies - saute for 15 seconds. Now add 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, saute for 30 seconds. Mix sliced beetroot; cook and stir over medium-high heat about 7-8 minutes until  tender, you may add little water to avoid burning. Sprinkle very little salt and 1/4 teaspoon sugar. make sure all water content is evaporated. Allow to cool.  When you are ready to serve, toss in  orange slices, gently combine and serve.

Pictures of miniature rose plant that I picked up from Walgreen for Valentine's Day.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Fresh Flowers in Vase - A soothing spot in the home. (Year 2010 collection)

Flowers are nature's beautiful creation. Glimpse of flowers mesmerizes every human being.  I strongly believe that flowers enhance peace,  love and positive energy in the home and there by stimulate emotional and physical healing. I love to secure a little spot in the home with fresh flower vase. Here in USA we have beautiful choice of fresh flowers available in grocery shops...just spending four to eight dollars one can create nice flower arrangement..adding some stems, leaves  and bushes found around home adds beauty to flower arrangement. Last year I started to post pictures of these arrangements at the right corner of the blog. I love this ritual. In this post I am collecting all last years captured flower arrangements...Enjoy!!

Summer time creation - flowers,leaves from patio garden (July)

Little more enhancement to above arrangement. (July)

Just two carnations from pot surrounded with pot  grown herbs
Parsley, Mint flowers, random leaves from woods.

Orange Roses surrounded with wild tiny white flowers from back yard. (October)

Two carnations and one mum from pot with green stems from
backyard surrounded with Sweetgum tree seed pods
except that violet  flower stem..all collected from backyard.