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Vegetable rice yeffna special
Vegetable rice
1 large (or 2 small) onions
1 cup of basmati rice (serves two people)
1 generous pinch of jeera (cumin) seeds
3 teaspoons of garam masala
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil (e.g. sunflower)
1 generous handful of frozen mixed veg
The frozen mixed veg should be the type that you find already prepared for you in bags in the supermarket freezer compartments. The one I recommend is the one with small baby carrots, peas, sweet corn, green-beans and maybe chunks of green and red pepper. You might not find bags with all of the above in them - so it doesn't matter if (say) the bag doesn't contain pepper or green beans. Just make sure you DON'T get the mixed veg where the sweet corn are the baby sweet corn cobs and DON'T get ones with broad beans or chopped carrot. If it has sweet corn in it - make sure it's the juicy sweet corn kernels, if it has beans in it - make sure it's green beans (long, thin dark-green stalk things) and if it's got carrot in it - make sure it's whole baby carrots. Also - the peas should be peas - not mange-tout.


Make sure the rice is washed of all starch thoroughly. We do this by pouring the rice into a sieve and placing the sieve into a bowl and placing the bowl in the sink with the cold water tap pouring into it. We let the water run (be careful not to have powerful jet - as this is wasteful of water) for a few mins - and then let the rice drain by balancing the sieve on top of the small cup that you used to measure the rice in the first place:
Whilst the rice was being washed - you have a few mins to peel and chop the onions coarsely. Slice the onions along their grain - so you end up with long thin bits rather than fat chunky squares of onion. Then prepare the pot on medium-to-high flame - with the oil in it. When the oil is hot - throw in the generous pinch of cumin seeds and wait until you hear them fizzle and pop before you throw in the onions.
Fry the onions for several minutes - stirring frequently - until the onions are becoming translucent. They shouldn't really be browned for this recipe - unlike many other Indian dishes. So - lower the flame slightly to keep the onions cooking without burning/browning.
Now it's at this point that I don't have a picture - but what you do next is to add the frozen mixed veg into the pot. you can do this straight from the freezer - in fact it's better to do so - just scoop up a large generous handful (or two if you like) and drop it into the pot. Because the veg is cold - and the pot is hot - you will hear a delightful shhhhhhhhh sound as the ice begins to melt. If the veg is stuck in a frozen lump - then use a wooden spoon to gently break it apart - and stir around until all the veg is separated. Immediately add the garam masala to the pot and stir around. The smell should be very aromatic by now!
After the veg and onion masala mixture has been stirred for a few minutes - turn up the flame to high and add the drained rice. Stir it around gently - kind of like folding it with your wooden spoon - and then as the cold rice starts to make a hissing noise - add just over one-and-a-half times of water than the rice you measured in the first place. others will probably say exactly twice - I say one and a half times. In fact - the method I use is to stick my index finger into the pot - the distance between the surface of the rice and the surface of the water should be halfway up the first segment of your index finger. Just above your base of your fingernail. With practice - you will know just by looking into the pot.
Put the lid on the pot (no vents) and make sure the flame is really fierce - and within a few moments the water inside will be boiling violently:
Whilst it's coming to the boil on the fierce flame - prepare a low-flame burner on your hob - try to get the smallest possible flame. Then - when the rice pot is making a loud noise of boiling - immediately transfer the pot to the low flame and listen for the boiling rice to calm down to a quiet gentle simmer.
Let the rice simmer for around 15 minutes. Whatever you do, DO NOT KEEP TAKING THE LID OFF TO SEE HOW IT'S DOING. Wait until 15 mins are up - and then take the lid off and give it one turn over with your wooden spoon - and then place the lid back on - but with a gap so that the rice can vent. Turn the flame right off at this point - and let the rice sit there for 5 minuets before serving.

When it's done - it should be fluffy (but slightly moist due to the onion/oil) and aromatic - with delightful chunks of vegetable to provide extra flavor and texture.

Preparation Time: 15 min Serves: 2
Recipe Origin: India
Submitted by:
yeffna poonacha

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