A simple one pot kind of meal, with some nice roasted peanuts, a dash of spice and some nice smoky flavor.
I am in no mood for tomato rice today. I want some wine, a good dessert, a movie like Pretty Woman and a quiet couch corner. Pretty Woman makes me feel good and my heart flutters like it did the first time I saw it many moons back, makes me believe in fairy tales all over again, and did I say I love Richard Gere, Julia Roberts? Roy Orbison’s intoxicating songs have even got my kids hooked on to him, making me play them over and over again in my car. If you haven’t heard the legendary Roy Orbison’s Only the Lonely, Leah, Crying, The Actress and of course The Pretty Woman, you have got to hear them.The recipe today does not reflect my mood. There is nothing romantic about tomato rice; it is spicy, bold and a cross between the Mexican rice with smoky flavor and the spicy tangy tomato rice cooked in the southern parts of India.
While I prepare to curl up and relax you might want a bite of the spice and the crunch. It makes a meal by itself with some salad and Raita (spiced yogurt with some veggies and herbs), or a nice vibrant side dish.
Cumin flavored Peanut and Tomato Rice
- 1.5 cups uncooked rice, basmati or long grained
- 1/2 cup roasted and peeled roasted peanuts
- 3 tablespoons ghee (or pure sesame oil which adds a nice aroma)
- 5 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup chopped onions
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/3 – 1/2 cup thick tomato paste + 1.5 cups water
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro/coriander chopped
- 2.5 tablespoons lightly roasted cumin powder,
or as per taste
- 5-6 fresh hot chili pepper, like Thai-Bird, thinly sliced
- generous amount of fresh lemon juice/as per taste
Cook the rice as per instruction; make sure they do not go mushy. The grains need to stay a little firm, long and separate.
Heat ghee in thick bottomed pan; add the red pepper flakes, garlic and onions and fry till the onions soften, for about 5-7 minutes.
Combine the tomato paste and the water. Add it to the pan. Add salt and simmer for about 12-15 minutes at medium heat, uncovered. The entire soupy thing should be reduced to a thick consistency. Switch off the heat.
Add the peanuts and the cooked rice. Combine everything together well, till you see no white rice. Switch on the heat and stir it around for about 5 minutes at low heat. Add the fresh cilantro/coriander, fresh chili pepper and the roasted cumin powder. Stir everything together carefully so as not to break the rice grains. Cover till ready to serve.
Sprinkle the lemon juice and toss the rice just before you serve. Garnish with fresh cilantro and more chili pepper if you want.