30 January 2008

To My Dear Friend who likes fenugreek...

Frequently I practise my own ritual of being close to people whom I miss deeply through cooking something for myself that includes ingredients they like and favour. Weird? Maybe. But this is my ritual, and I’ll claim it to my personality. (I appreciate your understanding indeed *wink*)

When the frost is nippy and the wind is biting, I turn my back to the winter for a while. I don’t want the cold in my heart (and in my belly either *smiles*), so I drift away in warm memories of THE friend (if you read this - yes, I mean you, L.!!) and inspirational ideas in my kitchen. Rummaging through my piles of trusty recipes (I must confess the pile is PRETTY messy, I haven’t managed yet to organise my adorable recipes properly. You can shame me, sure – but I’m telling you it’s messy but PRETTY though *wink, wink, wink*) Eventually I spotted the recipe that featured both the warmth of Indian cuisine (perfect for a winter dinner in Russia) and THE friend’s favourite spice fenugreek* (splendid to call for more memories). So, without a slightest hesitation I got down to business, or to be more precise, to cooking…

***Lemon Rice***
(The recipe adapted from Anjum Anand’s site)

Serves 2-3 (or 1 in the course of a few days *nodding approvingly*)

To please your soul and belly you’ll need this:

350 g cooked Basmati rice
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
4 Tbsp lemon juice (or even more to taste)
4 tsp home-made peanut butter**
½ tsp mustard seeds
1 pinch fenugreek seeds
2-3 dried red chillies, whole or crushed (whichever you prefer)
1 packed tsp freshly chopped ginger
½ tsp turmeric powder
10 curry leaves, torn in half (I used dried curry leaves, crashed)
Salt to taste

…and this:

Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan and add both mustard and fenugreek seeds, stir-fry until the seeds start popping (use a lid to prevent the seeds flying out of your frying pan into the depth of your kitchen – somebody has to warn you, right?). Then add chillies, ginger, turmeric powder, peanut butter (preferably crunchy),curry leaves and salt and cook for 40 seconds. Finally add the lemon juice and stir fry for another minute before adding the rice. Please be careful not to break rice grains too much when you are stirring them in.

Serve hot.

I think you can easily garnish your dish with fresh flat parsley leaves, fresh mint (to multiply the re-freshing effect of ginger and citrus lemony tones present in the dish), or a cinnamon stick (to add a bit of the earthy taste), or steamed seedless raisins (to accent the spiciness of rice).

Anjum suggests serving Lemon Rice with vegetables or any seafood dish. To my mind chicken wouldn’t be bad either. But today I wanted to enjoy the refined simplicity of the beloved rice dish alone as it is (well, with one glass of red wine***). I had the memories of MY friend with me instead.

*For a hand-made peanut butter you’ll need roasted peanuts, a bit of salt, water (if needed) and a blender. Blend peanuts until the powder oozes oil (though it may take a while), add a small pinch of salt and water (in case if the paste is too thick). Here we go, home-made peanut butter at your disposal! So yummy!!

**There is NO DOUBT (isn’t it?) that a girl needs a glass of wine every now and then!

*** Did you know that the name fenugreek is from Latin ‘Greek hay’? I also learnt that desiccated fenugreek seeds were found in the tomb of Tutankhamen. Wow!


Cookiemouse said...

Old Tut obviously knew a good curry when he saw one and decided he needed to take some supplies to the other shore.

anya said...

Cookiemouse, you've definitely got the point! *smiles*

Flanboyant Eats said...

lemon rice? sounds interesting and good at the same time. I'll bookmark it :)

anya said...

Dear Bran,

thanks for stopping by!

Your blog is my web read this weekend!! *smiles*

anya said...

Dear BREN,

I feel embarrassed that I messed up your name. Ohh...*wink, wink, wink* Oh Gosh, why can't I edit my own comments? :-)