The word 'Brunch' is a portmanteau of breakfast and lunch. The brunch aka the late morning / the early afternoon meal originated in England in 1800's. And as the name indicates, an array of breakfast and lunch dishes are served in a buffet style during a brunch session. I usually don't do brunches in my home as no one is ready to give up their early morning breakfast for various reasons and besides, I don't have the patience to come up with a feast in the name of a brunch on a weekend. I know you can cook one dish when you don't have company, serve it late and call it a brunch but some how an image of a wide range of colorful and yummy dishes comes to my mind whenever I think of brunch. And so I am talking about those kind of brunches and I don't do them on a normal weekend.
I had to come up with some 'Weekend Brunch' ideas for this weeks' marathon and being a south Indian, chose to go with a 'rice' dish on the first day. Rice plays a major role in Indian cuisine and especially down south, every meal, including a festive one is built around rice. A rice dish would definitely be the star of the meal if an Indian style buffet is planned and here is one simple yet flavorful 'rice' idea for that kind. This can be a part of a wide range buffet or when served with just some yogurt rice will make a wholesome, filling meal.
This rice uses a spice powder which adds flavor and aroma to the dish. It is simple to make and can be prepared ahead in large quantity and stored in an airtight container. This is a versatile powder and can be used to prepare rice dishes like these and also spice up gravy style vegetable subzis.
Ingredients for the spice powder:
1/4 cup chana dal / split chick peas
1 tbsp urad dal / skinned black gram
1 tsp dhaniya / coriander seeds
1 piece of one inch cinnamon stick
1 - 2 strands of dagad phool /stone flower / raathi puvvu
10 - 12 red dried red chillies (adjust the quantity as needed)
1 - 2 tbsp. grated dry coconut
* Dry toast chana dal and urad dal in a pan until they start to change the color. Add the rest of the ingredients in the above list and toast for about 40 - 60 seconds. Turn off the stove and let them cool.
* Grind the ingredients fine or into a slightly coarse powder.
* Store it in an airtight container and use it as needed.
Ingredients for the vegetable rice:
1 cup rice (I used sona masuri rice.)
2 - 3 cups mixed vegetables *
2 tbsp. oil
1 tsp chanadal / split chickpeas
1 tsp urad dal / split black gram
1 tsp mustard seeds
Few curry leaves
A handful of cashew halves / peanuts
2 -3 tbsp. spice powder from above
Salt to taste
* I used carrots and potatoes (peeled and cubed) and green beans that are stringed and cut into one inch pieces. Green peas and chayote can be used as well. Use your choice of vegetables that won't turn mushy after cooking.
* Pressure cook rice adding 2 cups of water. Or rice can be cooked using a rice cooker or in a sauce pan covered, on stove top.
* Heat oil in a pan and add chana dal, urad dal, mustard. Fry for few seconds and add cashews and curry leaves.
* When the dals and cashews turn golden brown and mustard seeds start to pop, add the vegetables, turn down the heat, cover and cook until done.
Alternately, vegetables can be steamed or cooked in a microwave, drained and added in the above step.
* Next add the spice powder, salt and mix. Finally add the rice and mix well to combine. Taste and adjust spice powder / salt if any needed.
This goes to Blogging Marathon #49, under the theme of "Weekend Brunch".