Love is in the air. The Monsoons have come, and with its arrival this air has become scented. The dry and lifeless summer that serves as a precursor to lively monsoon makes this atmosphere dry and insipid. The earth dries up, weaker trees and plants, shrubs and bushes wither away and those that bear strength would wait for that first drop of rain. Everything comes to a standstill; it is as if every creature is praying for the arrival of the first shower. Finally the day arrives; the dark cloud encircles the earth and cool breeze begins to blow, announcing the much anticipated arrival of the dignitary that everyone’s been waiting for with the bated breath.
It comes, it rains and it conquers us. It rekindles that dimming flame of hope and fills us all with a gleam of happiness. The trees and plants that seemed to have given up on hope, see a new ray of life and are determined to make a comeback. In few days, we see them back full of life lush and green. The leaves that seemed like getting withered away few days earlier, regain their beauty. The rain droplets caress them and turn into pearls as the sun rays fall on them. The arrival of monsoon reaffirms my belief into “Hope”. It reminds me of a beautiful quote from one of favorite movie “Shawshank redemption”. The protagonist Andy Dufresne writes in a letter to his friend Red, “Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” This quote is worth etching in your memory. You must remember this in your tough times and in times of despair. Always be optimistic and remember to hope because it is one of the best things.
The first droplet that strikes the flared up earth creates a magic. The atmosphere gets filled up with an earthy scent that arises out of rain striking dry mud (or tarmac roads in cities). There is a beautiful word to describe this aroma “Petrichor”. It is constructed from two Greek words, ‘Petra’ meaning stone and ‘ichor’ meaning ethereal fluid that is the blood of the god. I perceive this scent to be somewhat magical, or is it magically romantic, which is why you would spot couples holding hand, fingers intertwined taking a romantic stroll, getting soaked in rain. Well as I said earlier, it feels like love is in the air.
Do not fret, if you are a foodie like us. If you thought that monsoon is only for romantics, then here’s a food for your thought or rather your tummy. The monsoon increases our craving for fried, hot and spicy food. So if you are experiencing a sudden surge in your craving for Pakodas- Chai or something spicy like biryanis and pulao, it’s alright. Scientists say that during rainy season when we all experience a sudden surge of emotions, feeling of good old days are very common. The fatty and fried food contains tryptophan which is used by our brain to balance Serotonin (a chemical in human body that is responsible for mood balance and its deficit may lead to depression). This should help you understand why those cravings that you have in monsoons are pretty normal. However, one must exercise caution regarding where you are consuming these fried and spicy food. Hygiene should be at the top of your list and you must always prefer those food joints that you can trust for their food and hygiene standards.
So as the rains have started wrapping its arms around us, we have been making different food items like Paneer Pakoda, Kanda Bhajia, and Spicy Pulaos at home that is keeping us happy and satiated. The best part of making these food items at home is that the thoughts of dismal hygiene standards that haunt you at food cart vendor will not bother you at home. You will be able to adjust the spice level of your food to suit your palate. The biggest differentiating factor between home and street food is the quality and amount of oil.
The Spicy Pulao that we are sharing today is a microwave version. This keeps the total amount of time required to make this pulao quite minimal. We have made added veggies like green peas and carrots in the pulao, not because this recipe mandates the use of these two veggies, but because we had them in our vegetable tray of our refrigerator. You can even add French beans or potatoes if you have them at home and give this recipe a touch of your own. We have also added Byadagi red chilies which are not too spicy but give a wonderful red color to the masala. Byadagi chilies can be replaced by any spicier chili if you are feeling too adventurous.
Make some Veg Raita that would go along with spicy pulao and enjoy the monsoon. Finally take all necessary care and precautions in rains like use mosquito nets, avoid walking in dirty puddles of water, and exercise at home if you cannot go out due to rains. Share your feedback about this recipe in the comment section below. You can also share your exercise regime that you follow in this season.
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- 1 cup long grain basmati rice.Soak rice for 15 mins in water.
- ½ cup frozen green peas
- ½ cup carrot cut into cubes
- 2 tbsp whisked curd
- 6 byadagi red chilies. Soak them into warm water for 10 mins.
- 1 inch ginger root
- 5-6 cloves of garlic
- 2 tsp roasted cumin powder
- 2 tsp coriander powder
- 2 tbsp clarified butter (ghee)
- Grind soaked red chilies, garlic, diced ginger, cumin powder, coriander powder into a fine and thick paste. Make use of water to make paste.
- Consistency of Masala paste should be fine and thick
- In a microwave safe bowl, take clarified butter. Add masala paste to the bowl.
- a) Select Micro Mode.b) Select 900W power.c) Set timer to 1 min using dial.d) Select Start
- After 1 min, remove the bowl from microwave. Add green peas, carrot, curd, salt as per taste and mix them all well.
- a) Select Micro Mode.b) Select 900W power.c) Set timer to 1 min 30sec using dial.d) Select Start
- Now add soaked rice to the bowl. Add 2 and ½ cup of water and mix them all well. You can take water in grinder jar to use the traces of masala left in the jar.
- a) Select Micro Mode.b) Select 900W power.c) Set timer to 12 min using dial.d) Select Start
- We are going to cook uncovered and pause and stir in between
- After 4 mins take out the bowl and give it a gentle stir. Now we are going to cook covered. Resume the timer.
- After 5 mins of covered cooking, stir the pulao and cook uncovered for last 3 mins.
- Spicy Pulao is ready in 12 mins.
- Enjoy spicy pulao with Raita.
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