Chitrannam- A flavorful rice
As you all know, I make rice dishes often as it is very easy and quick to prepare. Just throw in some veggies, masala, rice and keep it in the rice cooker. Rice dishes also stay well in lunch boxes and a simple raitha or a salad is enough to make it a full meal. Though I make pulao or mixed vegetable rice often, I skip lemon rice. I thought lemon rice is simple and there is nothing more to it. Even when I make lemon rice I make some spicy side dish to go with it. But just a few days ago, during Pongal, Linda made this Chitrannam(Lemon rice) for the Sankaranthi festival and I was just drooling at the way she presented the dish.
Linda was inspired by Indira and I couldn’t resist. N usually makes a face when I pack lemon rice but even as I was making this rice, the entire house was filled with a wonderful aroma and he kept asking, “what’s cooking?”. For me, that is instant success. I didn’t say lemon rice or elumicham pazham sadam, instead I said, ” I am making Nimmakaya Pulihora” to make it sound royal. Lovely name isn’t it?
Cooked rice- 1.25 cups
Fresh lemon juice- 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup (depending on your taste, about 3 lemons)
Chopped Ginger- 1 tsp
Cashew nuts (whole)- 2 tbsp
Peanuts- 1/4 cup
Salt- to taste
Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
Potato- big yellow potato- 1
Sesame oil- 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds- 1 tsp
Cumin seeds- 1 tsp
Chana dal- 1 tsp
Asafoetida- 1 pinch
Curry leaves- few
Wash and peel the skin of the potato. Chop it into small cubes.
Heat a pan and fry the peanuts. Let it cool and remove the skin. Keep aside.
Fry cashew nuts with a drop of oil till golden brown and keep aside.
Heat sesame oil in a pan and add asafoetida and mustard seeds. When the seeds splutter, add curry leaves, chana dal, cumin seeds,yogurt chilies, red chilies, green chilies, chopped ginger and stir fry well. When the chilies are 3/4th cooked, add the chopped potato, salt and turmeric powder and cover and let the potato cook. If needed add just about a table spoon of water.
When the potato is cooked through, add the fried peanuts, cashew nuts and stir fry well. The potato should not be soggy but firm yet well cooked. Add the cooked rice to this pan and stir fry slowly. Do not mash the rice. Let the potato and nuts combine with the rice. Pour the lemon juice and mix evenly. Switch off.
Taste if salt and lemon juice is enough. Adjust to taste. Serve hot or at room temperature. This lemon rice tastes good on its own. If you want, serve it with a simple salad or a pachadi.
(PS: Yogurt chilies are chilies soaked in salted yogurt, then sun dried and deep fried, the yogurt chili is the one sitting on top of the rice)
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