every once in an alarmingly often while, i find myself with a near empty veggie tray. its an ode to many things………..laziness, sheer contempt of trekking to the neighbourhood sabziwala…..and other assorted lifestyle inadequacies, but this time i was staring at the near empty vegetable tray for a different reason…………. trying desperately to finish the many kilos of vegetables K bought on his first and (hopefully only) veggie buying spree. 2 weeks ago, not realizing that we would be out of town for most part of the week, K in a bid to help and surprise me, ventured to our regular veggie guy. having never bought anything remotely for use in the kitchen, if you don’t count appliances like the refrigerator, he relied totally on what the ‘bhaiya’ told him “amma hamesha yeh sab lete” and came back home like Santa Claus. he was laden with a huge Cauliflower, two cabbages, 3 kgs of aloo, carrot, bhendi, beans and other vegetables all measured out to a kilo or more………while i was touched at the gesture, i racked my brains with what to do with all this stuff since we were going to be out of town for most part of the week. anyways, the only way out was to not buy any more stuff till all this ran dry. with the exception of some button mushrooms that i couldn’t resist, i’ve steered clear of buying vegetables since and have almost come to the end……..which brings me to another dilemma, what can i rustle up that will feed us on this lazy saturday and yet not feel like war time ration cooking……so i made our classic favourite of no fuss tomato rice with the last of the aloos and some mushrooms, served with dahi and achaar….and finally celebrated an empty vegetable tray!! hurray!! this is my entry to the Summer Express Cooking Event, innovatively thought of and hosted by Shaheen of Malabar Spices and JFI – Rice hosted by Sharmi of Naivedyam and the brainchild of Indira of Mahanandi
quick tomato rice
1 1/2 cups sona masuri rice, washed and drained,4 large tomatoes pureed to a smooth pulp
1 bay leaf, 2 star anise (alternately 2 cloves, 2 sticks cinnamon),3 green chillies, slit
1 medium onion sliced,1/2 tsp turmeric,1 1/2 cup water
1 medium potato, peeled and cubed small
5 button mushroom chopped (alternatively 2 cups veggies of your choice – carrots, beans, cauliflower etc)
salt to tast, 2 tsp oil ,sprig of fresh coriander leaves
1-5 mins: wash and drain rice. slice onions and green chillies. puree the tomatoes. wash and cut the potato and mushrooms. set out the bay leaf, star anise, turmeric and salt at hand
5-10 mins: in a pressure cooker, heat the oil, add the bay leaves and star anise, stir for a few seconds till it gives out the aroma. add the sliced onion and green chillies and fry till golden. add the tomato puree, turmeric, salt and cook for a few minutes, stirring a bit. add the chopped potato and mushrooms, add the washed drained rice, 1 1/2 cup water. check for salt and adjust.
10-20 mins: close the cooker, wait for 2-3 whistles and turn off. while you wait for the pressure to release, set the table, whip up the curds for the accompaniment. when the cooker can be opened, mix the rice a bit, put into a serving dish, garnish with fresh coriander and serve hot with curds raita and pickle. a filling meal in less than 20 mins.