When you look back, past always seems more pleasant than the present. No matter, how difficult the days were, you will have something memorable, something you hold onto. I went to college in a town in Southern India and it was not common in the 90s to find a restaurant, a decent one to eat out especially the fancy Biryanis and the Pualos. When I make and eat this now at home, my memories flood with my days in college, the friends I used to hang out with and the foods we used to like and share-
The inspiration for this dish comes from a small shop opposite to my college which used to have the best rice dish with nothing but freshly grown mint leaves,(Yes! grown in the owner's house), rice and spices.Oh! And Potatoes, I forget! —Shri
Test Kitchen Notes
Shri takes us to her memories of her college years and the meals she shared with friends. To my Western mind, her recipe is a meal that's partly exotic, but well in the realm of comfort food. The blandness of the potatoes and rice is enlivened and brightened by the mint and chiles, and a tasty range of whole spices. I added the onions with the ginger-garlic paste, quartered the potatoes and let it cook covered for 25 minutes. Next time I'll parboil the potatoes -- and I look forward to the next time. Don't skip the raita, or plain yogurt. It pulled all the parts together for me. —susan g
Cut the onion into two and peel it, then slice the onion very thinly into half moons.
Heat oil in a pan. Add Cumin seeds an when they begin to lightly brown, add onions an green chiles.
Fry for 2 minutes till the onions become translucent
Add the cinnamon stick, cardamom, bay leaves and cloves. Fry for 3 more minutes
Once fragrant, stir in the ginger garlic paste.
Add potatoes and cook until they are tender when pricked with a fork, about 5 minutes. Add mint leaves and cook for until they wilt, about 2 minutes.
Pour 4 1/2 cups of water and a healthy pinch of salt. (For every cup of rice, add 1 1/2 cups of water.)
Bring to a boil, and then slowly add the rice and cook until the water evaporates and the rice is soft but the grains are separate.
Let it cool slightly. Add the peas and fluff the rice with a fork. Serve with yogurt/raita if desired.