What a treat to learn something new? I had a fabulous time at Sujatha’s kitchen. She was the perfect hostess and had prepared all of her cooking ingredients beforehand: every vegetable was chopped, the spices deftly measured, the rice and daal washed, soaked and ready to be cooked. She subsequently demonstrated the cooking process of Masale bhaat and aamti, I furiously took notes, while the heavenly aroma of all the spices filled the air. By the time the food was ready, I had learned about Kokum, Hing, frying slices of dry coconut and Goda Masala.
Sujatha wiped a steel plate and dished out the rice, put a dollop ghee with a sprinkle of grated coconut, in the traditional way ( keep putting some more even after the guest protests). It brought back nostalgic memories of eating at my friends’ houses, some 25+ years ago. Different houses, different traditions, different spice blends, different styles of cooking but the serving was always the same, lots of rice with lots of love on a steel plate with a sprinkle of melted ghee on the top. Sometimes it was the mother of a friend, sometimes it was the grandmother but it was always so delicious and I loved it. To think of it, it was always a last minute decision to land up at a friend’s house. No matter what the time of the day, I would always be greeted with a big smile and a thaali ofwarm food…
The masale bhaat was very delicious and so was aamti in the bowl….
Here is Sujata’s recipe for masala bhaat ( rice dish) that I made at home
2 cups of rice ( washed and soaked in water for 30 minutes)
1/4 C chopped onions
1/2 C chopped cauliflower
1/2C chopped beans
1/4 C peas
1/2 t black mustard seeds
1/2 t cumin seeds
1/8 t Hing
3-4 curry leaves ( kariya pata)
1/2 t turmeric powder
1 t Goda masala
2 T roasted coconut powder
2 T peanut oil
- Heat the oil in a 4 quart stock pot for a couple minutes on medium heat
- Put the mustard seeds and after a minute the cumin seeds
- Add the curry leaves
- Add the Hing ( it is smelly but adds a lot of flavor), sauté for a minute
- Add the chopped onions, sauté for about 3 -4 minutes
- Add the peas, sauté for about 1 -2 minutes
- Add the beans, sauté for 1 -2 minutes
- Add the cauliflower, sauté for 1 -2 minutes
- Add turmeric, blend well
- Strain the rice, add it and sauté for 3 -4 minutes
- Finally add Goda Masala and roasted coconut
- Add 31/2 cups of water, let it come to boil
- Cover the pot, lower the heat and cook for another 12 minutes , until all the water is absorbed.
- Enjoy!!!! with a dollop of melted ghee or butter and a tablespoon of shredded coconut…
Next Stop….. Aamti in the bowl…………..