Gifts in a Jar
(Spiced Rice with Vegetables)
5 to 6 tablespoons vegetable oil plus 1/4 cup, divided
1 cup finely chopped onions, for garnish
2 tablespoons golden raisins, for garnish
2 tablespoons sliced almonds, for garnish
Wet Masala Paste
2 1/2 cups Indian basmati rice
2 green cardamom pods
2 to 3 (1-inch) cinnamon sticks
1 green bell pepper, cored and sliced
1/2 cup cubed potatoes
1/2 cup green peas
1/2 cup cubed carrots
Salt to taste 5 cups water (about)
Make garnish. In medium skillet, heat 5 to 6 tablespoons oil.
Sauté onions until deep brown.
Add raisins and almonds and sauté until almonds are lightly browned. Set aside.
Make wet masala paste and set it aside.
Wash rice, drain water and let sit 10 minutes with no additional water added. Set aside.
Heat remaining 1/4 cup oil in heavy pot.
Add cloves, cardamom pods and cinnamon sticks. Sauté for 30 to 40 seconds.
Add reserved onion mixture.
Add reserved wet masala paste and sauté a few minutes on medium-high, until oil starts to separate, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Add bell pepper, potatoes, peas and carrots, and sauté a few more minutes.
Add reserved rice and salt; mix well. Sauté for a few more minutes.
Transfer mixture to a microwave-safe serving container.
Add 5 cups water. Microwave, covered, 35 minutes or until done and rice has absorbed all the water. Stir after about 15 minutes.
Add half of the garnish and mix it in.
Cover container and microwave another 10 minutes to blend flavors.
When done, remove from cooking container and set on individual plates.
Top each serving with remaining garnish.
Serve hot with mint chutney and raita.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.