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Mochai Rice

Most of us in Coimbatore have grown up eating this special green bean during the Pongal season or at the begining of the calendar year. It’s a taste that people of all age groups love. It’s easy to digest when consumed in the right quantities and being a versatile ingredient, it is dished up in myriad ways ;from gravies, to simple poriyals to being used to flavour rice.

A mochai rice is a great seasonal lunch box option. It has a good blend of protein and carb and the added nutrients from the vegetables and herbs that are included in the flavouring. The rice grains are coated just so, with a mild flavour that isn’t too pungent but one that balances the texture of the mochai in a manner that has you salivating for the next mouthful ! It’s a tasty meal to enjoy with a side of thayir pachadi and some crunchy vadagams… a simple but delicious South Indian meal.

In order to enhance it further I would like to put in a tad more effort where the ingredients are concerned. The rice we choose is always an unpolished rice grain that has been grown with no chemicals or pesticides. Find a source close to your home and make that choice. To eat a refined rice grain is just pointless waste of time spent cooking/eating ,not to mention wasted money and zero nutrition ! Ghee again is a must. It makes no sense that people would rather eat a polished rice grain instead of ghee that has several health benefits. So,get your facts straight please !

Another thought process that we try to follow is to not make the masalas too heavy. So the spices are added whole instead of them being ground up. What happens when the masala becomes too rich is that one needs to increase the oil necessary to saute’ the paste to prevent it from burning. This leads to a heavier dish thereby adding more discomfort to the stomach which should never be  the case when eating a well balanced meal.

Nuts too can be added whole instead of making heavy nut based blends.Another good tip is to try and use water whenever possible to aid the cooking process. Sprinkling water to cook the masalas longer is a simple way of bringing out a concentrated flavour from the paste blend.

At the end of it all , what you’re left with is a tasty dish ,that’s high on flavour, feels like a special meal and the calorie intake is not off the charts. Give this recipe a try over the weekend and let me know your thoughts.

Rice is not the culprit here , it’s the variety and the quantity that one eats which actually reflects the final outcome on health.Eat a variety of hand pounded rice grains of all colours and sizes. Eat foods that grow in your region.It really does make for a sensible fit-for-life food plan !

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  • 1. Wash the rice well and soak for about 25 minutes.
  • 2. Drain and cook in a deep vessel,on low heat until the grains are soft.Strain, reserve the water for other use and set aside the rice.
  • 3. Cook the mochai in a pressure cooker with enough water to cover it .Cook for 2 whistles until beans are cooked through. Wait until the pressure cools before releasing the lid.
  • 4. In the meanwhile make a paste out of the small onions, ginger, garlic,tomato and 2 green chillies by adding a little water to grind. Set aside.
  • 5. Take a medium pan,set it on a slow flame and add the oil. Once hot , add the whole spices. cinnamon, cardamom and cloves.
  • 6. Add the chopped onion and the remaining 3 whole green chillies, a pinch of salt and saute until the onion softens.
  • 7. Now add the ground masala and cook stirring continously. If it sticks to the pan , add a little water.
  • 8. Once the raw smell dissipates, add the turmeric, cumin,chilli and coriander powders and mix well.
  • 9. Add salt to taste.
  • 10. Drain and add the cooked mochai beans ; mix until well coated.
  • 11. Let cook ,stirring continuously ,until the liquid has reduced to a paste.
  • 12. Add the chopped coriander leaves and mix well until it softens .
  • 13. Take off fire and let cool.
  • 14. Using a wide slotten spoon, add the mochai mixture to the rice in small batches and mix in gently by lifting the rice grains and turning over so as to not squash it. Continue until it's well mixed. Taste and check seasoning. Add the ghee and give it a final fluffing .
  • 15. It can be gently heated in the oven or microwave or idli patharam before serving.

About Chef

Shanthini Rajkumar

Hello ☺ ! Welcome to Pink lemon tree. A suggestion that has turned into an immensely satisfying connect with foodies from near and far. Best described as a foodie mom ...