Friday, April 22, 2011

Chutney Chawal (Cilantro and Mint Spicy Rice)

This is a long story. Sit tight if you want to read it or go to the recipe part. Whatever you do, I won't mind at all. I came to this country just like many other Indian women. As a wife of a H-1 visa guy on H-4. There are too many restrictions when you are on H-4. You can't get a SSN, you can't work. If I were not working in India, I probably would have been fine when I came to this country. But, having worked there and having been busy all the time, I lost my mind when I had to sit at home and there wasn't much to do at home either. Come to think of it, I didn't have a car, so I couldn't go out anywhere either.

I tried watching TV to pass time. But, being new here made me not follow the accent very well. On the top of it what should a person who is used to bollywood songs and movies do when there is no such thing on the TV?

I didn't whine or feel sad. I started making my adjustments. I watched 'Matlock' religiously (they were repeats of course, but not for me - I still like Andy Griffith a lot), I watched 'Golden Girls' , 'Full House', 'Murder She Wrote' and the list goes on. Then there was of course studying for GRE, but I should say I found peace in the kitchen. I used to cook so many dishes every day that my husband had to literally ask me to stop cooking so much for the obvious reason. Both of us were growing wider. This dish is one of those dishes that I stumbled upon at that time and started making it regularly. It is simple, quick and filling and most importantly delicious.
Chutney Chawal

One Year back -  Whole Wheat Tomato Scallion Bread
Basmati rice - 2 cups
Green Peas - 2  cups (frozen or canned or fresh)
Oil - 4 TBSP
Bay leaves - 2
Cloves - 4- 5
Cinnamon - 1" stick
Cardamom - 2 whole
Black pepper corns - 8 - 10
Cumin - 1/2 tsp
Salt - to taste
Turmeric - a big pinch
Red onions - 4 small or 2 large sliced into 1" strips
Tomato - 2 medium quartered
Green chillies - 12 - 15 or to taste
Ginger - 1/2" piece peeled and chopped coarsely
Cilantro / Coriander leaves - roughly chopped generous 1 1/2 cup
Mint leaves / Pudina - 3/4 cup
Chutney Chawal

Rinse rice very well. If using frozen peas or fresh peas, mix washed rice with it and use enough water to cook the rice. If using canned peas, just cook rice and keep the peas for adding later.  Basmati rice usually takes 1 1/2 cups of water to a cup of rice, but it does differ based on how old the rice is. Cook in a pressure cooker with a pinch of salt added. When cool, fluff with a fork. Set aside.
In a pan, heat oil. When hot, add bay leaves. When they are toasted, add cinnamon, cloves, cardamom,black pepper, cumin. When all the spices are toasted, add chopped onions. Sprinkle some salt, turmeric and mix well and let it cook.
Meanwhile take tomato, ginger, green chillies, cilantro and mint leaves in a blender and make a puree. Do not add any water to it. When onions are done, add the paste and mix well. If you are using canned peas, drain, rinse and add it now to the pot. Mix well. It will start leaving some water and when most of the water has evaporated, add the rice or rice and peas mixture and mix gently. Check for the salt and adjust if necessary. Serve warm or cold. This tastes best after a few hours of making. Serve with raita or plain yogurt or as is.

You can add any vegetable to this.You could also add garlic when you are grinding the paste. I didn't since this was for the lunch box and I didn't want the smell at work. Roast some cashews and garnish the rice with it if you like.

Enjoy. Pin It


  1. I can imagine you being frustrated not knowing what to do..:)..Rice looks great..

  2. I am absolutely aware of your feelings...same here in UK. Jobs were really difficult to get, fortunately, I found a job in a special needs school. But cooking and arts is my passion, so do it at leisure now..wish I could give more time to this. My son loves this rice, as a baby he used to call it green bhaat:)

  3. Completely understandable frustration... and appreciate the way you found peace in ur kitchen....but lol so sweet and funny about ur cooking obsession. keep the recipes coming.
    The rice looks tasty

  4. wonderful rice so delicious !!

  5. Delicious and flavorful rice,nice recipe dear.

  6. Same feelings about the visa issues...Love the flavor of this combo..It is a regular lunch box stuff!!

  7. Firstly, let me say that rice looks and sounds (by the recipe) awesome :)

    Now on new in US issues, I have heard about. I fortunately, do not know much as I came to US after marriage, but on work myself (L1), so kind of no time to think what to do and all our weekends were spent enjoying the new place and sight-seeing at least till my first one was born :)

  8. Never even thought about something like this.. Looks like its a lunch box meal :)

  9. Perfect lunch box treat....looks delicious!!

  10. I really enjoy spiced rice dishes and this one sounds really tasty!

    Glad to hear you found a way to fill your time here. Thanks for visiting my blog!


If you have a question and you leave it as a comment, I'll surely answer the question to the best of my knowledge. Thanks for visiting.