Saturday, November 18, 2006

Globalization via Tomato Rice!

Saturday noon, my parents flight lands in 4 hours. I'm trying to squeeze in grocery shopping, prepping dessert for dinner, as well as dinner itself, house cleaning touchup, a pedicure AND lunch. So, I scan the fridge for what I can put to together with as little time and effort as possible. My gaze falls dead on white rice leftover from dinner the night before, another quick 360 degree scan captures a quarter jar of habanero salsa that we found at a farmers market on our last trip to Sedona. So thats it, a traditional south indian rice dish with habanero salsa stuffed in green peppers for a seamless mesh of mexican and indian cuisine! A friend of mine actually replaced the salsa with pasta sauce and said it was just as delicious, I haven't tried it myself but dont see how you can go wrong.

Habanero Salsa Tomato rice

3 cups cooked rice
1 medium onion (sliced)
1 small tomato chopped
1 cup habanero salsa
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp ghee (clarified butter)- optional
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp chana dal (split dried chick peas)- optional
1 tsp chilli powder (or to taste)
4-cloves, 1/2 inch piece cinnamon stick, 4- cardamom pods: powdered together or use 1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp garam masala for garnish
8-10 curry leaves (Helichrysum italicum), available in all Indian stores-- just ask
2-3 green chillies
2 large green peppers
1 tsp lemon juice
salt to taste


Tomato rice:
Heat oil in saucepan. Add chana dal, cumin and mustard seeds and heat till the mustard seeds are done popping. Immediately add onion and tomato, ginger-garlic paste, salt, green chillies and chilli powder. Fry till tomatoes seperate from their skins (sounds sick i know but you get my point). Now add the habanero salsa and cinnamon-clove-cardamom (or garam masala) spice powder fry for a few more minutes. Add the curry leaves and stir a few times. Add the cooked rice to the sauce, tomato rice is now ready.


Dunk whole green peppers in hot water and let soak for 5 minutes. Remove peppers from water and cut off the stems carefully and deseed. Stuff the peppers with the tomato rice. Place stuffed peppers in oven proof dish, spray with pam or dot with butter. Sprinkle garam masala and lemon juice over the peppers and bake in preheated oven at 350 F for 15 mins or till the peppers get wrinkly.

Possible variation: 1. layer seasoned and cooked ground meat and cheese along with rice when stuffing peppers.
2. Omit the peppers altogether and just serve tomato rice with mint chutney.

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