In the South India, rice recipes are a must. Most Southerners would feel cheated if they did not have an rice dish to complete the meal. Basmati rice is most commonly used for these dishes.
Regardless of the type of rice used, it is always important to pick through the rice well, looking for impurities like small stones or plant parts. For any rice dish it is also important to wash the rice well since there is always some loose starch on it from the milling process.
In South India, rice recipes are rarely plain! Although rice dishes are present at virtually every meal, there are almost always some interesting ingredients in them. Some of the common variations are Black Pepper Rice, Curd Rice, Tamarind Rice, and even in simple rice dishes there is an ingredient like mustard seeds, fenugreek or some dal.
It is also very common to serve curds along with the rice as a standard accompaniment. Or you can serve the rice with Podis, or flavored powders mixed with oil. This practically makes it’s own meal!
For special occasions, a pulao or pilau rice dish would be made, and you will be able to see some on this web site. The Pulao dishes have a variety of vegetables, spices and sometimes meat in them. To get you started, here is a basic southern Indian rice recipe with mustard seeds.
Rice with Mustard Seeds Recipe
- 2 cups long grain rice (preferably Basmati)
- 1/4 cup ghee or oil(clarified butter)
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds (the black kind found in Indian stores)
- 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
- 3 1/2 cups water
- Pick through and wash the rice. In a large sauce pan (I prefer a 3 quart size) heat the ghee and add the mustard and fenugreek seeds until they splutter. This seasons the oil and brings out the flavor of the seasonings.
- Add the rice and coat in the oil. Add the water and salt and bring to a boil.
- Once the rice boils, reduce the heat to medium low and cover, taking care not to let it boil over. Let it cook for about 20 minutes or until it is fully cooked.
- Serve with curds or with a Podi (spice powder mixture with ghee).
Note: If you like yellow rice, add 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon turmeric to the recipe when you add the rice.