June 13, 2013    BY Colleen Taylor Sen

(Rice and Vegetables)
This hearty, yet light, main dish can be served with coconut chutney and pappadums. The use of mustard seed is typical of dishes from Tamil Nadu, India’s southernmost state.


1⁄2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon channa dal
1 tablespoon urad dal
1⁄2 teaspoon cumin seed
1⁄2 teaspoon fenugreek seed
1⁄2 teaspoon cloves
1⁄2 teaspoon mustard seed
2-inch piece of cinnamon
6 red chilies
2 teaspoons oil


3 large green peppers or 1 large eggplant
2 1⁄2 cups of cooked long-grain rice
2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon of tamarind paste or 2 teaspoons of lemon juice
1⁄3 cup of grated fresh or dried shredded coconut (unsweetened)
4 teaspoons of masala
Final spicing
1 teaspoon channa dal
1 teaspoon urad dal
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
5-6 curry leaves
1 tablespoon cilantro leaves
1⁄2 teaspoon turmeric
1⁄4 teaspoon asafoetida

For the masala, heat 1 teaspoon of oil, then fry all the spices except the chilies until they are brown (2-3 minutes). Remove the spices, add more oil if necessary, and fry the chilies for 2 minutes. Grind the spices and chilies into a fine powder.
Cut the peppers into 2 by 1⁄2 inch pieces or the eggplant (unpeeled) into 1-inch cubes. Heat 2 tablespoons oil, fry the channa dal for 1 minute, then add the remaining spices and cook for another minute. Add 1⁄4 cup of water, stir slightly, and put in the green pepper or eggplant and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook covered for 6-7 minutes on low heat. Remove the cover, turn up the heat to medium, and cook for 15 minutes more. Then add 3 tablespoons of the masala and the tamarind paste or lemon juice. Stir and cook over low heat for several minutes.
Add the cooked rice, coconut, and butter, mix well, then add the remaining masala.

Colleen Taylor Sen
Colleen Taylor Sen is a freelance writer specializing in food and travel with a focus on India. Her articles have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, The Christian Science Monitor, and Travel and Leisure. She is a student at the Sivananda Yoga Center.