Fig. 1. Methi Pulao
When I read about Priya's Think Spice - Fenugreek event (started by Sunita Bhuyan) I knew I could participate in it. I had a whole packet of frozen Methi sitting in my freezer that I needed to use. And no matter how little time one has, one has to eat! Question is always whether there is time to post the dish! :)
This pulao is very convenient to fill the lunch box. Lunchbox items comprise a large chunk of my cooking. The primary criterion for choosing dishes for dinner is "Can this go into the lunchbox tomorrow?" With this event around the corner, Methi Pulao just had to be made! Leftovers were packed into the lunchbox with a curry.
Note: I make almost all of my rice dishes in a microwave. Same goes for this recipe. Don't mind, but I don't explicitly write "Heat for 2 minutes, check, stir and heat again" anywhere. The time varies from MW to MW and you could just make this on stove-top too. Either way the recipe is the same.
Cloves - 4
Cinnamon sticks - 1 small stick
Bay leaves - 1 leaf
Cardamoms - 3
Onion - 2 medium, chopped
Green chilies - 1 finely chopped
Ginger-Garlic paste - 2 teaspoons
Methi (fenugreek) leaves - about 2 cups packed
Rice - 1/2 cup, washed
Tomato - 1 medium, chopped
Red chili powder - 1 teaspoon or to taste
Salt - to taste
Water - 2 cups (in microwave)
Coriander leaves for garnish - a few sprigs, finely chopped
1) Season cloves, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, cardamoms in a bit of oil.
2) Add chopped onion and fry well.
3) Add chopped green chillies, ginger-garlic paste and methi and fry.
4) Add washed rice and saute.
5) Add chopped tomatoes, red chili powder and salt
6) Add water and heat for 10 minutes or till the rice is fully cooked.
Update 1: Explicit microwave procedure:
1) In microwave safe pyrex type bowl, take cloves, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, cardamoms. Add a bit of oil on top so that it coats all the spices. Heat for 1-2 minutes till you can smell a fragrance from the spices when you open MW door. Stir in between if needed.
2) Add chopped onion, mix well, onions should be fairly coated with oil. Heat for 2-4 minutes, stopping, checking, stirring every minute or two. Should get slightly dry/oily (not watery at all). I called this stage in the MW when the water has evaporated "fried".
3) Add chopped green chillies, ginger-garlic paste and methi. Can add salt at this stage too. Veggies will absorb salt better this way. Stir well. Heat for 2-4 minutes, stopping, checking, stirring every minute or two.
4) Add washed, drained rice. Stir well. May need to add one more teaspoon of oil if it seems too less. Rice grains should be coated with some oil after stirring. Heat for 1-2 minutes, stopping, checking, stirring every minute. The rice should get slightly dry/oily/"fried".
5) Add chopped tomatoes, red chili powder and salt. Heat some more so that tomatoes get mushy, stopping, checking, stirring every minute or two.
6) Now, add water and heat for 10 minutes or till the rice is fully cooked. Can open and stir with a fork at say 8 minutes or so. Also test salt at this stage. Add more heating time if you see water still remains in the rice. When you wobble the dish, rice should not "flow". Add more water if it gets dry and still has not fluffed up.
For general MW judgment: In the microwave, I add water : rice ratio of 3 & 1/2 or 4 : 1. Outside on the stove I would add about 3:1 water:rice ratio. Usually for about 1/2 cup of dry rice grains it takes me anywhere from 8 to 12 minutes to cook. And even though it may seem like you are adding oil every so often, the total oil consumed for this whole thing for me is never more than 1 or 1 &1/2 tablespoons max. I just distribute it little by little between steps 1, 2 and 4 usually. More at the beginning will also be just fine.
Hope this helps.
Update 2: Since I have updated the post with explicit details about the microwave procedure I am sending this dish to the Microwave Easy Cooking event hosted by PJ at Seduce your Tastebuds, originally started by Srivalli. Almost all dishes can be made in the microwave almost the same way as on stove top. Heat, power and time vary depending on the size and oldness of your microwave. So I don't know how useful my detailed microwave instructions must be. In any case, if you are looking for more detailed recipes for MW cooking, do check out these event pages and Srivalli's blog. They have a lot of recipes which explicitly talk about cooking in the microwave.
Cheers and thanks for reading, everyone!