Chitrannam (Magical Rice)
Serves: 5 loosely packed cups of rice
This is a traditional vegetarian rice dish, which is popular in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh in India. Literally translated from Telugu, which is the language spoken in Andhra Pradesh, it means "magical" or "wondrous" rice. Lemon rice is a "must-have" on most religious celebrations throughout Andhra Pradesh and there are frequent family debates about whose lemon rice is better. My husband and I have kept the tradition alive at home and each of us thinks we make the better lemon rice!
- 2 cups basmati rice, cooked and cooled Add to list
- 8 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice (2 to 3 lemons or limes) Add to list
- 4 teaspoons canola or vegetable oil Add to list
- 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds Add to list
- 2 to 4 dry red chiles (such as Arbol), split into halves Add to list
- 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds Add to list
- 2 tablespoons channa daal (yellow split peas) Add to list
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder Add to list
- 1 cup dry roasted unsalted peanuts, skins removed Add to list
- 1 cup frozen green peas Add to list
- 3 to 4 teaspoons kosher salt Add to list
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro Add to list
- 4 tablespoons freshly grated coconut Add to list
Place the rice in a mixing bowl. Add the lemon or lime juice and toss very lightly, taking care to ensure the rice grains are intact. Set aside.
Heat the canola or vegetable oil in a heavy bottomed pan on medium heat. Lower the heat to medium low. Add the mustard seeds and cover with a lid. When the mustard seeds have stopped popping, add the red chiles. Wait until the chiles turn a dark red and have released their heat into the oil. Add the cumin seeds and channa daal. Lightly sauté the mixture until the channa daal is a light amber color. Add turmeric, peanuts and green peas. Add 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt. Sauté until the peas have thawed, about 2 to 4 minutes. Mix in the cilantro.
Put the peanut-pea mixture into the bowl with rice and add 2 teaspoons of the salt. Using a rubber spatula or clean hands, toss the rice and the peanut-pea mixture until the yellow color is evenly distributed through the rice. Taste and add the remaining 1 teaspoon salt, if desired. Garnish with freshly grated coconut.
Recipe by, PCC Cook instructor