Every time I watch a rerun of Sooryavansham on TV (OK sue me for it but I enjoy that film quite a bit) I am struck by the scene in which Radha covers up for the lack of supplies in her kitchen by preparing meethe chawal. Celluloid can inspire us in unexpected ways, as this post is proof. My story may not be as dramatic as that of families reuniting tearfully after watching Sansar, but it’s still worth telling for those in a culinary quandary similar to mine.
I had to set off that evening for weeks of travel; the plan was to switch off the fridge leaving nothing behind. I had a bowl of boiled white rice remaining from the last meal. In a sans-Sooryavansham world I might have polished it off with chutney podi. Instead I made meethe chawal.
Here is the recipe I used, feel free to modify based on the status of your larder.
- Boiled white rice – 2 cups
- Jaggery – 1 tablespoon, powdered
- Salt – a tiny pinch
- Nuts (almonds/cashew) – 2 tablespoons
- Bay leaf – 1
- Cloves – 2
- Cinnamon – 1 small stick
- Ghee – 2 teaspoons
Heat ghee in a non-stick pan. Add cloves, cinnamon and bay leaf. Stir for a few seconds, then add nuts chopped or whole as you like them.
When the cashew turns golden, add rice. Stir gently to fry, taking care not to mush the rice grains. Cook till the rice turns crisper and darker (about 5-6 mins).
Add salt, stir once and then sprinkle powdered jaggery. Cook till the jaggery melts and coats rice grains evenly (about 3 mins).
Discard the whole spices. Serve hot garnished with almonds.