My contribution to the Tupperware Care4Food Campaign
I’ve spent a lot of time over the past 5 years calling AK a picky eater. If you follow this blog, then you’ve probably heard my rant more than a few times. Chicken, potato, starch, sugar, chocolate and deep fried are his keywords and nothing less will do! Think of an unhealthy food habit and he probably has it. Not sure exactly how to deal with it permanently, I usually swing between 2 extreme phases:
Phase 1 – Inventing new ways of incorporating fruit, vegetables and fibre in his diet, cleverly disguising it behind potatoes and chicken, regulating his meal timings and proportions, ensuring he has his breakfast etc.
Phase 2 – Feeling uninspired and just reverting to usual, boring fair of 4-5 failsafe starchy, oily, chicken/potato/sugar loaded options.
I love my moral high ground and let absolutely no opportunity to scold slide. Lately though, AK has had the audacity to call ME a picky eater. Obviously I huff off into a major sulk every time that happens. But when I think about it calmly, I have to admit that my desire to eat balanced, healthy meals and avoid as much processed food as I can could definitely be construed as being picky. I may not be the healthiest eater around, but I do reject a lot of food for being too starchy, too greasy, too sweet, too processed, not having enough vegetables etc. And that DOES make me a picky eater, regardless of the (good) reasons!
Even though I’m willing to admit this (in public, on the blog, no less), I’m not willing to show any remorse for my obsessive need to not waste food. Whether I eat party leftovers for a whole week or repurpose them in 7 different ways, I can never bring myself to feed them to the bin.
I’m sure AK secretly thinks I’m completely bananas. Maybe it’s a result of my parents’ old fashioned brand of discipline. Whatever was on the table HAD to be eaten without discussion or negotiation. There was no gentle cajoling from them or any tantrums tolerated. It was just how it was. And leaving food on the plate was unacceptable. I have memories of not being allowed to leave the dining table until my plate was cleaned up. In fact, I remember my Masi (maternal aunt) actually tying me to the chair with her dupatta on an occasion or two!
Instead of scarring (or scaring) me, these dining table rules left me with a consciousness to not waste food. And a simple set of food rules to live by. Serve yourself as much as you know you can eat, that is, take smaller helpings and take seconds, or thirds, or more. Try and cook as much as required, that is, learn to calculate portions and servings. And if you still end up with leftover, repurpose them or give them to someone who will want or need them, rather than consigning them to the trash bin.
So when the folks over at Tupperware wrote to me to ask if I would write something for their Care4Food campaign, I immediately said yes. So even though this post is over 3 months late, I’m very happy to contribute with a recipe that repurposes leftovers! (You can pop over to their website for more ways to Care4Food).
(Aside: AK’s uncle recently wrote an article for Mint on the subject of planning portions and servings for parties. I find it quite helpful and I’m sure that you will too. Pop over here to read it!)
Nevertheless, one of the most common leftovers in my kitchen is rice. Plain steamed or boiled rice. I have such a massive fear of running out of food that I can never help but make or order a little extra. Just in case. But no fret. There is always a good way of using up rice the next day, from Chinese fried rice, to a multitude of South Indian rice dishes like lemon rice, tamarind rice, coconut rice, tomato rice, curd rice. The possibilities are endless.
This lemon, pepper and garlic rice that I made today is quite versatile and pairs equally well with an Indian curry, a Chinese gravy or stir fried dish or even as a side to a grilled meat/fish/vegetables. It’s bursting with a sharp citrus tang and literally takes no more than 10 minutes to put together! I served it with a spring onion and sesame chicken gravy that I whipped up for lunch today.
Here’s what I used for 2 servings:
2 cups of cooked (boiled/steamed) white rice
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp vegetable or canola oil (or any other that doesn’t have a strong flavour/ aroma)
4 fat garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp black peppercorns, crushed coarsely
Juice and grated zest of 3 lemons (approx 6 tbsp juice) – this makes a very tangy dish so feel free to tone down the lemon if you like
Salt, to taste
Here’s how I made it:
First, I prepped the ingredients by pounding the black pepper and the garlic, zesting and juicing the lemons and kept them close.
I placed the butter and oil in a kadhai/wok on high heat. Once the butter melted, I reduced the heat to medium and added the pounded garlic – frying until it was fragrant and beginning to brown. About 2-3 minutes.
Then I added the pepper and let it fry for another 30-40 seconds.
Next came the lemon juice and zest which was accompanied by some serious spluttering and steam! I gave it a quick stir and increased the heat to high until it came to a boil. At this point, it became thicker, like an emulsion.
I added in the rice, tossing it gently until the lemon-garlic mixture coated most of it. Next, I sprinkled in the salt and gave it a final stir, cooking just until the rice was warmed through.
I served it up, garnished with an extra wedge of lemon and some finely chopped cilantro stalk.
- 2 cups of cooked (boiled/steamed) white rice
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp oil, canola or vegetable
- 4 fat garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp black peppercorns, crushed coarsely
- Juice and grated zest of 3 lemons (approx 6 tbsp juice)
- Salt, to taste
- Cilantro or spring onion greens to garnish
- Heavy Bottomed Wok
- If the rice has been in the refrigerator then allow it to come to room temperature on the counter.
- Heat the butter and oil together in a kadhai/wok. Once the butter melts, reduce the heat to medium and add the crushed garlic. Fry, stirring occasionally until fragrant and slightly browned, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the crushed pepper and fry for another 30-40 secs before adding in the zest and juice of lemons.
- Increase the heat to high and let the mixture come to a boil - it will thicken to the consistency of a thick salad dressing.
- Add the rice and salt and toss everything gently until the lemony buttery mixture coats the rice and it is warmed through.
- Remove from heat and stir in the chopped cilantro or spring onion greens.
- Serve as a side for grilled meats/vegetables or with a curry of your choice.