Thai basil fried rice with tofu

This is by no means an authentic thai recipe.. I tried a couple of thai basil fried recipes from the internet and then came up with this one with a few modifications to suit my taste. I made this on a weekday night and packed it for lunch the next day but my recommendation is to eat this steaming hot off the stove! There are lot more things you can add like scrambled eggs, fried tofu instead of baked tofu. You can use white jasmine rice instead of brown rice. This also probably tastes better with fish sauce or oyster sauce but since my family is vegetarian, I didn’t add those. All right then,  lets get straight to the recipe.


Ingredients : Serves 2-3

1 and half cups long grain basmati brown rice.

half a head of broccoli

1 cup assorted bell peppers cut into strips

1/2 cup green beans cut into 1″ pieces

3/4 cup baked tofu. I bought mine from trader joes

1/2 a big onion chopped

2-3 garlic cloves minced

3 tablespoons of olive oil/peanut oil

2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

1-2 tablespoon sriracha sauce

2-3 thai cillies or serrano (regular Indian variety)  cut into 1/2″ pieces

1 tablespoon peanut butter (optional)

1/2 teaspoon sugar

10-12 basil leaves finely chopped

A few pieces of lemon wedge while serving

Roasted and crushed peanut powder for serving

Soak the brown basmati rice for atleast 2 hours and then cook it with 1 and half cups of water and let it cool. This can be made the previous day as day old rice tastes even better. If using any other kind of rice, follow instructions on the pack for cooking.

In a large pan or wok, under medium high flame, heat the oil. I use a cast iron skillet as I have an electric coil stove and it is difficult to achieve that amount of heat for stir frying. Also using any other metal makes the onion sweat and go soggy and you want the veggies to be crisp for the fried rice. Add garlic, chillies and onion and fry them till the onion turns translucent. Add the rest of the veggies and tofu and stir fry them for a couple of minutes till they are slightly tender but still retain their crunchiness.  Optionally for better taste, you can buy regular tofu, drain all the water on a paper towel cut into 1/2″ pieces and deep fry them. Add the tofu at the end, when mixing the rest of the ingredients.

In a small mixing bowl, mix the sauces, sugar and peanut butter until you get a smooth mixture.

Add the rice, the sauce mixture to the pan and salt and mix well. Turn off the heat and add the basil leaves and mix. Serve piping hot with a wedge of lemon and roasted and crushed peanut on the side.

Pal Payasam / Rice Kheer/

Pal Payasam is my all time favorite dessert. Tastes especially good when served chilled. Pal means milk in Tamil and Payasam means kheer or pudding. Use jaggery made from dates if you can find them in your grocery stores and you can notice the difference in taste. I used normal cane sugar for this recipe because i didn’t have any dates jaggery on hand.

Ingredients : Serves 2

1/2 or 3/4  litre milk. I used 2% milk. Full fat makes it more delicious.

2 teaspoons basmati rice

3 tablespoons of sugar

A pinch of cardamom

Almonds and Pistachio slivers for garnishing

1 teaspoon ghee/ clarified butter

Wash and soak the water for a couple of minutes and drain it. Take a thick bottomed pan or vessel. Heat the ghee. Add the rice and fry it for a minute or so. Then add the milk and sugar. Once the milk starts to boil over, reduce the heat. Let this simmer till the rice cooks through and the milk has reduced and thickened. The more it reduces, the tastier it is! Garnish with almonds and pistachio.

You can multiply the same quantities for more number of people. This kheer doesn’t need too much sugar. It is a good idea to use less sugar in the beginning and later adjust the quantity depending on the taste.

Serve hot or chilled.

Tomato-Corn Pulao

Packing lunch for office is always a challenging task. We prefer to eat rice for lunch and rotis for dinner. The usual rice and sambar becomes boring sometimes and i make pulao to break the monotony.  As usual I prefer recipes which are easy and simple to make. I finished making this tomato and corn pulao in 15-20 minutes today.

Ingredients : Serves 2

1 cup long grain basmati rice

2 cups water

1 small onion diced

1 clove of garlic

1″ ginger piece

2 ripe tomatoes

1 cup frozen/ fresh corn

1″ cinnamon stick

3-4 cloves

1 teaspoon cumin seeds/ jeera

2 green chilies

2-3 scallions/ spring onions for garnish

2 tablespoons of oil

Salt to taste

Into a blender, add the tomatoes, green chillies, ginger, garlic and spices.  Puree this mixture without adding water. Heat oil in a pressure cooker.  Add the onions and saute till translucent. Now add the tomato puree and corn.Wash the rice thoroughly and add it to the pressure cooker. Boil the two cups of water separately or you can just use hot tap water.and add it the cooker. Add salt and cover the cooker.  Turn off the heat on the cooker after 2-3 whistles. Garnish with chopped scallions.

If you don’t have a pressure cooker, simply cook the rice in your usual way. Use a frying pan to follow the same procedure. Add the cooked rice in the end and mix well.

Serve hot with any raita of your choice.

Tangy Mango rice/ Maavinakaayi Chitranna

You know the heat of the Indian summer is around the corner, when you see neem leaves, and green mangoes in the market. Mavinakaya chitranna is a  standard fix for the festival of Ugadi, the beginning of the Hindu calender. Ugadi to me always stands for Mavinakayi chitranna, Obattu, Obatt-saaru and ofcourse the quintessential bevu bella! An afternoon siesta after this fulfilling lunch and Ugadi is complete 🙂

There are two variations, one the way my mom makes it and the other one the way my MIL makes it. I prepared it the way mom makes it both having more or less the same ingredients.


For the paste:

Unripe green mango – half, cut into small pieces

3 table spoons of shredded coconut

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

A pinch of asafoetida

Using as little water as possible grind the above ingredients to a fine paste.

For the tempering,

2 table spoons of cooking oil

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon urad dal

1 teaspoon chana dal

Handful of peanuts

4-5 curry leaves

2 cups of cooked rice, cooled.

The proportion of rice to water should be 1:2. Use 1 and half if you are using Basmati rice. I find cooking the rice using an electric rice cooker the best way to get the grains to remain separated.

Heat the oil in  a pan, once hot enough add the mustard seeds till they splutter. Next add the peanuts. Once they start changing color slightly, add both the dals. Once they turn golden brown, add turmeric and curry leaves. Then add the ground paste. Saute this until the paste starts leaving oil on the sides of the pan.

Add the cooled rice and salt to the pan and mix gently.

Variations :

1) If it is not the season for mangoes, you can use a lemon-sized ball of tamarind.

2) Use one clove of garlic instead of asafoetida.