I have this love for spices and herbs that tempts me to purchase them whenever I make a trip to the supermarket even if they are entirely new to me. That doesn’t deter me from being adventurous and trying it out in several dishes in my kitchen lab! One such is marjoram.
My son who doesn’t like pulav, biryani and the like, enjoyed the flavour of marjoram which I thought smelt much the same as ‘margampoo’ (Tamil). I tried searching but could not find the connection. The leaves look quite the same and the fragrance is similar. What works for me apart from the flavour is the appearance of the leaf and the bright colour of the rice. Grilled vegetables generously peppered with black pepper add pep to the otherwise bland taste.
This rice makes a wonderful main dish for vegan feasts! I used a local variant of rice called kolam surti but basmati or ambemore might enhance the taste. Marjoram has a wonderful fragrance and I did not feel the need to opt for basmati. In fact I think kolam worked because it does have any distinguishing aroma. Next time I make this I am going to look for a delicious vegan sizzler sauce. I really missed that and felt it would have made a lovely addition. If you have a tried and tested vegan sizzler sauce recipe made with common ingredients please let me know.
Dish: Marjoram Rice with Grilled Vegetables.
Yield: Serves 3
Basmati/kolam/ambemore rice – 200g
Fresh peas – 1/2 cup shelled
Fresh marjoram leaves – 1 tbsps
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp.
Cinnamon – 1 inch long
Cloves – 5
Oil – 2 tbsp.
Water – 2 times the volume of rice taken
Turmeric, chillies and salt to taste
Wash rice, drain and set aside.
Heat oil in a wok. Add cumin seeds and when they crackle, add cinnamon and cloves. Saute till aromatic.
Pour the above mix into the electric cooker and add the rest of the ingredients. I did not add chillies but if you want some heat go ahead and add.
Alternately, you can prepare directly in a pressure cooker right from sauteing. I usually keep for one whistle if I want the rice separate. One way is to squeeze juice of 1/2 a lime when the water comes to a boil and before putting the lid on the cooker.
Vegetables chopped into chunks such as carrots, cauliflower flowerets, potatoes, mushrooms and a few whole cashews – 4 cups
Line tray with foil and pour a tbsp. of oil (olive or mustard). Wash, drain, pat dry and put the vegetables. Toss lightly. Add 3 tbsps of chopped fresh marjoram leaves, chilli powder (I prefer a generous dash of black peppper) and salt to taste. Mix and grill in a pre-heated oven for 20 minutes or more, till done to your satisfaction. In between, remove tray, add another tsp. of oil and toss again. The vegetables should brown nicely. You might want to add the mushrooms a little while later as they become rubbery instead of juicy if grilled long.
Serve rice with vegetables on the side.
If making a sizzler, toss the grilled vegetables in a sizzler sauce. Add a cutlet or two while you are at it! If health conscious just mix in the roasted vegetables. The assembly makes a lovely main dish.
I do not fancy excessive use of spices, salt or sweeteners – you must adjust them to suit your tastes. I am never surprised when my Mother, Mother-in-law or M Aunty complain that my sweets are not sweet enough and my pulav is not hot enough in terms of red and green chillies. My Father on the other hand is quite encouraging – he declares that one cannot complain about diabetes, heart burns or acidity after having had my food! 😀
Health conscious? Then do try my vegan, fatless and yet great tasting Christmas pudding. I won’t say it tastes the same as regular pudding but it tastes great.