I have known my friend, S for nearly 17 years. But it was only a few months ago that I found about about his love of curry leaves. S visited us from New Mexico a few days ago. He came bearing all sorts of goodies from New Mexico – Pinon nuts, jalapeno peanut brittle and red chile. In return, I decided to make him a dish featuring his favorite curry leaves. In fact, S was supposed to sleep in one morning, but woke up early and came down to the kitchen when he smelled the curry leaves cooking! Who can resist the rich, earthy aroma of curry leaf! This is an easy recipe, and fresh curry leaves add a lot of flavor to the rice. You can try it with cilantro too. We had this curry leaf rice at our wedding dinner. I fell in love with the flavors at the tasting and the caterer was kind enough to give me the recipe. His had a ton of butter (or was it ghee?) and fried cashew nuts. I cut out both and just used oil. I also added the coconut meat.
Long Grain Rice – 2 1/2 cups (I used Basmati)
Curry Leaves – 1 1/2 cups loosely packed
Coconut – 1/4 cup
Onion – 1 large
Ginger-Garlic Paste – 1 tbsp
Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
Cloves – 4
Green Chili – 1
Lemon Juice – 2 tbsp
Oil – 4 tbsp
Heat one tsp of oil in a non stick saute pan, add the curry leaves and coconut and saute for 1 minute or until the curry leaves are fragrant. Let it cool slightly and then blend into a paste using about 1/2 cup water
Dice the onion. Heat another pan with the remaining oil. Add the chili, cumin seeds and cloves, after 30 seconds, add the onions. Saute till the onions are transcluscent. Now add the the ginger garlic paste. Saute another 30 seconds. Add the rice and stir for about 4 minutes on medium heat.
Then add the curry leaf paste, salt, lemon juice and 2 cups of water. Turn heat to high and let the rice come to a boil. Then reduce heat to low, and cover with a lid. Rice should be done in about 10 minutes. Turn off heat and let the rice sit for another 5 minutes.
Spread the rice on a large plate or platter and let it cool. This will ensure that the rice doesn’t turn mushy.