I remember my mom use to make the variety rices (‘kalandha saadham’) on one of those days we celebrate Pongal. It was the day the ladies of the house would lay down the turmeric (manjal kothu) and place balls of colourful rices. The rice would have been mixed with kumkum to give red colour, turmeric to give yellow colour. We would also place balls of sweet pongal (chakkarai pongal) and ven pongal (savoury pongal), vadai, thayir vadai all saved from our pongal feast. I was told we have to keep them aside so it can be offered on these leaves the next day. It was important for the daughter of the house i.e. paternal aunt comes home and takes part in this ritual as it is suppose to be for the well being of my brother. The loving sister that I was, I would happily sit with my granny, mom, aunt and cousins and complete the ritual. The offerings were suppose to be eaten by crows. After completing the ritual, it was lunch time. Mom would usually make her classic ‘Puliyodharai’ (tamarind rice) and coconut rice and sometimes lime rice. We would eat them with vadams (traditional south Indian crisps). My mom so wanted us to be at home for Pongal this year and I was looking forward to doing this ritual but unfortunately we could not make it on time.
Now, whenever I have a long night I tend to wake up late very exhausted. Not to mention, my baby boy would be quite restless as well due to lack of sleep. All this would usually result in very limited time to cook and this recipe saves my day then. My husband and I cannot quite have a meal without any vegetables so I usually try to bring in some veggies when I make lime rice.
A funny story that comes to my mind when I make this is that my brother was saying he was trying to make lime rice and in order to get the yellow colour, he kept squeezing limes hoping to get the colour. Eventually the rice went too sour and remained white obviously !! Needless to say, he is a typical South Indian bachelor. I hope this simple recipe helps bachelors like him.
So here is my recipe..
1 cup cooked rice (mushy rice is not suitable, ideally grains should be separate)
1 big grated carrot
3-4 grean chillies finely chopped
1 teaspoon mustard seed
Pinch of asafoetida
¼ teaspoon fenugreek powder
Few curry leaves
1 or 2 lime ofcourse
Take about 1 teaspoon oil and put the mustard seeds. Once the seeds splatter, turn the heat down down and add asafoetida, fenugreek powder, turmeric powder, green chillies and curry leaves. Add the grated carrot and stir. Once the carrot start to wilt, turn the stove off and add the rice. I try not to overcook the carrots so loss of nutrition is minimum. Add required salt and squeeze the lime and mix. If you like, you could add channa dal and urad dal in the tempering as well but I usually do not do that as my husband does not like it.
I never really cared for difference between lime and lemon when in India as everything was yellow and sour. Over here, it turns out that lime is sour and I find lemon tasteless. I try not to add lime when dish is very hot as it may turn bitter. In order to make the meal more wholesome I normally serve this with Okra raita (lady’s finger pachadi) or tomato raita. Do not ignore the benefits of carrot as they also help prevent cancer and also good for night vision.