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I am a professional and a cook,rather a cook by choice and passion.Cooking is something I fantasise about.When I first thought of starting a blog,a thousand ideas coursed through my mind,albeit,none stood the sands of time.Except for the thought of a food blog accompanied by subtle nuances from daily life and from the world around me!



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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Brown rice Pilaf and the art of letting go!

I have always believed in storing up things. 

As a kid, I would habitually be gifted with little pieces of jewelry, some with colorful beads, some sparkly and shimmery from friends and from cousins who would drop by occasionally. My precious stones found refuge in an old wooden jewelry box, which had been a part of my Maa’s jewelry entourage once upon a time.

Years later, when the weevils bore umpteen holes into the sides of the wooden box, I shifted the jewelry from the box and tucked them away in a muslin-cloth bag, also a gift from a friend. I had stopped wearing them by that time, because I had gone past the age of donning colorful, mismatched plastic beads by that time, but never did it strike me that I could actually throw them away! Once or twice, when I would make up my mind to actually do away with them, something tugged at my heart strings – these were a part of my childhood memories, gifts from people I loved. I could not throw them away; such was the possessiveness that hung onto me for these old, unused trinkets. Somewhere deep inside, I always felt that these were a part of the times that I have lived.

After I left home for my studies, my folks decided to shift base and move to a new apartment that they had purchased. My Maa busied herself in the mammoth task of arranging to move over to a new place. Unfurling my possessions, she came across my muslin-cloth bag with the trinkets kept safe in them. The next time I called home, Maa was on the phone querying me what I would want her to do with them. I felt a lunge again, the same tug that I had felt years ago. But this time, it seemed less intense and less important. I had grown-up and so many other things now needed my attention. An old bag of junk jewelry that was all it was! Without much ado, I asked of them to be disposed off with the next bag of garbage. No space for things that I would probably never ever use, I thought!

Long after that, sitting alone with my cuppa, my mind would often go back to that wizened old muslin cloth bag, protecting my mesh of entangled, colored beads. I would feel guilty of letting go of such a precious thing, a thing I had kept so close to my heart all these years. Somewhere inside, I felt the guilt of betraying my own sentiments.

As the years passed, and I go entangled in the throes of life, I longed for things, for materialistic possessions and started nurturing dreams about these possessions. But as the wise men say, dreams do not always come true. I started realizing and learning that we often need to let go of things in life to have happiness and peace in return. I slowly started letting go of things - it would be difficult at first, but then time started healing it. I started feeling lighter in my head and mind. Maybe this is what peace felt like, I thought.

I managed to walk through the letting-go phase unscathed. It now feels so easy to let go! Often the things you hold on to so dearly, give you such pain and dismay, but letting go of them gives you a new breath. Maybe I started learning it the day I let go of the old bag of muslin, with all my precious jewelry inside it!

Speaking of letting-go, I could not let go of the bag of Brown Rice, however! I had written about it in one of my earlier posts. I had a whole bag of Brown Basmati Rice nestling in my kitchen cabinet and it was eons ago that I made Brown Rice pudding using the rice. One on of the recent weekends, I tried rustling up Brown Rice Pilaf with chicken. Pilaf is a mid-western version of the ‘Pulao’ or ‘Pulav’ that we so often cook in our Indian kitchens. My Pilaf was however a drier version of the ‘Pulao’ and I preferred cooking the rice and vegetables and chicken separately. Cooking the Brown Rice in water actually makes the husk split up and come in the way of it savouriness. So here goes, my version of Brown Rice Pilaf with chicken. Enjoy!

Brown Rice Pilaf with chicken

You will need:
Brown Rice – 150 gms ; I used India Gate Brown Basmati Rice. Any long-grained variety Brown Rice will do.
Boneless chicken - 250 gms; washed well and cubed
2 whole red onions – Chopped finely into juliennes
Garlic – 2-3 Cloves; finely chopped
Ginger – About an inch; finely chopped
Capsicum/ Bell peppers – Julienned
Broccoli – Finely cut into small sprigs
Green peas
Tomato – 1 whole; diced
Green chilies – 2-3 finely chopped
Portobello Mushrooms – Washed well and chopped finely into thin slivers
Freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste

Butter/Margarine – 2 tablespoonfuls
Cooking oil – 1 tablespoon

How I made it:

1. Wash the Brown Rice well under running water.  Add 4 cups of water and allow the rice to boil in a deep-bottomed vessel. 

2. Heat a non-stick wok and add the butter/margarine and the cooking oil. The cooking oil prevents the butter/margarine from burning. When the butter/margarine melts. Add the chopped onions, garlic, ginger and green chilies and sauté lightly.

3. When the onion turns slightly pinkish and the garlic is cooked, add the cubed chicken pieces and fry for a couple of minutes.

4. When the chicken turns slightly brown, add the chopped capsicum or peppers, broccoli sprigs, green peas and mushrooms and sauté well.

5. Keep on checking the rice in the meantime. When the rice has started to cook, put off the heat and allow the rice to be cooked in the boiling water. The rice should not turn too mushy otherwise the Pilaf will turn sticky.

6. When the rice is almost cooked, drain the water and spread out on a flat tray to dry the cooked rice.

7. Next check the veggies to see if they are cooked through. Add a pinch of salt at this point and mix well.

8. When the veggies are well done, add the cooked rice to the fried veggies and chicken and mix the whole concoction well. Take care to just blend in the rice without prodding it.
9. Season with freshly ground black pepper and add a blob of butter before serving. Your plate of piping hot Brown Rice Pilaf with chicken is ready!

If you liked reading my post, please leave your thoughts in the Comments section'!Hope to see you again!

This post of mine goes to Hearth and Soul Hop # 36!
Also linking up this post to 'Tuesdays at the Table' being hosted at 'All the Small Stuff'!

I am sending it to the lovely 'Fresh Food Friday' event on Roz's blog 'La bella vita' ...
and, 'These Chicks Cooked Link Party- Featuring your Best Recipes #29' at Katie's place!

5 thoughtful musings left behind...:

Butterpoweredbike said...

I'm so touched by the sentiment of this post. It was a really beautiful thing to read. Thank you so much for sharing with the Hearth and Soul hop :)

J L Health 918-836-0565 said...

Love the recipe and for the record....I'm the same way about letting go of special things from the past.

Great post and thanks for sharing at the hearth and soul hop.

Wit,wok and wisdom said...

Glad that you liked my post:) You too have a lovely space of your own!

Thanks a bunch for dropping by!

Hello JL,
I guess it pays at times, when all you want to do is cut down on the unnecessary mental baggage...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and glad that you dropped by!


Roz from 'la bella vita' said...

What a beautifully written post! I also love ALL of the ingredients in this yummy rice dish -- lots of garlic, oh and ginger! I can just smell your kitchen aroma! Thanks for sharing on Fresh Food Friday last week; please know that I'd love to have you stop by and share another recipe this weekend. I appreciate your participation!

Wit,wok and wisdom said...

Hello dear Roz,
It was an honor to have you at my place!I'm so glad that you liked my post and recipe:) I've been posting to your event for a couple of weeks now and I really wished in my heart that you would drop in some day...and Voila!Absolutely love your place and your beautiful recipes.Thanks so much for coming!


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It was a pleasure to see you here!Thanks for coming!

If you have spent some time here,I would appreciate that you let me know if you liked my blog.

I will really be glad if you leave your footprints behind.Any suggestions or improvement or just chit-chat is more than welcome!

Hope to see you again!