Methi Pilaf With Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Spring turns my head, literally. The bold colors slashing the landscape make it really, really hard for me to keep my eyes on the road as I walk or drive. Right now here in D.C., candy-pink cherry blossoms and sunshine-yellow daffodils are beginning to give way to tulips of every color imaginable. The hyacinths are out, the azaleas are almost here, and the dogwoods are just beginning to spring back to life.

The pale, baby leaves of the mighty maples and oaks look lit from within.

In our backyard, the fiery-red crape myrtle we just planted over Freddie’s ashes is beginning to shoot out its first leaves, reminding us that the energy of those we love is always around us, even if they aren’t.

It’s hard not to feel incredibly good in Spring, nature’s wise and well-timed reminder about the cycle of life. Even the most depressive must surely find it hard to stay down when a very tangible yet mysterious force seems to be saying, go on, renew yourself!

I have many plans this Spring. I want to plant my vegetable garden. Join a CSA that will deliver fresh, organic produce to me all summer. Visit six acres of 80,000 tulips, all blooming together in Baltimore’s Sherwood Gardens, with my friend Bess. Go hiking with Desi in Harper’s Ferry, a gorgeous swath of green national forest in West Virginia, right where Maryland and Virginia touch corners with it.

I also hope to cook more. A lot, lot more. And tell you about it.

What are your plans this Spring?

***

I had promised in my Dalitoy post to share with you my recipe for the Methi Pilaf with Sun-Dried Tomatoes. This is one of those seemingly-strange combinations of flavors that really, really works. The recipe’s a really simple one, requiring– other than methi or fenugreek leaves and the sundried tomatoes– some onion, cumin and a couple of green chillies. What makes it work is the combination of flavors: the bitterness of the methi, the smoky-salty-sourness of the sun-dried tomatoes, and the sweetness of the onions.

I’ll get on with the recipe for now. Have a great weekend, all!

Methi Pilaf With Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Ingredients:

1 bunch of methi, tough stems removed and the leaves chopped (I don’t mince them too fine because they cook down anyway)

10 sun-dried tomatoes, drained, if packed in oil, then chopped into small pieces

1 cup basmati or other long-grain rice

1 large red onion, thinly sliced

2 tsp cumin seeds

2 green chilies, slit down the middle

1 tsp vegetable oil, like canola

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt to taste

Heat the oil and add the cumin seeds. When they sputter, add the onions and cook over medium-low heat, about five minutes, until they turn translucent.

Add the methi leaves and chilies, mix well, and saute another five minutes until the methi’s wilted down.

Add the sun-dried tomatoes and the rice. Toss the rice until it starts to become opaque.

Add 2 cups of water and some salt to taste. Bring the rice to a boil, then clamp a tight-fitting lid on the pot, turn the heat down to simmer, and let it cook, undisturbed, for 15 minutes.

Turn off the heat and let it stand, again undisturbed, for another 10 minutes at least.

Open the lid, squeeze lemon juice on the pilaf, and toss gently with a fork to mix.

Serve hot with a simple dal like the Dalitoy.

If you don’t have access to methi, try this dish with spinach or with watercress.

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

Comments

  1. says

    Ahh.. the methi sitting in my refrigerator is calling out to me.. time to put someone(read hubbs) to remove the leaves form the stems so we can make some methi dishes this weekend!
    There are Cherry blossoms all around here too! waiting for some sunny days!
    -Richa Hobby And More

  2. says

    I love your Spring plans, Vaishali! I have similar plans- to grow herbs and veggies in my garden plot, to visit lots of local parks for long walks and short hikes, to enjoy seasonal produce and to spend time outdoors soaking in the sun.

  3. says

    I don’t have any specific plans for this spring, except a trip to Bay Area next week. I am already enjoying the beautiful spring blossoms all over the city and I can’t seem to get enough of it.. :) Loving my long walks in the park!

    Methi Pilaf looks very inviting

  4. says

    I’m planning to plant my first ever flower garden this year. Have to wait and see how successful I’m going to be. After reading your comment on my blog about swiss chard, I want to plant some of that too. I hope I’m too late!!
    Methi with sun dried tomatoes is definitely an interesting combo. Looks delicious.
    Enjoy your weekend Vaishali.

  5. says

    Good luck with ur spring plans! The better they succeed, the more we see on ur blog, lovely posts, garden fresh herbs , produce! I tried my hand at gardening but I am not very good, I’m afraid, and so I now enjoy the adventures that others undertake :)
    The pilaf looks wonderful and vibrant.

  6. says

    My goodness! Those photographs are absolutely luscious; I’m salivating all over my keyboard.
    I love methi, especially in methi parathas. Methi parathas + black dal = perfect winter dinner. Now I just have to buy sundried tomatoes and make this dish :)

  7. Anonymous says

    Have made this same dish using fresh tomatoes and substituted olive oil for the oil and used 2 dried chinese chilis. Still amazing. Have even made this dish for my parents. : )

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