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.
I used a local variant of rice called kolam surti but basmati or ambemore might enhance the taste. Marjoram has its own which actually makes the use of basmati redundant, unless one likes to see long grains. In fact I think kolam worked well as it is not aromatic. I think a delicious sizzler sauce on the side would have lifted the dish but that’s for another time. If you have a tried and tested vegan sizzler sauce recipe made with common ingredients please let me know.
Recipe: Marjoram spiced rice with vegetables
Yield: Serves 3
Kolam rice – 200g
Fresh peas, shelled – 1/2
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.