August 31st, 2013

Jasma’s Vegetable Pulao

Jasma’s Vegetable Pulao

Today I’m going to talk about laughter and tears. Happiness and sadness. Of gain and loss. And about life and death.

She entered our lives like a whiff of fresh air. Like a beautiful flower in full bloom in spring time. And withered out of our lives as fast as a fragile flower would too.

I’m talking about our friend Jasma. Cut back to many years ago, my sister and I were intrigued by the girl who came to live next door. Shy and coy that she was, we were the first ones to extend our hands and did not realize when mere acquaintance turned into a friendship so deep, leaving behind a trail of unforgettable memories.

With beautiful eyes and a face as exotic as her name what was most endearing about Jasma was her innate goodness that added more charm and grace to her persona.

Out came all the secrets, dreams and aspirations as we walked through the evenings admiring the may skies dotted with bright tones of the may flower or the most beautiful and magnificent hues and patterns of the october sky. Our friendship gained from strength to strength as the laughter and humour became intense and as deeper revelations were made.

An unassuming girl with modest needs and wants in life, her dreams were simple as well and all she wanted from life was the well being of her near and dear ones.

One day, in return for the many lunches and dinners that she had at our place, Jasma invited me, my sister and my mother over for lunch.

And it was a lunch to remember! The best pulao I had ever tasted with a fiery red cauliflower curry cooked by our dear friend. On that day I discovered another hidden trait of this gem of a friend, that she was an excellent cook and at 17, she could whip up a meal for a number of people and put experienced home cooks to shame with her tasteful cooking.

At that time little did I know that I would be a food writer later in life. But the recipe jotted down and registered in the deepest vein of my memory serves me in good stead as I write this now, 16 years after the incident.

There are many things to share with Jasma, just as I did then, about my wedding, my husband (a friend then whom she had predicted would be my husband), the birth of my child, the travails and tribulations and unsurpassed bliss of motherhood, the joys and highlights and at times frustrations of my work and many more incidents that have dotted my life. But, she is not around to hear me any more.

I still remember that phone call from her after her family left abruptly, asking me not to hang up and that feeble voice saying that she is dying. And my feelings of helplessness as I tried to call her back and trace her telephone number to no avail, after the call got disconnected, not to mention the shock of her revelations.

Months after, Mayi her caretaker visited us to tell us that our beloved friend was no more.

Its been years but my sister and I find it hard to fill the void that she has left as it was one of those rare friendships that is hard to come by easily and we were fortunate to experience it for a brief period

Taking solace in the words of Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita, that the spirit soul continues to live after the death of the body, I know that the spirit of Jasma continues to live.

Our cherished friend continues to live in our memories, our hearts and through this delightful creation that was made one sunny afternoon eons ago, remniscent of genuine and sincere comradeship that is hard to come by these days.

 

 Jasma’s Vegetable Pulao Recipe

 

Ingredients:

500 gm (2 1/2 cups) basmati rice

2 1/2 tsp salt

4 cups water

1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas

1 cup carrot, cut into strips or juliennes

1 cup beans, cut into 1” pieces

1 cup potatoes, cut into cubes

 

To be ground into a paste:

 spices to be roasted

1 tsp ghee

2 tbsp coriander seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp peppercorns (1/2 tsp you want it bland)

8 cloves

4 to 5 small pieces of cinnamon

1/2 cup fresh or frozen grated coconut

1/2 cup fresh corainder leaves or cilantro

1/2 cup fresh mint leaves

1 tbsp ginger

2 green chili

1 tsp salt

 

For the seasoning:

5 to 6 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil

2 to 3 bay leaves

1 tsp asafetida

 

Method:

Wash and soak the rice in plenty of water for about 30 minutes. Cook the vegetables in little water or steam them in a steamer.

In a wok, put in the ghee and roast the spices, the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, peppercorns, cloves and cinnamon on medium low heat for 3 to 4 minutes until aromatic. Mix in the coconut, cilantro, mint leaves, ginger, chili and salt and grind to a fine paste using very little water.

Cook the rice and allow to cool.

In a wok, heat the oil and add the bay leaf and the asafetida. Stir in the ground paste and cook till oil separates. Stir in the vegetables with 1/2 cup cooking water. Mix well.

Mix the vegetables with the cooked rice.

Serve with tomato raita or any other raita of your choice.

 

Serves 6 to 8 depending on the other side dishes served.

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Comments (20 Comments)

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  1. Simi says:

    Hard to forget the long walks and colourful skies and conversations.
    What a great girl she was… lovely soul! I really wish she was around. Miss her much!

  2. Shruti Rajesh Manurkar says:

    Very touching….first post with Krishna’s message….Hari Bol….

  3. Tamanna says:

    I am deeply saddened by your loss. Memories will keep her alive in your hearts. The pulaw looked delicious the minute I layed my eyes on it. Hugs to u

  4. coralcrue says:

    i could feel your heart aching in your writing. It’s true her spirit still lives on. Take heart that she is around. Sorry for your loss.

  5. Vedika says:

    Anu Akka,

    This post epitomizes honesty. I was very deeply touched and moved, by the same.
    Genuine writing coupled with great photographs and of course the recipe itself takes the cake! Jasma would have been ecstatic if she was around. :)

  6. MSP says:

    Hey ur story is very emotional, even i got emotional but u know souls are eternal and they r born around same souls again and again and do come in contact to whom they were related earlier…….so she must somewhere around u in different costume.

  7. Priyanka says:

    Deeply moved by your writing….could feel the pain….You have kept her memories alive by sharing this post. May her soul rest in peace! Hare Krishna!

  8. Raji says:

    I can imagine how painful it is to loose someone who we liked so much. May God give you enough strength and her memories might fulfill the gaps. We are with you! People leave something with us to be in our memory for ever. I guess this is one such recipe. Very good one.

  9. kumudha says:

    I just lost my father, and I’m finding solace in Lord Krishna’s saying – souls never die…

    Thank you so much this wonderful post…

    Blog: global vegan fare

  10. Sivani says:

    May she rest in peace.
    Will try making this and report to you. :)

  11. How heart wrenching…I always feel heart broken when I lose some one as close as this…Its very hard and he void is never filled. When Jayshree of Kailas Kitchen passed away 2 years ago, I was in shock. We were almost soul mates and spoke to each other almost every day…I could never get over her loss.!!!

    Shobha

  12. Krishna says:

    Just today came across your food blog when searching for Rajma Recipe but then when I went through this post of yours felt very sad for the loss of your friend .I will definitely try this recipe that you made a note of many years back and try it and give you my feed back . All the best in your work .

  13. shivani says:

    tried this recipe today with brown rice and it was realy awsome.Hubby and children liked it

  14. El says:

    Very touching. Special friends are hard to find. beautiful recipe too.

  15. Supriya Nair says:

    Hi Anushruti..New to your space. love the recipes you have here. I am sorry about Jasma. But as you said, the soul still lives. It lives in our memories and memories are something that we cherish forever. Loved her version of Pulao.

  16. Sannidhi says:

    I made this yesterday. It Tasted great!

  17. Vasumathy says:

    we readers demand a post.:)

  18. Lakshmi says:

    Hi Anu…. Been a long time since we’ve seen any posts. Hope everything is okay. Look forward to seeing something new soon :)

  19. Anushruti says:

    Vasumathy: :-) Your wish is my command!

    Lakshmi: Thanks for your interest and support to divinteaste.

  20. Anushruti says:

    Vasumathy: :-) Your wish is my command!

    Lakshmi: Thanks for your interest and support to DivineTaste

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