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In my not-so-extensive vocabulary, Pakistani food can be divided into two categories viz., Any-day-dishes and Many-day-dishes.

Any-day-dishes are those for which one prays to God to get any day e.g. nihari, qorma, biryani, haleem, halwa puri etc.

Then there are Many-day-dishes. These are generally good for health therefore less popular. These are eaten widely because they are light on pocket and stomach. Once made, they usually last for many days, hence their title. To top this list are few like tinda, loki, kaddoo, torai, bengan, daal (lentils) etc. This situation reminds me of a sher:

ya rab meray naseeb meiN rizq-e-halal de
khaane ko qorma aur khilaane ko daal de

rice masaala

Ingredients and Apparatus:
1. Onion - one - mota wala (healthy one)
2. Tomoatoes - four - medium and pilpilay (flubbery)
3. Coriander leaves - one hundred - don’t count but visualize.
4. Yogurt - plain - buy more - use less - only 4 spoons.
5. White Rice - 1 glass - adjust the size of the glass according to family size.
6. Olive Oil - 4 spoons - because cooking dil ka moaamla hai (is a matter of heart) and olive oil is good for your heart - wizarat-e-sehat ATP!
7. Shan masala packet of any type of rice. I’ve used pulaao biryani.
8. Pots and Pans: 1 Pot and 2 Pans

Step 1: Take an onion and cut an onion

It is better to cut the same onion that you took. Yes I am talking about the same one onion. Cut it so that it looks like the one shown in the photo to the right.

This type of cutting is called ‘chop chop’ in English and ‘chaap-o-chaap’ in Urdu/Punjabi mix

Step Two and Three: Cut 4 medium tomatoes and some coriander leaves.

To save everybody’s time I have decided to combine steps 2 and 3. Look at the photo to the left below and look at the tomatoes infront of you. Do anything to make your tomatoes look like mine. If 4 medium tomotoes are not available then 2 large ones or 8 small ones will do. Now look at the photo to the right below. This is how washed and cut leaves of coriander should look like. Put coriander leaves aside now. We don’t need them until the very end.

Step Four: Put Onions in a Pan and Fry them
Photo shows this step of cooking. I’ve used so little of olive oil that you cannot see it in the photo. But be rest assured that it is there. Just use bare minimum oil that is needed to fry the onions.

Fry the onions until they start to become transparent. To test their transparency lift a piece of onion with a fork and try to ’see through it.’ Of course you will fail, becuase I’ve tried and failed. Anyways, sometime soon the onion pieces will start to look like a little bit transparent i.e. translucent - in case you needed the exact scientific term. That’s it guys! Stop what you were cooking and now immediately go to Step 5 of this recipe’.
Step Five and Six: Put tomatoes and Yogurt in the Pan

..and continue to fry. The visual of this step is shown in the photo to the right. The goal of this step is to create an amalgum (or bubble gum) of onion-tomato-yogurt paste and add masala (spices) to it.

Now ’stir and wait’ for two minutes and then ‘wait and stir’ for two more minutes.

Look yonder! Lo behold. your paste is ready. Now pour half packet of Shan rice spice in it and ’stir and wait’ for 5 minutes. For a family of three, half pack of Shan spice is plenty spicy. Now that the ‘masala’ part of your ‘rice masala’ dish is ready, put it aside and concentrate on next step

Step Seven: Cook White Rice

So now that we’ve got our pots and pans straightened out, pour one glass of rice in the pot. Pour two glasses of water on it and boil on
medium heat. Keep boiling until enough water has evaporated and you can
see the surface of rice. Now cover the rice pot and reduce heat. Wait,
wait and wait. Take a fork and pinch the rice from here and there to
make sure water has evaporated all the way to the bottom of the pot.
Your rice are now ready to be devoured. Make sure you don’t eat them too
fast otherwise your mouth may get burned. kehtay haiN (it is
said) that:

husn ko chahiye andaaz-o-adaa naaz-o-namak
kia hoa gar hoay chaawal ki tarah gaal

Step Eight: The Last Step
Take your second pan - which has remained empty and out of action so far.

(1) From the rice pot take some rice and spread in the empty pan
(2) From the masala pan. take some masala and spread as a layer over rice.
(3) From the rice pot take some more rice and spread over masala layer
(4) Repeat Step 2
(5) Repeat Step 1 through 4 until nothing is left in rice pot and masala pan
(6) Sprinkle one hundred coriander leaves on the top.

This is your finished product. Your very own dish of rice masala.

Following are two photos of ‘rice masala’ dish which I made few days ago. It indeed lasted ‘many-days’.

(1) Rice masala photo with Camera Flash ON

(2) Same Rice masala photo with Camera Flash OFF

khatam shud - The END

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