Masale Bhaath (Spicy Rice)


Masale Bhaath is a traditional Maharashtrian pulao usually served at weddings. It is spicy & flavorful. The unique taste of this popular rice dish is due to the Goda Masala. The Goda Masala is a special blend of spices. The mix includes coconut & a very important spice i.e. Dagad Phool (Black Stone Flower) which is the key ingredient which imparts an exceptional flavor to the masale bhaath. Each Maharashtrian household takes pride in preparing  their own Goda Masala. This masala is also easily available in the supermarkets in Maharashtra. The authentic version is prepared with short grained  but fragrant “ambe mohar” rice. You may use “sona masuri” rice which is also a good substitute. Enjoy this wonderful preparation with “koshimbir” which is raita.. J 
Ingredients :
200 gms Basmati Rice (pick, wash & soak in water for 30 mins.)
2 med. Onions (peel & chop finely) (optional)
3 tbsps. fresh Tamarind Pulp
½ cup fresh/frozen Peas
½ cup fresh Tendali (Gherkins)(sliced lengthwise; cut into 4 pieces)
½ cup fresh Cauliflower florets (washed)
2 med. Potatoes (wash, cube & soak in water with a pinch of salt)
2 fresh Carrots (peeled & sliced ½ inch lengthwise)
2 med. Brinjals (wash, destem,cube & soak in water with a pinch of salt )
4 tbsp. Goda Masala
1 inch cube of Jaggery
4 tbsp. Vegetable Oil
Water as required
For the Tempering :
2 Green Chillies (slit & deseed)
2 tsp. Turmeric pwd.
1 tsp. Hing (Asafoetida)
6 fresh Curry Leaves
1 tsp. Mustard Seeds
Whole Garam Masala
5 Cloves
2 Cinnamon Sticks
3 Green Cardamom (slightly crushed)
2 Black Cardamom (slightly crushed)
5 Peppercorns
1 Star anise
2 Bay Leaves
1 tsp. Shahijeera
Masala Powder :
½ cup dessicated coconut
2 dry Red Kashmiri Chillies (destem & deseed)
4 tsp. Coriander Seeds
2 tsp. Cumin Seeds
Lightly roast the above & grind to a fine powder. Keep aside to use later.
For Garnishing :
2 tbsps. Desi Ghee (Clarified Butter)
5-8 Whole Cashewnuts (optional)
A handful of fresh Coriander Leaves (chopped)
½ cup fresh Coconut (scraped)
Procedure :
Drain the soaked rice & the soaked vegetables & keep aside.
Heat oil in a pressure cooker till hot.
Reduce heat & add the tempering ingredients & the garam masala mentioned above.
Let is splutter. Add in the chopped onions & saute till the onions are lightly golden.
Then put in all the vegetables & saute for about 7 mins.
Add dry roasted ground masala, goda masala & stir fry for about 2-3 mins.
Add rice & stir fry again for another 5 mins.
Add in the tamarind pulp & stir very gently.
Pour in boiling water so as to cover the rice & about an inch above the rice.
Add the jaggery & stir till it dissolves completely.
Adjust salt to taste & stir well again.
Fix the cooker lid & the whistle. Switch off the heat after 2 whistles.
Release the steam completely & then open the lid.
Do not stir the masale bhaath. Let it sit for about 15 mins.
Meanwhile heat a small pan with ghee.
Add the cashew nuts fry till lightly golden.
Gently transfer the masale bhaath to a serving bowl.
Pour the cashew nuts along with the ghee.
Garnish with fresh coconut & coriander & serve with koshimbir.
Tips & Variations :
The proportion of water used for cooking depends whether you are using a cooking pot/dekchi/handi or pressure cooker.
The quantity of water used may depend on the quality & age of the rice used.
Many Maharashtrians prefer Ambe Mohar rice which is a delicate, fragrant & short grained rice.
You may use a combination of vegetables you prefer.
You may use tomatoes or slightly sour curds instead of tamarind pulp if you prefer.
You may increase the amount of Goda Masala & chillies if you like a strong flavor & extra spicy.

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