Sweet Corn, Capsicum Paneer Masala Rice
As a South Indian, I can boast about making a wide variety of rice dishes incorporating everything from herbs, seasonal fruits and veggies and curd too.
Honestly, until few years ago, I was strictly a roti / chapati lover for both my main meals. Once in a blue moon it was rice that was consumed at home and I discovered 3 years ago that since my body is genetically not used to rotis, I may not be able to lose weight effectively if I don’t start eating rice, which is actually the staple food in South India. I was at my heaviest 3 years ago and did not want to take any more chances and followed the traditional recipes of rice and some curry on the side along with a generous portion of vegetables, all cooked in either sesame or coconut oil.
Within the next 3 months, my weight started dropping, which until then, wasn’t showing any signs of losing inspite of walking kms per day. Addition of ghee or clarified butter, worked wonders on my skin, my friends started complimenting me on my skin care routine (which by the way was just 2 tsps of ghee per day in the food intake). I am continuing this trend, and have until then lost about some 12 odd kgs. I know the progress is very slow but atleast the stubborn fat loss and the increased stamina are the huge plus points. Also, my metabolism is very slow and I have always been a heavy child since the longest time. So, honestly, weight loss is very difficult for me. But I don’t give up that easily – Every day I wake up and walk for around 8 kms and come back home charged and energized for the day long activities ahead. The reason for sharing my story here is that Rice is really good and if it is local to your region / state, and the thing that you have been consuming since birth, its high time you switch over to the same and see the benefits. Same goes for ghee!
Everyday consumption of rice or atleast 4 days in a week in my case, means that rice shouldn’t be just plain/steamed all the time with a dal on the side. Honestly, that too gets boring after a while, especially in summers, when you don’t feel like drinking the warm dal and need the cool curd or raitas to your rescue. In that case, I sneak all the vegetables in the rice and make it a one pot meal so that the nutritional quotient remains good. Once I made this Sweet Corn Capsicum Paneer masala rice, my husband instantly loved it and insisted that I make this every week as his colleagues at work too loved it.
Preparation of this masala rice dish doesn’t take very long. If you have leftover rice, it just takes 20 mins to whip up everything. Excellent for kids as you can sneak paneer which is milk protein and does the trick in the absence of dal. Sweet corn is every kids favourite and which makes lunch time interesting and fun. For adults, you can add more vegetables, seasonal produce of your choice. I have made this with a wide variety of vegetables – Brocolli, mushrooms, sweet corn, baby corn, mixed bell peppers, olives etc. Every week, I change the vegetables and then it no more sounds or tastes boring.
Cooking meals are not cumbersome, all it takes is a bit of planning (just a day in advance) and some smart work. I plan all my meals at the beginning of the week and usually chop the vegetables and pack them in fridge. Some prep work like boiling corn, keeping masalas ready etc are usually done the previous night. Since I wake up pretty early and have to head for a walk myself, the food is ready along with breakfast within 40 mins flat and then I happily head for the much needed exercise and Vitamin D. That way, I can come back and relax with a cup of tea, without worrying about my duties.
Hope you enjoy this delicious rice dish and treat your kids and family to this one pot meal this summer.
Recipe for Sweet Corn Capsicum and Paneer Masala Rice
Prep Time – 10 mins (if you have cooked rice or leftover rice)
Cooking Time – 10 mins (30 mins if you plan to pressure cook rice separately)
- 1 cup cooked rice
- 1 big Capsicum chopped into medium sized chunks
- Paneer or Cottage Cheese – ½ cup (cut into small cubes)
- Sweet Corn – ½ cup
- 1 Medium onion finely chopped
- Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
- Jeera or Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
- Oil – 1 tblsp
- Hing / Asafoetida – a pinch
- Turmeric Powder – a pinch
- Paprika Powder – 1 tsp
- Garam Masala Powder – ½ tsp
- Kashmiri Red chilli powder – ½ tsp
- Salt as per taste
- Coriander leaves as required
- Heat a kadhai, add oil and then add the mustard seeds.
- Once the mustard seeds crackle, add hing, jeera or cumin seeds and let it turn slightly brown and then add the onions, saute them until they turn slightly pink.
- Now add the chopped capsicum, boiled corn and paneer or cottage cheese. Stir it well and let the capsicum cook for 5 odd minutes. The vegetable should not overcook and have a bite to them.
- Add the turmeric powder, paprika powder, Kashmiri red chilli powder along with some salt and stir the mixture well once again.
- Add the cooked rice into this mixture alongwith some salt (after checking and adjusting) some garam masala powder and finely chopped coriander leaves. Give it a good mix, close the kadhai or the heavy bottom pan with a lid and allow it to cook on low heat for another 5 odd minutes so that the vegetables and masalas flavor the rice well.
- Switch off the flame, serve the dish with some raita of your choice or plain curd will also do.
Recipe Notes –
- I have used Sona Masuri Organic Hand Pounded Rice which is a short grain variety of rice which we prefer for our daily consumption. You can make this with Basmati variety / Long grain rice variety too.
- We use sesame / gingelly oil for our everyday consumption. You can use veg oil or olive oil if you prefer that.
- You can add tofu instead of paneer or cottage cheese to make it vegan.
- You may add any variety of bell peppers i.e. the red or the yellow ones. Since I had our very own Shimla Mirch at home, I preferred to use the same.
- Excellent lunch box option for the long breaks in school. Paneer is a good source of calcium and protein ideal for the kids. If your kids don’t like to see the chunks of paneer, grate them and add it along with the capsicum, they won’t notice much.
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