Cold winter days and warm comforting food go hand in hand. It’s getting really cold in California and all we crave for is piping hot soup or rasam served with steaming rice and delicious South Indian vegetable masala dishes. I am clad in my thickest sweater and socks all day long. There is burning candles in every corner of the house plus optimal warming from the heater to keep us cosy.
My son is down with cold and cough. I was reminded of my favorite winter food – milagu sadam which my mom would make during winter nights. A rice dish made with ghee (clarified butter), black pepper corns and cumin seeds. In South India, this rice in most homes during rainy season or cold “markazhi” (winter) months.The whole pepper corns and cumin seeds are lightly toasted in a teaspoon of ghee.
The peppercorns are the best natural remedy to combat cold and flu.The cumin seeds contain antioxidants and anti-flatulent properties. When someone suffers from upset stomach and cold, this rice is served as a medicine. Now you will understand why I call my Indian pantry as a pharmacy. Remedy for certain diseases are available from the kitchen rack. Cumin seeds along with pepper corns and ghee serves two purposes. It’s tasty and also helps to cure your flu symptoms. That’s what Ayurvedic cooking is all about. Food is medicine and medicine is food. Do make this rice to prepare yourself for the cold days.
In order to continue my mom’s tradition, I made this super quick rich dish for my family today. Today was a busy Sunday for me and I had very little time in hand to cook. This rice came as my saviour and also helped to serve the right food for the right time of the year. I cooked and cooled the rice and mixed in a simple spice powder I made with cumin seeds and pepper corns. I added a drizzle of ghee to the hot rice and served it with crunchy plantain curry.
You can make the same dish with basmati rice, brown rice or quinoa. You can add roasted curry leaves, sauteed garlic, peanuts or cashews for added crunch and flavor. It takes less than 5 minutes to serve this dish.
MILAGU SADAM RECIPE
2 cups cooked and cooled white rice
For the spice powder
- 2 tablespoon black pepper corns (whole)
- 2 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon black salt (use any salt)
- 1 tablespoon ghee
- Roast the peppercorns and cumin seeds in one teaspon ghee for 2 minutes. Cool and grind them to a coarse powder in a coffee grinder and use a mortar and pestle to powder them. Add salt.
- Mix the spice powder to rice and add the remaining ghee.
- Serve hot with plantain/ potato curry.