My name is Sarah and I am a carbaholic. There, I said it, it’s done. Judge me all you skinny people with your zoodles and quinoa. By the way I like both things just fine, but put a steaming bowl of tehri in front of me and well…. I think you know how this plays out.
I have always loved Tehri unlike the rest of my siblings which meant I didn’t get to eat it as often as I liked, but when I did it always felt special. It was a dish that I had only ever seen made in my house and it didn’t even occur to me that there was another way to make it. When I got married my mil told me about her way – a way that involves tomatoes, curry leaves, and onion seeds and creates a flavor explosion which makes this a fun change from my usual. It is also different from my usual curry that I do not pre fry the potatoes for it. In this one you slice them nice and thin and cook it with the rest of the dish making this a one pot meal. Who doesn’t like a one pot meal?
2 cups basmati rice, washed and soaked
1 1/2 to 2 cups potatoes sliced into 1/2 cm thick squares
1 onion diced
4 tomatoes finely diced
1-2 sprigs of curry leaves
1/2 tsp nigella/onion seeds/kalonji
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2-3 finely sliced green chillies
2 tsp salt
1 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
a glug of neutral oil – enough to cook the bottom of your pan
Take out a nice big pot, preferably non stick, but if you use a heavy bottomed one then increase the oil and make sure you keep checking for sticking (add a little water).
Heat the oil and add in your cumin seeds, nigella seeds, and curry leaves. When it gets spluttery and aromatic add your onions and green chillies and saute on until the onion starts to brown at the edges. Then add the rest of your spices and stir fry until they darken slightly, if they stick to the bottom of the pan add a splash of water.
Then add your tomatoes and cooked till softened (like above), add your potatoes and keep cooking till the mixture has transformed into a rich red paste with a sheen of oil rising above it. I know it seems odd to put the potatoes in this early, but trust me you don’t want half cooked potatoes ruining the tehri experience!
When the masala is done, add your rice, and then add just enough water that you have approximately half an inch of water rising above your rice. Now some brands cook quicker than others so please adjust the water accordingly. In a pinch you can add more, but taking water away – that’s not so doable. Bring the water to a boil, and cook on medium till the water level drops to that off the rice, then simmer on low heat to tender fluffy perfection. Again if your brand of rice cooks quickly then please start with less water and watch your cooking times!
I personally really like this Tehri with a ‘green’ raita – a handful of cilantro and/or mint whizzed with some green chillies, mixed into yogurt and seasoned with a little salt. Such a perfect pairing. That said this is really good on it’s own or with your favorite ‘achar’ i.e. pickle.