Phodnicha Bhath is a very simple and popular rice preparation made with cooked rice flavoured with spices, which is served as breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. This dish is also commonly known as Tadka rice or Masala rice such as Capsicum Masala rice, Corn Masala rice, Masala peas rice etc.
Phodni in Marathi means tempering and Bhath or Bhaat means rice, hence the name Phodnicha Bhath. This is a very quicky and easy recipe which can also be prepared with plain steamed leftover white rice. Tempered with amazing aromatic spices, this is a lip-smacking one dish satisfying meal that can be cooked in just few minutes and can be eaten on its own or served with any mouth-watering, delicious korma dish or gravy based dish.
Rice is a quintessential and comforting food. It is also the staple food for south Indians. Rice by itself is generally quite bland but there are an astonishing number of different rice varieties. You may think Basmati is a variety – but there are about a dozen variants of Basmati. It is thought that there are over 40,000 varieties of cultivated rice as the scientists continually try to improve flavour, yields, and disease resistance and so on.
The beauty and epitome of preparing scrumptious fried rice is its adaptability. A bowl of steaming white rice cooked just in the right consistency added with bits of nutritious vegetables, spices and fresh herbs makes wonderful Vegetable rice or filled with succulent pieces or chicken gives an incredible Chicken fried rice. No wonder fried rice is one of the world’s most popular rice dishes. The vital point in making fried rice is using rice that has been previously cooked as the older rice is dryer and fluffier which reduces the chances of ending up with a wet and gloppy dish. Long grain rice which comes out fluffier and non-sticky is perfect for fried rice dishes.
There are umpteen number of Rice varieties that are often used to suit local culinary tastes. For example, Japanese use sushi and sashimi which are short grained variety and becomes sticky when cooked. Other short or medium grained varieties are used for various purposes in America, the UK, and the West. Basmati is one of the most well known varieties of Indian rice that is recommended for Indian food. It is grown in India and Pakistan in the Himalayan foothills, where it is thought to have originated and is known as “the prince of rices”.
It is very long and slender grained and, unless it is overcooked, should not be sticky, but fluffy with separated grains. It is aromatic and has a distinctive delicate fragrance (in Sanskrit it means ‘the fragrant one”) and a nutty flavour. Rice is also categorized by the length of its grain, as long-grain, medium-grain, and short-grain. Long-grain rice, such as basmati and jasmine, is less sticky and fluffier when cooked, and ideal for preparing flavoured rice dishes such as biryani, fried rice and pulao or pilaf (which includes Shahi pulao, Zafrani pulao, Vegetable pulao, Andhra Chicken pulao etc). Medium-grain rice is more sticky and chewy, while the shorter varieties, such as the Italian arborio, are extremely sticky and chewy, and good for dishes like the Indian Khichdi (pongal) and Italian risotto and gruels like ganji or conji.
The various kinds of rice form the staple food for about half of the world’s population. It is eaten extensively all over the South and East of Asia as well as in Africa, Middle East, Latin America and the West Indies. In terms of grain production it is second only to maize. As a rough guide to its importance, the Chinese word for rice is the same as their word for food. Phodnicha Bhath or Masala bhath can be served either as a main dish or side dish. Simple fried rice, without any vegetables, meat or seafood, makes a nice substitute for plain cooked rice at an evening meal. At Chinese banquets, fried rice is frequently served at the conclusion of the main meal, before the dessert course.
To prepare this delicious and appetizing Phodnicha Bhath, firstly heat 2 tbsp oil in pan and when the oil gets hot, add mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start crackling, add cumin seeds, chopped onions, green chillies, curry leaves and salt. Sauté the onions until they are translucent.
Add hing, turmeric, red chilli powder, garam masala and chopped tomatoes. Cook them until they become soft and then add the cooked rice and toss gently. Top it off with chopped coriander and switch off the flame. Cover the pan with a lid and allow it to sit for about 5 mins so that all the flavours blend nicely before serving.
This recipe can also be made using leftover cooked rice and in Maharashtra it is called as “Phodnicha Bhaat”. Serve hot with fried papad, yoghurt and mango pickle.
You can add roasted peanuts to enhance the taste and flavour.
If you are using leftover rice then rub the rice between your fingers to get rid of any clumps before cooking.
One of the secrets of fried rice is that the ingredients are cooked separately – helping them maintain their distinct flavours – and then combined in the final stages of cooking.
Health benefits of rice are many. They are a great source of complex carbohydrates which give us the energy we need. Rice contains all the amino acids essential for building and maintaining muscle tissue, and make up antibodies, enzymes, and hormones. These amino acids also help maintain healthy skin, hair, eyesight, and nourish the heart, lungs, tendons and ligaments, brain, nervous system and glands. As far as calories, carbohydrates, and protein are concerned, both brown and white rice contain similar amounts. However, in terms of vitamins and minerals, brown rice is a good source of vitamins such as Vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin) vitamin B3 (niacin), iron, along with magnesium and dietary fibre. Rice is low in fat, cholesterol, and sodium and hence makes a perfect food for those with high blood pressure and requiring a low-sodium diet. The calcium in rice (especially brown rice) helps lower blood pressure.
White rice is one of the easiest and quickest foods to digest requiring only an hour to completely digest it. As such, rice is an ideal health food for those who are debilitated and weak and require easy assimilation and quick energy. Because of its low fibre content, white rice is very soothing to the digestive system and rice gruels along with buttermilk are recommended for digestive disorders such as diarrhoea, dysentery, morning sickness, colitis, and jaundice.
Do try this dish and enjoy its flavours and benefits.