tehri teamed with coriander chutney, kachumbar salad and a refreshing raita. While many confuse tehri with a vegetarian pulao and think of it as a slightly yellowish variant of a vegetable biryani, food experts do not agree and claim that all of them have their own cultural significance and unique cooking styles that make them different. "Tehri is an apt representation of the composite culinary culture of North India. Though it can be taken as a vegetarian pulao, the technique of cooking it varies. In my opinion, when the rice dish travelled to the Turkish Afghan rulers and further down from there to our subcontinent, it underwent changes to adapt and suit local palates. Tehri can be understood as a product of a need to cater to the vast vegetarian population living in North India and other parts of the subcontinent," noted food critic and writer, Anoothi Vishal.
Interestingly, tehri finds a dedicated spot in the repertoire of Awadhi cuisine. It is believed to have first been created for the vegetarian book-keepers of Muslim Nawabs of the subcontinent. It is also central to the traditional cuisine of the Kayastha community that chiefly inhabits the Northern belt of the country including Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar. Although tehri isn't a lavish affair, it can be classified as a comfort meal that is easy to put together with simple ingredients and yet so satisfying. The use of khada masala (whole spices) is distinctive of the preparation. The best part about it that it can be enjoyed any time of the day and all-year round. Theirs is ample room for creativity and you can experiment with seasonal vegetables or those that you like.
Although making tehri seems to be a fuss-free affair, you could use some tips to make sure to get it right. Toasting the uncooked rice separately in ghee is recommended for a smokey flavour. Similarly, the veggies should also be tempered in oil before teaming them with the toasted rice. This will ensure a flavorsome dish and will keep the rice from breaking.
Keep the following recipe handy and cook up a storm!
Allahabad ki Tehri
Recipe by Chef Aditya Bal
100 ml mustard oil
2 sticks of cinnamon
2 bay leaves
4 brown cardamoms
8 green cardamoms
8-10 black peppercorns
2 onions, chopped
50 gm garlic, chopped
50 gm ginger, chopped
3-4 green chillies, chopped
2 Tbsp cumin seeds, ground
2 Tbsp coriander seeds, ground
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp asafoetida dissolved in water (heeng)
5 boiled potatoes, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
100 gm green beans, chopped
100 gm cauliflower, chopped
Salt to taste
200 gm curd
2 1/2 cups basmati rice
6 cups vegetable stock
50 ml ghee
Bunch of fresh coriander
1. In a heavy bottomed pan, heat mustard oil and add in the cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, brown cardamom, green cardamom, peppercorn, cloves, onions, garlic, ginger and green chilly. Stir for 2-3 minutes.
2. Add in the ground cumin and coriander seeds, turmeric powder, red chili powder, asafoetida water and cook the spices out for 5-6 minutes.
3. Into the masala base, add boiled potatoes, chopped carrots, chopped green beans and cauliflower.
4. Add salt as per taste. Cover and let it simmer for 15 minutes till the vegetables are about 75 percent cooked.
5. Add in the curd and stir well to mix.
6. Next, add in the pre-washed basmati rice and stir till the rice is evenly coated with the base.
7. Add in the vegetable stock, cover and let simmer over a slow flame till the rice is cooked.
8. Garnish with a drizzle of ghee, a sprinkle of fresh coriander and some lime juice.
9. Serve hot!
All those who hail from Uttar Pradesh and others parts of North India will heartily acknowledge their memories of spending Sunday afternoons relishing a plateful of traditional