Vadi/Vari/ Badi, the sun dried lentil cake is very popular in Sindhi cuisine.There are many recipes to make the sun dried lentil cakes at home, but generally the store brought, spicy, Amritsar Vari is preferred. The Vari, bursting with flavors of black pepper and garam masala imparts a meaty flavor to whatever dish it is added, be it the potato curry or the Pulav.
Traditionally, in Sindhi Cuisine, a flavorsome Pulav is made using Vari, the preparation being bit elaborate and the ingredients, of course, varies from recipe to recipe ! But I was in a mood to savor rice with pronounced flavors of Spicy Amsritsari Vari. Hence I cooked it in similar way as Sindhi Bhugha Chaanwarn (Rice cooked with caramelized onion) but of course it had some enhanced aroma and flavors, courtesy, the spicy Vari ! The preparation is simple but the resulting dish will tickle your taste buds just like the way any complicated Biryani does!
- Rice (Basmati or any other) 1 cup
- Amritsari Vari/ Moongdal vari/mixed lentils vari/ Sun dried lentil cakes 3
- Onion 1
- Red chilli powder ½ tsp
- Tejpatta (bay leaf) 1
- Cloves 2-3
- Black cardamon, 1(only skin)
- Dalchini 1 inch stick (Note instead of Khada masala, Garam masala powder can also be used for non spicy taste, so in that case use ½ tsp of garam masala powder )
- Salt as per taste
- Oil 2 tbsp
- Wash and soak rice for 10-20 minutes.
- In a handi, put one tbsp of oil and heat it. Break the Varis into smaller pieces and shallow fry till nicely browned. Drain on kitchen towel and keep aside.
- In the same handi, put 1 tbsp of oil (or less, if there is enough oil left from frying varis) add, one by one, all the whole spices and wait for few seconds. Add sliced onion and mix well. Cook on medium flame, till onion turns nice brown in colour.This slowly caramelized onion imparts a unique flavor to the rice. Do not let the onion get charred.
- Add red chilli powder, (and garam masala powder in case khada masala is not used) and add fried vadis.
- Quickly add around 2½ cups of water, and bring the mixture to boil. Simmer for a while till vadis turn bit tender.
- Now add rice and salt and mix it gently.
- Cook on high heat for some time and then cover the handi with a lid and cook rice on lowest flame, till done!
- Serve hot with any gravy based subzi or simply with curd/ raita/ pickle or papad.
We enjoyed this spicy rice with Macroli Patata, a mildly flavored macaroni and potato curry along with some traditional Sindhi pickle !