Mango & Lime Fried Rice

Mango and lime are one of the few flavour pairings that compliment each other beautifully – the sharp pugnacious lime when combined with the slightly sweeter notes of mango lifts any dish to another level. With the summer in full swing in India, when it is almost unbearable to cook over a hot stove, this recipe comes together in less than 30 min even if you have to cook the rice. If you are among those who always end up having cooked rice leftover, this recipe will literally takes no more than 10 minutes. Minimal effort, maximum flavour.
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Except for raw mango which is seasonal, although I gather not any more as they are found in supermarket aisles all year around, the staple larder ingredients make it such a breeze to put it together as a light main course for lunch or dinner. The toasted peanuts add the much needed crunch and texture along with the sweetness from the carrots to balance the dish against the strong flavours.

Despite the apparent ease of the recipe, to me, getting the rice perfect is the most important constituent of this dish. Fluffy but not sticky, separate grains without being raw. Anything else and you will end up with a lump of rice, which is far from what is desired. The secret to this as in my notes below is to resist the temptation to stir the rice while cooking. Just keep your hands off – the best quality rice will not tolerate vigorous stirring. Too much stirring will result in broken grains. The other point to remember is to use a good nonstick base, which will ensure that the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom on a high heat. If you are using leftover rice from the previous night, heat it  in the microwave for a couple of minutes with a splash of water to refresh and run a fork lightly through it to separate the grains and use as per instructions.

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I know am going on a bit about cooking rice but every time I hear someone complaining about their rice sticking, this is first question for them…have you stirred the rice while it was cooking?

This tangy fried rice topped with crunchy toasted peanuts and grassy spring onions is perfect to wake you up from the summer slumber with an explosion of flavours and textures. If you give it a go, let me know what you think and post your pics!
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Ingredients

  • Basmati Rice – 1 cup, uncooked
  • Raw Mango – 1, medium size, diced into 1/4 inch cubes
  • Spring Onions / Scallions – 4-5, chopped fine
  • Carrot – 1, medium size, diced into 1/4 inch cubes
  • Limes – 1-2, juiced
  • Green chillies – 1-2, finely chopped
  • Fresh Ginger – 1 inch piece, finely chopped
  • Shelled peanuts – 1/2 cup, toasted
  • Vegetable oil – 3 – 4 tablespoons
  • Ground Turmeric – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Fresh mint leaves – 8 -10
  • Salt to season
    unnamed Method
  • Begin by rinsing and soaking the rice in cold water for 10 minutes. Place the soaked rice in a heavy bottomed pan with two cups of water and half a teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Once the water starts boiling, lower the flame, cover the pan with a lid and cook until all the water is absorbed and rice is cooked. This should take no more than 8-10 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and fork through a teaspoon of vegetable or sesame oil to prevent the grains from sticking and allow to cool.
  • While the rice is cooking, dice the mango, spring onions, carrot, chillies and ginger and toast the peanuts.  Reserves some of the spring onions and peanuts for garnish.
  • In a large wok or frying pan, heat the oil till fairly hot and toss in the ginger and chillies, followed quickly by the peanuts, spring onions, diced mango and  carrots. Stir fry these for 3-4 minutes till the veggies are just cooked and crunchy.

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  • Add in the rice, turmeric and salt ( do bear in mind that you already added salt to the cooking rice) and stir with a forked ladle till all ingredients are well combined. Turn off the heat and squeeze in the lime juice. Garnish with spring onions, peanuts and torn mint leaves and serve immediately with fried crispy poppadoms.

Notes

  • This recipe is great for using up left over rice as it looses the excess moisture in the refrigerator overnight and helps to achieve the right texture;
  • Adjust the quantity of lime juice as some varieties are more tart than others and with the raw mango accompanying, the two need to work in balance with each other;
  • Do not be tempted to stir the rice in between the cooking process as that will break the grains and you want fluffy separate grains for this recipe;
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