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Celebrating Special Friendships with Chana Rijai ...

After settling in Dubai, I made a few wonderful friends from different parts of the world.I learnt there are no boundaries when it comes to friendships..much like how we can travel to any kitchen around the world by cooking a dish originating from anywhere...a friend's mothers or a well known chef's recipes from a distant land.

I was gifted a beautiful recipe book by a special friend called Summers Under the Tamarind Tree by Sumayya Usmani , who was passed on this recipe by a friend whose father is from Attock , Pakistan.

Dedicating it to all my dear friends , who have crossed all boundaries ;I have picked this recipe simply because it is what friendships usually are ; uncomplicated and easy. It is because of my dear friends who have kept in touch with me all through this time , that I am able to stay calm , focused and happy.

Enjoy this Light Dish , perfect for summers and light activity days ...

Sumayya Umani has called it Attock Channa Rijai


1 ¼ cups of brown basmati rice

2 tblsp ghee

2 tsp cumin seeds

1 star anise

1 tblsp whole black peppercorns

1 no. black cardamom pod

2 large onions , sliced moon shaped

1 tsp each , garlic and ginger, freshly grated

1/2/3 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and boiled

Salt , to taste

2 nos. green chilies, finely chopped

2 tblsp water

To prepare:

  1. Wash and rinse the rice, soak in a bowl with water for 1 hour

  2. Heat ghee in a pan and add the whole spices. Fry for 30 seconds until the cumin begins to pop.

  1. Add the onions, ginger and garlic and fry, stirring over medium heat for 3-4 minutes until the onions are soft and light brown. Add the drained chickpeas , salt and green chilies for a few seconds more .

  1. Add the drained rice , stir and mix for about 1 minute and then add water enough to cover the rice . Cover and Par cook it .

  2. The water should have been almost absorbed. If totally absorbed , add 2 tblsp of water and reduce the heat to low . Cover with a tight lid and let it cook in its own stem for 10-12 minutes. All the water should be absorbed and rice to be cooked.

I served it hot with cucumber raita and potato curry.

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