Shahi-Tehri: light one-dish summer meal : The Tribune India

Pushpesh Pants

TEHRI is one of the dishes that reminds you of the Cinderella story. Most people think of it as the poor country cousin of the vegetarian pulao or a pretentious khichdi trying to ascend into high society. Nothing could be further from the truth. There was a time when this delicious one-dish meal was regularly cooked at home in the heart of Hindi and enjoyed. There is a saying in UP, ‘Tehri mein kamaal ghee ka, tareef badi bahu ki!’ This basically means that the taste of tehri depends on the quality and quantity of ghee used, but credit is claimed or given to the favorite eldest daughter-in-law. But let’s not lose our way in the alleys of the common family policy.

Recently we sampled a ‘shahi tehri’ and were intrigued by the labeling. What can be royal (shahi) in a common dish? Our hostess pointed out the rich filling – cashews and raisins, crispy fried onions and expensive (but more exotic) broccoli. His gaze asked us: “What more do you want? Didn’t I turn the ugly duckling into a swan? We are always a little concerned when the prefix shahi is used to describe a menu item. Most often, the sauce is excessively enriched with a hazelnut paste and the cream does the rest. However, this tehri was a surprise. Toppings aside, it was light and refreshing and incorporated enough vegetables to recommend it as an ideal summer lunch, or even serve it as a main course to dinner guests.



Rice 1 cup

Peas (preferably fresh, shelled) 1 cup

Broccoli floret (medium sized, divided into smaller florets) 1

Carrots (scraped and cut into thin sticks) 100 g

Pepper (red and yellow, remove 1/2 each

marrow and cut into small pieces)

Onion (thinly sliced) 1 (small)

Garlic-ginger paste 1 teaspoon

cloves 2

Green cardamoms 2

Black peppercorns 3-4

Coriander powder 1 teaspoon

1/2 teaspoon yellow chili powder

Cumin (jeera) powder 1/2 teaspoon

Ghee 1/4 cup

Raisins (lightly fried) 2 tbsp

Cashews (dry roasted or lightly fried) 10-12

Salt to taste

Method: Soak the rice in water for 15 minutes. Heat the ghee in a frying pan and sauté the onion in it until nicely browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside on absorbent paper. Add whole spices to ghee, sauté briskly for 30 seconds. Add the ginger and garlic paste and continue to sauté for another minute. Add the peas and other vegetables. Sprinkle with spice powder, salt and stir to combine well. Add the soaked rice after draining it. Pour two cups of water. Stir well with a light touch and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, covered, 8 to 10 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking until the water is absorbed. Fluff the rice with a fork before serving and garnish with raisins, cashews and fried onions. To be enjoyed with a bowl of curdled milk.