Sunday, July 02, 2006

Danima Annam/Pome Rice

 A few days back there was a front page article in one of the Welsh dailies which said that it has been scientifically proven that Pomegranates can indeed be used in treating several heart conditions,lipid disorders and even prostate cancer....The headline said that Pomegranates can extend life!!.....The irony of life is that Man is for ever in the quest for longer life while Nature has its own ways to end his desires!Whether life is prolonged or not,this fruit is definitely capable of giving quality to life.

Pomegranate(Anaar/Danima/Urumambazham),though Iranian in origin,has in fact spread all over the world, including the Himalayas!In the ancient mythologies it was considered to be symbolic of righteousness,and you find plenty of allusions to it in the ancient Greek mythology,Turkish and Egyption myths and even in the Holy Bible(in some ancient artistic depictions, the pomegranate is found in the hand of Mary, mother of Jesus) and Holy Quran.There are plenty of interesting stories and rituals related to Pomegranate.Abduction of Persephone,the Goddess of the underworld who eats pomegranate seeds and spends 6months in the Underworld; and her absence mourned by her mother Demeter, the Goddess of harvest-This is believed to have led to the origin of seasons!On Christmas day it is the Greek tradition to have at the dinner table "polysporia", the Pomegranate.Very much like the Indian tradition of breaking an Ash gourd or coconut during a housewarming or on auspicious occasions,it was Greek tradition to break Pomegranate on the ground at weddings, on New Years and when one buys a new home.It was tradition for the guests to bring Pomegranate as their first gift and is placed under/near the ikonostasi, (home altar), of the house, as a symbol of abundance, fertility and good luck. Pomegranate decorations for the home are very common in Greece.Ironically Pomegranate has given the name to the modern ' hand grenades' as well(due to its shape)!!

Mythology apart,Pomegranates are indeed one of the best food and dietary supplements.One Pomegranate a day can give 40% of an adult's Vitamin C requirement for a day.(No wonder ancient Egyptians were even buried with Pomegranate seeds!)The juice can be used as an antiseptic when applied to cuts,is an antioxidant, good for stomach disorders,good to cut down your bad cholesterol and is a rich source of folic acid too.So pregnant ladies top up your meal with some anar!

Pomegranate is widely used in the Arabic,Greek,Turkish,Persian(Anar Dana),Indian and Pakistani cuisine to enjoy it as it is!Sometimes sweet and sometimes tangy, this fruit was widely used in the middle east as a substitute for Tomato.The Dried seeds are available in the market and is very much used like Aamchoor for adding tanginess to the curries and chutneys.For those who are interested, this is a good
  • Pomegranate recipes
  • link.So much said, here goes my Danima Annam(which tastes something like Bisibele bath) recipe:

    Pomegranate-2(Not so ripe)
    Tamarind paste-1 1/2 tsp(adjust according to the tanginess of Danima)
    Basmati Rice-1 cup
    Red chilli powder-1 1/2 tsp
    Turmeric powder-1/4 tsp
    Green chillies-2(pounded)
    Baby potatoes-4(peeled and cut into thin slices)
    Fenugreek seed powder-1/4 tsp
    Asafoetida- a pinch
    Cashew nuts-25g(for garnishing)
    Curry leaves-2 sprigs
    Coriander leaves-2 sprigs
    Dry red chilli-2
    Mustard seed-1/2 tsp
    Salt-as required
    Oil-as required


    Open the pomegranate by scoring it with a knife and break it open, remove the seed casings and the internal white supporting structures.Put it in a handblender,blend it into a fine juice.Sieve the juice if you dont want that biting effect of the seeds.Keep it aside.Now cook basmati rice with double water in microwave at high for 20 minutes.(You may cook rice in pressure cooker as well).Once the rice is cooked add the pomegranate juice to it with tamarind paste, a pinch of salt and a tbsp oil.Mix well and keep it aside. Now heat 1tbsp oil in a wok.Add mustard seeds,dry red chilligreen chilli and curry leaves.Once the seasoning has spluttered,add fenugreek seed powder,asafoetida powder, 1 tsp red chilli powder,pounded garlic and saute for a couple of minutes.Add the seasoning to the Rice.Cook the rice on a simmering flame for 3 minutes.(It will be soggy like Bisibele bath). Roast the chopped potatoes with 1/2 tsp chilli powder, turmeric and salt.Add cashews to it and saute them till it becomes golden. Now pour this over the rice.Garnish with a few chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with
  • VankayaBatata Fry
  • and Onion raita!


    nav said...

    "Danimma Annam" that's a totally new one for me. Also, quite interesting to know lots of background information about pomegranate. Great post! BTW, I am wondering if the danimma imparts a sweetness to the dish on the whole !

    indianadoc said...

    >Nav,u shdnt use the very ripe ones...and the slight tinge of sweetness will be compensated by the tanginess of the tamarind..If by chance your pome happens to be too sweet, balance it with the tamarind and the chilli powder...just like it is done in most of the sweet n sour dishes of South India,especially the Andhra dishes...

    sherin said...

    I have seen in many North Indian recipes,anardana powder but hesitated to add because I was not sure of its taste.Your post has been very informative and next time I shall definitely get one anardana packet too.Thanx a lot.

    Anonymous said...

    Great post. I will definitely try this when I find pomegranates in any nearby store.

    Anonymous said...

    Great post. I will definitely try this when I find pomegranates in any nearby store.

    indianadoc said...

    Thanx swapna for dropping in...Pl do try.... it is definitely a Pulihora with a difference!!