Mint and peas rice: Of labour pangs and the creative urge!

Mint and peas rice / pudina rice:

“Push, push, push…

Breathe easy. Take a short rest. C’mon now – you can do it!

Pull, pull very gently – it’ll tear!

Yes, I see it – just a little!

There, a bit is out – omg – it’s so beautiful!

The shoulder is out now…there she comes – what a beauty! Lime green with little polka dots and little roosters all over the other side”!!

WHAAAAA….? What DID you just say? The baby is green and has hens all over it???

Yes, that’s what I said. And that’s just what I delivered – says this proud mom – of her very first tote bag!

I’ve discovered this wonderful place close to my home where the most awesome lady called Tina teaches the exciting stuff I’ve always wanted to learn – quilting, making totes, weaving bags, EVERYTHING dear to the heart of a crafter!

The first time I visit her studio, having heard about it, as you do all the most important things in life – from a Facebook forum – I am blown completely away – she has EVERYTHING  a needler could ever dream about – from threads to threaders to machines galore, spools of thread and scissors and needles of every kind – including I am sure, one through the eye of which a camel could pass!

I sign up for classes – super excited to be in the company of other new found friends who are happy to talk about threads and needles and suchlike…

Slowly, very slowly – I did mention somewhere in these chronicles that I am a slow learner – I learn to make some things. Struggle over weaving a bag,  quilt some cushions – some all awry, some halfway decent – but I am uniformly proud of ALL my creations – the cross-eyed cushion cover is still my baby!

I start a tote – picking the fabrics carefully from Tina’s treasure trove. She, the patient, perfectionist teacher, gives me very clear instructions on cutting.

“Be very careful NOT to cut this backing fabric here” she points.

I nod vigorously – getting my exercise for the day with my head and neck muscles.

She turns around to answer a question from my fellow learner and i cut – exactly where she told me NOT to!


She turns back and the cheerful soul that she is, laughs it off, tells me how to correct it. Reassures me that students have done worse, including cutting off bits of themselves! I love her already!

And so, she painstakingly leads me through the process of making a tote through a long gestation period where I leave a half-finished product in her studio for months!

Then in a fit of determination, fuelled by a friend’s visit to attend a class with Tina, my zeal is re-fired and I finally give birth – to my very first polka dot tote! The process of turning it inside out, however, is what reminds me of giving birth! I push, I puff, I pant and I blow – but it takes me a good half hour of labour before I can push the buckram-stiff cloth the right side out! Phew!

Am thrilled to bits – the same thrill that I still get after decades of cooking and setting dishes down in front of an appreciative audience…

Now for a recipe – I ask my “only younger daughter” which recipe I should put down with this story and without missing a beat, she says “pudina and peas rice”! So here we go:


2 cups mint – washed

2 green chillies

1/2 inch ginger

2 cloves garlic (optional)

Peas – 1/2 cup

1 clove

1″ piece cinnamon

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

Garam masala – 1/2 tsp

Basmati rice – 1 cup – washed and soaked in 1.5 cups water and  1 tsp lime juice

for half an hour.

Salt to taste

Ghee – 1 tbsp

Grind the first four ingredients to a rough paste.

Heat ghee in a pressure pan and add the dry spices. Fry for a few seconds.

Add the paste and fry for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly.

Add the rice with the water and the salt. Bring it to the boil  and let it boil for about 3-4 minutes. Add the peas, cover and cook for one whistle. Lower the flame and simmer for 3 minutes.

Switch off, let the pressure come down and then open.

Eat straight out of the pan – this is a very student type dish! If there’s two of you, get two forks – rather than two plates – save on washing up – also save the planet!