A Leftover Makeover

Maharashtrian-style turmeric fried rice, known as Phodnicha Bhaat, is, in my humble opinion, the quickest and easiest way to give leftover rice a great new makeover. Leftover rice is stir-fried in a small amount of oil seasoned with turmeric and a few other basic spices, along with curry leaves, chopped onions, and green chilies. This simple preparation was a staple in my childhood, and I still make it whenever I have leftover rice and want to jazz it up. To boost its nutrition, I recently created a version by throwing in some fresh moringa leaves and frozen green chickpeas in the mix. It turned out amazing!

Phodnicha Bhaat (Turmeric Fried Rice) with Moringa Leaves

Phodnicha Bhaat

Phodanicha Bhaat, the humble Maharashtrian-style fried rice dish, creatively repurposes leftover rice with just a handful of ingredients from your pantry and turns it into a delicious and flavorful meal. The word “Phodni” (फोडणी) in my mother tongue, Marathi, refers to the process of tempering or seasoning the oil to flavor the food. It involves heating oil with spices and aromatics to release their flavors and aromas. This hot infused oil, also known as phodni (or tadka/tarka in other parts of India), serves as the starting point for preparing a dish or is drizzled on top of a prepared dish as a finishing touch to enhance its flavor.

The name “Phodnicha Bhaat” literally translates to “tempered or seasoned rice,” where “phodni” means tempering or seasoning of the oil and “bhaat” means rice, in Marathi. As the name suggests, the dish involves stir-frying rice in the oil seasoned with mustard seeds, cumin seeds, asafetida and turmeric, along with aromatics like curry leaves, chopped onions, and green chilies. Its specifically made with leftover rice but of course, you can use freshly prepared rice as well!

In my house, rice makes a rare appearance on our dinner table, perhaps once a month or so. I think it’s partly because whenever I make Indian curries or stir-fries, my husband and daughter prefer whole wheat rotis or naan on the side. I make plain rice only to go with dal, but whenever I do, I make extra so I can prepare Phodnicha Bhaat with the leftovers.

Phodnicha Bhaat with Moringa Leaves

My version of this simple childhood favorite is a little jazzed up! I add chopped garlic (or frozen green garlic if I have it) to the phodni along with spices, green chilies, and chopped onions. For a vitamin and protein boost, I like to incorporate ingredients I have on hand in my refrigerator, such as chopped leafy greens like fenugreek leaves, frozen peas or green pigeon peas. Finally, I love to finish it off with a generous squeeze of lemon or lime juice for a burst of flavor.

With a bunch of moringa leaves on hand, I decided to throw them into the mix. I also had frozen green chickpeas in my freezer and thought of using them instead of the usual frozen peas. The aromatic turmeric and tempered spices perfectly complement the nutritious moringa leaves and green chickpeas, creating a delightful balance of health and taste while transforming leftovers into a feast! Served with some cooling spiced yogurt, it is a hearty and healthy meal that comes together in no time.

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Phodnicha Bhaat (Turmeric Fried Rice) with Moringa Leaves


  • Author: Vasanti

Description

Maharashtrian-style turmeric fried rice using leftover rice with moringa leaves and green chickpeas.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2 cups leftover cooked basmati or any other rice
  • 1-1 1/2 cups of moringa leaves (see FAQs & Notes + Variations)
  • 2 tbsp neutral oil of choice (see Variations)
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp asafetida
  • 3/41 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 small onion, roughly chopped
  • salt, as needed
  • 1/4 cup frozen green garlic, thawed by rinsing under tap water (see FAQs & Notes)
  • 12 Thai or bird’s eye green chilies, thinly sliced (skip or use less for milder heat)
  • 1/2 cup frozen green chickpeas, thawed by rinsing under tap water (see FAQs & Notes + Variations)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • lemon or lime wedges, for serving

Spiced Yogurt, optional, for serving

  • 1/2 cup low fat, unsweetened plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp fine ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp black salt
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • salt, as needed

Instructions

  • Rinse the moringa leaves in a colander under cold tap water.
  • Transfer them to a chopping board and chop them roughly.
  • Heat oil in a deep sauté pan over medium heat.
  • When the oil starts shimmering, add the mustard and cumin seeds along with asafetida and turmeric.
  • When the seeds splutter and the turmeric and asafetida froth, add in the chopped onion, sliced green chilies and green garlic.
  • Sprinkle with salt to help the onions soften faster.
  • Sauté for 2-3 minutes over medium heat until the onions are translucent.
  • Stir in the thawed green chickpeas. 
  • Toss in the chopped moringa leaves.
  • Pour in the water and stir to combine. 
  • Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes over medium heat.
  • Check to ensure the green chickpeas are soft and the moringa leaves have cooked well. Moringa leaves are tougher than other leafy greens and need longer time to cook well. If not cover and cook for another 2-3 minutes. 
  • Stir in the rice along with the sugar.
  • Mix well to combine and cook covered over medium low heat for 3-5 minutes allowing the flavors to develop. 
  • In the meantime, whisk the Greek yogurt along with the spices and seasonings and transfer to a bowl.
  • Serve warm with the spiced yogurt on the side. Squeeze the juice out of a lime or lemon wedge, if using.

Keywords: Quick & Easy, Maharashtrian Recipes, Healthy Recipes, Leftover Makeover

Step-by-Step Details

Step: 1

Rinse the moringa leaves in a colander under cold tap water.

Step: 2

Transfer them to a chopping board and chop them roughly.

Step: 3

Heat oil in a deep sauté pan over medium heat.

Step: 4

When the oil starts shimmering, add the mustard and cumin seeds along with asafetida and turmeric.

Step: 5

When the seeds splutter and the turmeric and asafetida froth, add in the chopped onion, sliced green chilies and green garlic.

Step: 6

Sprinkle with salt to help the onions soften faster.

Step: 7

Sauté for 2-3 minutes over medium heat until the onions are translucent.

Step: 8

Stir in the thawed green chickpeas. 

Step: 9

Toss in the chopped moringa leaves.

Step: 10

Pour in the water and stir to combine. 

Step: 11

Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes over medium heat.

Step: 12

Check to ensure the green chickpeas are soft and the moringa leaves have cooked well. Moringa leaves are tougher than other leafy greens and need longer time to cook well. If not cover and cook for another 2-3 minutes. 

Step: 13

Stir in the rice along with the sugar.

Step: 14

Mix well to combine.

Step: 15

Cook covered over medium low heat for 3-5 minutes allowing the flavors to develop. 

Step: 16

In the meantime, whisk the Greek yogurt along with the spices and seasonings and transfer to a bowl.

Step: 17

Serve warm with the spiced yogurt on the side. Squeeze the juice out of a lime or lemon wedge, if using.

Recipe FAQ’s and Notes

How to strip moringa leaves off their thick, large stems?

Pinch the stem near the top with the fingers of one hand, then run the fingers of your other hand down the length of the stem from top to bottom. This way, the leaves will come right off from the stem where they connect. The smaller, thinner stemsare tender enough to eat. You can simply chop them up along with the leaves.

Green garlic or substitute?

Frozen green garlic is available in Indian stores or the fresh variety is available at farmers markets seasonally.

Alternatively you can use the same amount of green onion along with 2-3 minced large cloves of regular garlic cloves if you can’t find it.

Where can I find green chickpeas?

Fresh green chickpeas, when in season, are available at farmers markets or Indian grocery stores.

Indian grocery stores also carry frozen green chickpeas that are available year round.

Recipe Variations

Substitute the moringa leaves with equal amounts of fresh fenugreek or spinach leaves or a combination of the two!

Try other leafy greens like chard or kale!

Substitute half the amount of oil with ghee for a rich, nutty flavor.

Add raw peanuts or cashews to the hot oil along with spices, chilies and garlic for an added crunch!

Substitute green chickpeas with frozen green peas or green pigeon peas (available in the Indian grocery stores).

Happy cooking
Vasanti

What did you think?

Rate + Review

Leave a Message

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

Hi I’m Vasanti
…and I ❤️cooking ‘n clicking!!
I share a modern take on Indian cuisine made using nontraditional techniques and ingredients, while staying true to its authenticity. You’ll also find classic recipes from my beloved Maharashtrian culture and heritage.



Cookbook

Classic and Innovative Recipes for the Homecook

It's a Signature Concoction!


Phodnicha Bhaat (Turmeric Fried Rice) with Moringa Leaves

Ingredients

Instructions

FOLLOW ALONG ON INSTAGRAM @signatureconcoctions