Tamarind Rice in Cucumber Cups

“Cool as a cucumber
Is a term we often hear,
Specially welcoming
Now that summer is near.
With a tang of tamarind
And a south Indian touch,
From veggie to tapas
Did not take that much!
This rice special
And the fresh crunch,
It’s the appetizer for which
You’ll skip lunch.”
2 cups boiled rice (preferably left over from day before)
2 dried red chilies
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander powder
½ teaspoon asafetida powder
1 teaspoon tamarind paste
2 tablespoons roasted peanuts, slightly crushed
2 teaspoons split yellow gram (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large cucumber, cut into 2 inch pieces
Salt & chili to taste
Heat oil in a pan. Add the yellow gram, peanuts, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, red chilies and fry for a few minutes till the seeds begin to splutter. Add the tamarind paste, along with ½ cup water and the remaining dry spices. Cook on medium flame for 5-6 minutes, till the tamarind is cooked and most of the water has been absorbed. Add the rice, mix well and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.
Scoop the centres of the cucumber pieces and fill with the tamarind rice. Serve cold.