Hi my sweet friends n readers..Here I am back on this beautiful evening..Actually I was planning to make this post in the morning,but got a very bad headache n was sleeping all the day n dreaming all sorts of crap..:D..So kitchen was closed today n I had some yummy Pasta from Domino’s.It was the first time I was doing a home delivery from them,n dunno if its my killing hunger ,the chicken carbonora pasta was too good..my tummy singing happily n am all up too..:) Its slightly cold here n almost dusky feeling n am enjoying it..Just like a rain is hanging from the clouds n anytime it can drop down..:D..!
Ok ,before I go into some serious digressions n give way to my sleepy head to torture you all with my infinite imagination ,lets go to today’s dish..A Vegetable Pulav..totally aromatic n yummy..! Talking about this dish,I have a few memories associated(Alert: Serious blabbering ) with it.I was never a fan of this dish,n in Kerala I’ve had it maybe 2 times or so.For me, any rice main dish would be either fried rice or Biriyani..both non veg..n also the Pulao in south India is so different..Dunno if any of you have had my same experience..But there in restaurants,they make it with peanuts n coconut flakes n God knows what else..Bleh...I wasn't very keen in food related issues then as I am today..so never noticed much..If its today,I’d have done a serious research n dug out all the possible ingredients in the dish.That's what happens when we go out for food in restaurants now..:P..I start my research n will frown n think hard rather than eat n it’ll reach a point when people will start thinking ,this gal is total nuts.Often a nudge from my better half brings me back ..:D So so.. I didn't like Pulav’s then n never ordered it again.After coming here and seeing Pulao’s in hotels,I got to see that's its actually very different.It looked just like our Biriyani n the fragrance was so too tempting for anyone..I tasted n it was good..It tasted almost like Biriyani n had so much flavor n fragrance..
For my Non Indian friends,Pulao n Biryani are both rice dishes with a different method of preparation.While Biriyani requires much more precision n care with layering,baking n mixing,Pulao/Pulav is much forgiving dish,in which you half-cook the veggies in an spicy sauce n then dumps the rice into it n completes the cooking..much more easy yet very yum..
So,last time when we had some friends coming over for dinner,I decided to try this Pulav ..All the other dishes were non veg..n so I thought putting this in will be a nice option.Usually I avoid trials ,when someone comes over u know..:D..But this is a simple rice dish n I thought maximum folly that can happen is that the rice can go overcooked..So I set in..Even for Biriyani’s I have never tried this one pot cooking method .Even thought it sounds easy,I am always worried if the cooking time of veg/meat n rice will go hand-in-hand.So this time I took extra care n thank God I could save my face,it came out nice..:)
I have taken some tips like adding yogurt n all from Vah-ree-vah chef..(quite a perky cute guy he is..I like his enthusiasm n energy)..otherwise its the simple cook the veggies-mix with rice n cook method.He made it in rice cooker ,but I didn't want to take that risk with guests coming in..Use nice quality long grain Basmati rice for this..Mint is the star of this dish n please please don't try this without mint leaves.I wanted it so badly,that just before cooking I sent Kutts to buy mint n it was out of stock n then we had to buy a small box of organic mint at a bomber price.Nevertheless,it made the dish what it was..:) !
Wash 2 cups of Basmati rice 2-3 rounds in water n soak it with double the amount of water ie,4 cups.
Now clean n chop all the veggies you like to add n keep it handy.I have added beans,peas,carrot n cauliflower.around 2cups or slightly more of veggies is what we need.
Now in a blender just pulse some whole garam masala with onions.I took a 2 inch cinnamon stick,3-4 cloves,3 cardamom pods,2 piece Javetri/mace n pulsed it with 1/2 cup of onions.I did so as I don't like to get a bite of these. spices while eating Pulav.
Heat enough ghee/butter/oil( I added ghee n oil half-half) n splutter 1 tsp black cumin seeds.
Add these crushed spice-onion mix n 2 bay leaves.Sauté in low heat till its fragrant.
Now add 1 Tbsp minced garlic n 3/4 Tbsp julienned ginger(paste can also be used).
Sauté till its golden n thrown in 1/2 cup of thinly sliced big onions(sweet walla walla onions taste so good in this dish)
Sprinkle salt n sauté well n now throw in 2 Tbsp of minced green chillies n 1 Tbsp crushed pepper corns.
Now add 1/2 tsp turmeric powder,1-2 tsps of chilli powder,1/2 tsp cumin powder, 1 tsp coriander powder n 1/2-3/4 tsp fresh garam masala(fennel,cloves,cinnamon,cardamom,mace) (Slightly heat the masala’s before adding..tastes better).
Mix well till raw smell goes n then pop in all the veggies.Take care that all the veggies are almost of same size,else they wont cook evenly.
Add 1 cup of minced mint leaves n 1/2 cup of minced cilantro.Sprinkle some kasuri methi as well..
Mix the veggies with the masala base n add 1 cup of thick yogurt.
Adjust salt,reduce heat n simmer for a while.Sprinkle a pinch or two of sugar as well n mix..just a trick to enhance taste..:)
Now as there is moisture in this masala base,we needn't add exactly the double amount of water with the rice..so just remove some 1/4 cup of water from the rice and pop the rice n water into the veggie base.This is a gut feeling..you can add more water at a later stage if you feel the rice should be cooked a bit more.Its always better to add lil water at a later stage n cook rather than getting a mushy Pulav.This way,it came perfect for me.
At this stage you can transfer the veggies n add rice to a rice cooker n let it cook in it.But I cooked in a large pot.
Add enough salt n now bring this mix to a boil then reduce the heat n close the vessel with a tight fitting lid.
Let it cook for some time.Keep checking in between.
When you see that the top of the rice mix has dried up nicely,take a bite n see if the rice n veggies are properly cooked n salt level is ok.
Adjust accordingly.Mostly the rice n veggies would be cooked by then n you can sprinkle some ghee n fluff it with a fork/spork.Don’t use any plain spatula or tava for Basmati rice.it’ll break n mush.If you see its still watery in the middle or down,cook with lid open for lil more time n then remove from heat n let it rest.If its still moist ,during this period it’ll firm up.
Fry some cashew nuts n raisins in ghee n sprinkle over the pulao.You can add some fried onions as well..Lil saffron water also if you like it.Sprinkle more of fresh mint/cilantro n kasuri methi.
Close n rest it for an hour or so for the flavors to mingle.
Yummy Pulav is ready to serve with some nice cool Raita..:)
Verdict: It was awesome n tasted great.Mint n the spices took it to another level n the fragrant Basmati rice absorbed all the flavors. As I have explained it long , it may appear tedious to you.But actually its easy,n I elaborated so much for first timers in kitchen..just to take that extra care to make the perfect Pulav.If you follow this method you can create the awesome restaurant style(or even better) Vegetable Pulav.So do try it on the next special occasion n don't forget to let me know.:)
If you are fan of Biriyani n Pulav’s do check my rice dishes with this tag..you can navigate using the older posts link down at the bottom of each post...there is Malabar biriyani n kozhikodan Biryani n such of my humble trials..
..n this goes to Raks for her cooking for guests event..:)
Ok foodies..you all have a great yummy weekend..!:)