Sunday, June 20, 2010

Mom's Vegetable Pulao

Mom's Vegetable Pulao - this is one recipe which I consider precious. Mom made this ever since we were kids and we loved this simple Pulao recipe. Since I am miles away from my dear mother, this is my way of connecting to her actions, thoughts, inspiration, moods and moments. I have been a Mommy's Little Gal all through my life and needless to say she means a lot to me. She was delighted that I rejoiced the flavour of her all-time favorite recipe.

I have tried to balance the ratio of spices so that none overpower each other and yet blend to bring out the uniqueness. I love the light green hue and the beautiful flavour which goes well with any tangy Raita of choice.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30-45 minutes

Basmati Rice - 1 cup
Vegetables (chopped into 1/2" chops - Carrots, Beans, Cauliflower florets) - 2 and 1/2 cups

For Green Masala -
Cloves - 3-4
Cinnamon - 1" inch piece
Whole Black Pepper - 3-5
Cardamom - 2
Green Chillies - 2
Ginger - Garlic (minced) - 1 and 1/2 tablespoon
Star Anise - 1
Poppy seeds (Khus-Khus) - 1/2 teaspoon
Onions (chopped) - 1/2 cup
Coriander leaves (minced) - 1/2 cup
Fennel seeds (Saunf) - 1/2 teaspoon
Cumin seeds - 1/2 teaspoon

For Seasoning Pulao -
Onions (quartered) - 1/2 cup
Cumin seeds - 1/3 teaspoon
Cashew Nuts (chopped into bite sized bits) - 1/2 cup

Wash rice in water multiple times till the water is clear and clean. Soak in water for 1/2 before use. Cook rice separately with 1: 1 and 1/2 proportion and once done, separate grains with a fork on a big tray to cool. Pressure cook vegetables separately with little salt, keep aside.
In a pan, heat few spoons of oil/ghee, lightly saute the Cloves, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Pepper, Poppy seeds, Star Anise and Ginger-Garlic-Green Chillies. Take care not to burn the spices else the Pulao gets the burnt aroma which is awful. Once sauted, add chopped Onions and keep aside. On a very low flame, separately saute Fennel seeds and Cumin seeds (their cook point is lower and hence are prone to burning), set aside and allow to cool. Grind both together along with little or no water to a smooth paste, also add Coriander leaves and sauted Onions while grinding. Keep the paste aside.
In a big thick bottomed pan, saute the onions which are quartered with little oil/ghee, once transparent and pinkish in hue add the ground Green Masala. Add the cooked vegetables at this stage. Let the consistency be a collective mass. Add the cooked rice at this stage. Mix gently and take care not to break the rice. Pour few spoons of ghee finally on top and cook on low-to-medium flame with a covered lid for 5-8 minutes. Serve hot with Raita of choice.

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