Jun 22, 2007

Vegetable Pulao

We are soon approaching the end of our A-Z vegetables journey and I take this opportunity for the letter “V” to present my favorite supper. Indian food is diverse and the combination of dishes one can cook using vegetables is humongous. While an amateur cook struggles and learns the basics of cooking different vegetables, a daring cook experiments with different dishes and tries new vegetables. It becomes a matter of challenge, enthusiasm, and passion for cooking to go ahead and try stuffed parathas, Indo- Chinese dishes, soups, and pizzas. My favorite always has and always will be experimenting with rice dishes.

I love the results that rice and vegetable combos turn out. The simple addition of tomato and cilantro add a whole new flavor to Tomato Rice. Egg slices and spices produce spicy, flavorful Egg Pilaf. Though I have not made the famous Wangi Bhaat, I have tasted and loved it. A bunch of different veggies clubbed with Chinese sauces gives rise to everyone’s favorite Fried Rice. While these veggie-rice combos are easy to put together, there are other varieties that include time, effort, and loads of patience to try out. Top in the category are Vegetable Pulao and Biryani. Cutting vegetables is the most time consuming task; once done, it’s as good as half of the work been done. Whilst the pulao being a mixture of rice, vegetables, and pulao masala cook to perfection, the biryani is an intricate dish prepared using layers of vegetable gavy and saffron-flavored rice.

Aai (mom) often made vegetable pulao on Friday nights. It served three purposes – it gave her a welcome break from the usual chapatti bhaji, and it gave her a valid excuse to stuff our tummies with our not-so-favorite veggies. And of course, making pulao allows you to clean the fridge of all those itty bitty vegetables. The addition of saar would be “sone pe suhaga”. Now, I was a light eater in my teenage days and only such favorite suppers would turn me into a hungry hyena. I would/could/do consume at least 3-4 plates of vegetable pulao and saar. Check out the recipe.

Vegetable Pulao

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 1 ½ hour
For the masala:
After the success of metkut, my confidence in making home-made masalas has increased. This was one more attempt of making one such powder – the pulao masala. The source of the masala recipe is Annapoorna.

Grind together 2 tbsp coriander seeds, 1 tbsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp shahi cumin seeds, 3-4 sticks of cinnamon (1 inch long), 5-6 cloves, 1 tsp cardamom powder, and 5-6 black peppers. The masala is ready. Make this just before making the rice, the fresh masala will add a splendid taste to the rice. The same masala can be used for masale bhaat and khichdi.

Ingredients for the pulao
1.1 ½ cups basmati rice (or any other long grained rice)
2.1 tbsp ghee (butter) for making pulao and 1 tsp for frying cashews
3.2 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
4.3-4 cloves (lavanga)
5.2 pieces of 1 inch long cinnamon sticks (dalchini)
6.5-6 black peppers (meere)
7.2-3 bay leaves
8.1 large onion – sliced thin
9.½ cup cauliflower florets
10.¼ cup carrots – diced
11.¼ cup French beans – cut into 1 inch long pieces
12.½ cup green peas
13.1 tbsp cashew pieces
14.Salt to taste

Making the pulao
1.Wash the basmati rice in 3-4 changes of water. Add double the quantity of water (3 cups in this case). Microwave the rice for 12 minutes. We need half cooked rice and you can alternately pressure cook with less water. Once the rice is cooked, hold it under cold water. This will separate the rice grains and make them fluffy. Drain all the water and keep the rice aside.
2.Heat 1 tsp ghee in a pan on low flame. Add 1 tbsp cashew pieces and fry till they turn light brown.
3.Heat a pan on medium flame. Add 1 tbsp ghee to it. Next, add cumin seeds, wait for them to splutter and then add bay leaves, black peppers, cloves, and cinnamon sticks. Fry for a minute.
4.Add the sliced onion and fry till the onion turns translucent. Now, add the carrots, cauliflower florets, peas, and french breans. Cover and cook on medium heat till all the vegetables are cooked. Stir the vegetables from time to time.
5.Add salt to taste and 2 tbsp of pulao masala (reduce the amount of masala for less spicier pulao). Mix well with the veggies. Add the fried cashews.
6.Add the rice cooked in step 1 and mix together. If you like loads of ghee in the pulao, add 1 tsp more at this stage. Cover and cook for 5-6 minutes.
7.Serve hot with tomato saar, papad, raita, and pickle.

This pulao-saar combo is a great dish to serve guests at dinner parties. Don't skip the essential veggies such as cauliflower, peas, and carrots. You can add more veggies to clean your fridge or to force some in your naughty kid's tummy:) Enjoy!


Vcuisine said...

The Pulao looks great. Always the home made spices add taste. Viji

Coffee said...

Hehehe.... I agree..... its a great way to clear the fridge ;)

Saar and pulav must be delicious! :)

Srivalli said...

Hi Swad,

Nice write up and your dish is looking so yummy...


Nupur said...

The pulao masala sounds so aromatic and delicious! I so agree...different combos of rice and veggies are the basis of my everyday cooking too.

Manasi said...

Pulav and saar!! wonderful combo!!! infact a wonderful meal!! no need for anything else!!

Aruna said...

Swapna, Veg Pul;ao with Saar combo is something new to me, nevertheless they look delicious.
Do checkout my Vegetable Baath :)


Sig said...

Wow Swap, the pulao looks yummy... that is one great way to clear out the fridge, versus my way of dumping the stuff into the trash bag :(

Anonymous said...

great recipe...looks nice and moist...thanks for sharing

Roopa said...

yumm the pulao and saar are great combo for a complete meal. looks delicious!

Sandeepa said...

The pulao looks great. Veg fried rice is always a good way to feed kids veggies, I do that for my 3 year old too :) Timeless tricks , huh ?

Asha said...

YUM! YUM!! Looks like a great combination Swapna.I will save this.Thanks:)

Dr. Soumya Bhat said...

Hi swapna,
This is so simple and looks great.Love the curry there in pic too.

Swapna said...

Thanks friends for all your comments.
Aruna: Will definitely try your vegetable bhaat.
Sandeepa: Kids have timeless tricks of their own:))

Jyothi said...

Hi Swapna, this is first time at your blog. Till now thinking, missed a lot. :)... Great entry. Vegetable pulao looks fabulous and yummy. Thanks for sharing.


TheCooker said...

pulav and saar is my fav combo!
the pulav looks great.