Recipes: Kashmiri Pulao

Kashmir – the very name is so evocative and exotic. The northern most state in India, this snowy region is quite devoid of vegetatation and so recipes from this region feature more meat and game than vegetables. Everyone, including the Hindu brahmins eat meat and vegetarian recipes are sparse on the ground in this state.

S loves Kashmiri Pulao which is found in the menus of most restaurants and wanted me to make it over the weekend. I checked around and found a recipe I liked, but omitted the fruits that more often than not are found in restaurant menus. This one is a slightly plain recipe, but you can always add fruits if you like.

Kashmiri Pulao

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Basmati rice, washed and soaked in water for 20 minutes, drained and kept aside
  • 2-3 small onions, sliced finely vertically. If you are using bigger onions, cut horizontally in half and then finely vertically
  • 1 pinch of saffron, soaked in 2 tbsp warm milk for 15-20 minutes.
  • 10-12 cashew nuts
  • 10-12 almonds
  • 3 cloves
  • 3-4 green cardamom
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-inch piece of cinnamon
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp finely chopped ginger
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seed powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 3-4 tbsp ghee

Method:

  • Dissolve the saffron strands in the warm milk and keep aside.
  • Heat 2-3 tbsp ghee in a pan and fry the sliced onions until the onions are crisp. You can sprinkle a pinch of salt while frying them. Once the onions are crisp and brown, remove them to a plate with kitchen paper and keep aside.
  • In the same pan, add in the cashew nuts and almonds and fry until they are brown and crisp. Remove and keep aside.
  • In the same pan, add more ghee if needed and fry the cardamom, cloves, bay leaf and cinnamon and saute for around 30-40 seconds.
  • Then add the chopped green chillies, ginger and fennel powder and saute for a couple of seconds.
  • Now add the soaked and drained rice and season with salt and saute for a minute.
  • Then add the dissolved saffron with the milk and saute for a couple of seconds.
  • Transfer this to a rice cooker and add the appropriate amount of water (around 1 cup). If you are cooking on the stovetop, continue cooking covered with the lid on till the rice is almost cooked.
  • When the rice is cooked in the rice cooker, fluff the rice with a fork and add the fried onions and nuts and mix well. Let it be on warm mode for another five minutes before serving it hot with a Kashmiri Yakhni.
  • If cooking on the stovetop, when the rice is almost cooked, fluff the rice and add the onions and nuts and mix well. Cook for another 5 minutes more till the rice is completely cooked and then serve hot.
  • If you want to add fruits, you can add chopped apples, pineapple and pomegranates which you can add when you add the onions and nuts.
  • Enjoy the delicious Kashmiri Pulao and think of the frozen beauty of this state while eating it. I served this with a Potato Yakhni which I will put up very soon and link it here once I upload the recipe.

Recipes: One Pot Coriander Rice

I was feeling very lazy to cook last week and didn’t want to make something complicated. I thought of making some kind of a pulao, then zeroed on to this coriander rice. This is a one pot meal and is super yummy and delicious! It’s also very easy to make, even if you are a novice in the kitchen.

One Pot Coriander Rice

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Basmati Rice, washed well and soaked in water for 20-30 minutes.
  • 2 medium sized onions, sliced finely
  • 1 small green bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 carrot, cut into 2-inch strips
  • 1 medium sized potato, cut into 2-inch strips
  • 1/4 cup green peas
  • 1/2 cup paneer, chopped into 2-inch strips
  • 1/2 cup chopped coriander leaves
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • 1-inch piece of ginger
  • 5-6 green chillies
  • 4 pieces of clove
  • 4 pieces of cardamom
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp ghee or oil

Method:

  • Drain the rice and keep aside.
  • Blend together the coriander leaves, garlic pods, ginger and green chillies to make it into a fine paste and keep aside.
  • In a pan, heat the ghee or oil and when warm, add the cumin seeds. When the seeds splutter, add the cloves, cardamom pods and the bay leaf.
  • Then add the onions and sauté till it becomes translucent. Add the bell pepper and continue to sauté.
  • Add the remaining vegetables (except the paneer) and sauté for around 5 minutes.
  • Now add the blended paste and the paneer and stir well. Add salt to taste and when the mixture starts to bubble, add the drained rice and check for seasoning.
  • If using a rice cooker, pour this with around 1 to 1.5 cups of water and cook till done.
  • If using the stove top continue to cook using water as required. The rice should be separate and well done.

I served this with my Sweet Corn Sundal which I repurposed as a salad for today and a pineapple and onion raita.

Pal Payasam

Since yesterday was Diwali, here’s a sweet recipe to sweeten your lives. Happy Diwali folks!

As the name suggests, it is a milk kheer or milk sweet. In its very basic form, this is the simplest of the south Indian sweets and hardly needs 3-4 ingredients to make. It’s fairly easy to make with the only effort being in reducing the milk.

Pal Payasam

Ingredients:

  • 1-litre milk
  • 1 tbsp basmati rice (or any long grained rice)
  • 4-6 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • A pinch of cardamom powder (optional)

Method:

  • In a large pan, boil the milk and when the milk starts to boil over and bubble, reduce the heat and continue to boil the milk.
  • In a smaller pan, heat the ghee and fry the rice for around 30 seconds.
  • Pour the rice into the boiling milk and keep stirring till it reduces to half the original quantity.
  • When the rice has completely cooked, add the sugar and the cardamom powder (if you are using it).
  • At this point, you can also use a few strands of saffron as well as some fried cashew nuts and raisins.
  • Continue boiling until the sugar gets absorbed into the milk.
  • Switch off the flame and serve hot or cold.

Recipes: Spinach Rice

I love one pot meals. The chance to have a complete meal without getting many dishes and pots and pans dirty is great! The children love spinach and have been asking me to make spinach rice for a while now. So I decided to make it last week. This is slightly different from the way I usually make it, so thought to document it here.

Spinach Rice

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup spinach, washed and chopped
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 4-5 pods of garlic
  • 1-1.5 inch ginger
  • 1 large or 2 medium-sized onions
  • 1 medium-sized green capsicum
  • 4-6 green chillies (depending on the size and your spice tolerance)
  • 1 bunch of coriander leaves
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 4-5 cardamom pods
  • 4-5 pieces of clove
  • 2 inch piece of cinnamon
  • 2-3 cashew nuts
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  • Wash the spinach thoroughly and keep aside.
  • Wash the basmati rice well, soak it in water for 20-30 minutes and then drain and keep aside.
  • In a dry skillet, dry roast the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon till they are done and emit and nice aroma. Keep aside to cool.
  • Soak the cashew nuts in warm water or milk for 10 minutes to soften it up.
  • Chop the onion, green capsicum, green chillies, ginger and garlic and keep aside.
  • In a blender blend everything – the spinach, green capsicum, green chillies, coriander, onion, ginger, garlic, cashew nuts and spices to a smooth paste and keep aside.
  • Heat a pan with the ghee and when the ghee warms up, add the bay leaf and stir for a couple of seconds.
  • Then add the spinach paste and stir well. Season with salt and let it cook well, making sure it is still a vibrant green colour.
  • Take the washed and drained rice and add to this paste. Transfer to a rice cooker and cook with 3/4 cup (or as you need for your rice) of water. Once cooked, let it sit for a while before you take it out of the cooker.
  • Serve hot with some crisps and a raita of your choice.

Notes:

  • If you are cooking in your stovetop when you add the rice to the spinach paste, let it mix for a minute, then add the water and any seasoning you want and cook covered on a low to medium flame till done. Let it sit for a while before opening the cover.
  • You can also make the paste in advance and store it in the fridge or freeze it. When you want to make the rice the next day, just add it to the rice in the rice cooker or on the stovetop and continue as above.
  • I didn’t have any coriander with me but had Green Chutney at home. So I substituted coriander with a couple of tbsps of this Chutney.

Recipe: Navratan Pulao

A couple of weeks back, this recipe popped up in my Facebook feed. It is a recipe from the Sanjeev Kapoor’s WonderChef brand. I only had one view and when I was wondering what to cook this weekend, I decided to make this and used what I thought was the recipe.

Navratan traditionally means nine gems and so I decided to make this with nine ingredients, including dry fruits and excluding rice and spices.

Navratan Pulao

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups basmati rice, washed and soaked for 30 minutes
  • 1 large onion, sliced finely
  • 1 carrot, julienned into slightly thick strips
  • 1 sweet potato, julienned into the same size and shape as the carrot
  • 1/2 cup green peas
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 10-12 cashew nuts
  • 10-12 almonds
  • 1 handful raisins
  • 2 green chillies, chopped into large pieces
  • 1 tsp finely chopped ginger
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4-5 cloves
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 4-5 green cardamom pods
  • 2-inch cinnamon
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  • Drain the rice and keep aside
  • In a pan, heat the ghee and when warm, fry the cashew nuts, almonds and raisins, one by one, remove, drain and keep aside.
  • In the same pan, with the remaining ghee, add the cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaf and cardamom and stir for a couple of seconds.
  • Now add the chopped chillies and ginger and give it a stir.
  • Add the vegetables and stir well.
  • Now add the washed rice, the fried dry fruits and salt and stir well.
  • If you are cooking this in a rice cooker, pour the rice into the rice cooker, add 3.5 cups of water and check for salt and let it cook.
  • If you are cooking on the stove top, add 2 cups of water and let it cook. Check occasionally and add more water if needed.
  • You can serve this with any gravy based vegetable or even just with a salad and a raita.