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Magazine

King of pullaos

JYOTI N. PAREKH

EVERY cuisine has a pullao to be served on a special occasion. Rice can be as simple as steamed rice to a very elaborately prepared, richly flavoured and spiced — biryani. Here is a recipe of a simplified version of vegetarian biryani, along with the recipes of western style of pullaos, flavoured with herbs and new vegetables.

Potato and green pea biryani

Ingredients:

Rice 2 cups
Onions, sliced 2
Ghee ¾ cup
Cardamom 6-8
Clove 6-8
Cinnamon a few sticks
Bay leaves a few
Black peppercorns 8-10
Garlic, chopped 6 cloves
Green chillies, chopped 2
Ginger, crushed ½ inch
Salt to taste
Large potatoes, peeled and cut into large pieces 3
Green peas ½ cup
Large tomato, chopped 1
Fresh coconut, grated 3 tbsps
A little yellow colour or saffron
Milk ½ cup
Sliced onions, golden fried ½ cup
Cashew nuts, fried a few

Method:

Fry the onions in a little ghee till golden brown. Add half the cardamom, clove, cinnamon, bay leaves, pepper, garlic, chillies and ginger. Fry for a minute. Then add one and a half cups of water and salt and boil. Now mix in the potato pieces, green pieces and tomatoes. Cover and cook till done and a little gravy remains. Mix in the coconut.

Heat two tablespoons of ghee. Add the remaining spices and three cups of water. Add rice and salt and cook until done.

In a thick vessel, spread half the rice. Cover with potatoes and green peas with gravy. Spread the remaining rice over it. Cover the vessel with a wet cloth and a lid. Put on a slow gas and cook for 10 minutes. Heat the remaining ghee and pour over biryani. Garnish with golden fried onions and fried cashew nuts. Melt saffron in the milk and pour over the rice.

* * *

Spinach pullao

Ingredients:

Rice 1 cup
Chopped onions ¼ cup
Spinach 1 cup
Green chillies 2
Ghee 2 tbsps
Cumin seeds 1 tsp
Cashewnuts a few pieces
Curd 2 tbsps
Salt to taste

Method:

Make a paste out of the onions, spinach and chillies. Wash the rice and soak for 15 minutes. Melt the ghee. Fry the cashewnuts till light golden and keep aside to garnish. Add the cumin to the ghee and, after a minute, the spinach paste. Fry for three minutes. Drain the rice and add to the paste. Roast for a few minutes. Add two cups of hot water and salt. Cover and place on medium heat until cooked. Mix the curd. Serve hot with cashew nuts on top.

* * *

Herbed vegetable risotto

Ingredients:

  • For the rice:

    Rice cooked 1½ cup
    Butter 2 tbsps
    Garlic, chopped 2 cloves
    Spring onions, chopped 2
    Tomatoes, chopped ¼ cup
    Zucchini, cubed ½ cup
    Salt and pepper to taste

  • For the herb sauce:

    Butter 1 tsp
    White sauce 1 cup
    Tabasco 1 tsp
    Chopped parsley 1 tbsp
    Chopped basil 1 tbsp
    Salt to taste

    Method:

  • For the rice:

    Melt the butter and add the garlic and spring onions. Sauté for a few minutes. Add tomatoes and zucchini. Cook on medium heat until done but still crisp. Add salt and pepper to taste.

  • For the sauce:

    Melt the butter and add the parsley and basil. Sauté for a few seconds. Add white sauce, Tabasco and salt. Now mix rice, vegetables and the sauce. Take out in a serving bowl and serve warm. It can be warmed in the microwave or in an oven.

    * * *

    Pullao with roasted capsicum

    Ingredients:

    Rice, cooked 1½ cups
    Oil 2 tbsps
    Long one centimetre broad strips
    of green, yellow and red capsicum ½ cup
    Red chilli powder 1 tsp
    Cumin seed powder ½ tsp
    Dry mango powder ½ tsp
    Garam masala ¼ tsp
    Salt to taste

    Method:

    Heat oil and add the capsicum strips. Mix all the spices and salt. Put in a baking tray and roast in the oven for 40 minutes at medium temperature.

    Take out hot cooked rice in a serving plate. Heap the roasted capsicums in the middle and serve hot.

    * * *

    Rice and pasta hot pot

    Ingredients:

    Rice, cooked 1 cup
    Shell pasta, boiled 1 cup
    Butter 2 tbsps
    Chopped spring onions ¼ cup
    Garlic, chopped 2
    Green chillies, finely chopped 2
    Baked beans in tomato sauce (tinned) 1 cup
    Chilli sauce 1 tsp
    Soya sauce 1 tbsp
    Salt to taste
    Method:
    Melt the butter and sauté the onions, garlic and chillies. Add all the remaining ingredients and boil. Take out cooked rice and pasta in a serving plate and pour prepared beans on top. Serve hot.

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