Most of you must be enjoying some respite as it’s back to school time for kids. I am quite happy because I have time to do things now, other than just running around the house trying to look like I’m accomplishing much. It’s not that I mind having the kids at home but when it’s three teenagers, it is hard to keep a schedule. Messy rooms, late-night snacks, birthday celebrations, baking lots of cake for birthdays, girl’s nights (if you have girls), cousins coming over, an oven for a kitchen if you live in Pakistan and countless other stuff that I can rant about (but I’ll be kind and spare you guys). All of it can be a bit exhausting at times.
I love my morning routines when the kids go to school. Having my breakfast: cake rusks and a hot cup of chai while relaxing, is just the best feeling one could have after a long summer. It helps me in making the hardest decision of the day: what to make for lunch/dinner? Just like I have to decide what to post next for the blog. Even though Biryani is always a strong contender, “Pulao/Pilaf” is my middle name. I can never have enough, literally! No dinner at my place is complete without it. If you are coming over you already know what the menu is going to be.
My mother and now my sister are basically Pulao queens. Whenever I see Pulao (the real deal that is), my heart beats faster and my palate gives my brain certain commands (abuse of basic neurology but that is what Pulao does to me, people!) which basically translate to: stop thinking and start eating like there is no tomorrow. Its amazing how only a few ingredients end up making something bursting with so much flavor. I can’t even begin to describe… Insert an emoji here that shows how miserable one can be without pulao.
When I was explaining what to write to Sabeeka (remember her ?? our manager/wannabe boss. Click here if you haven’t read about us) she kept asking me if I ever had trouble making this or if it turned out into a mush instead of rice and I kept telling her that I never had any issues, it always came out perfect. My recipe is extremely easy once you get the hang of it, it does have a few extra steps than normal but that makes all the difference.I know she doesn’t believe me, she probably wanted to smear my Pulao reputation with a horrible story. If you follow my recipe you can proudly tell your daughter ( just like I did) that she is a really bad cook and that’s why she should have learned earlier (satisfied grin). All those years of telling my daughters to learn how to cook and they never did, redemption time :D.
Serves 4-6 |Recipe Prep:Beenish| Photgraphy: Salmina|
Special Masala: Ingredients:
*This is a special masala I make most recipes you will find on the internet do not include this, it makes a huge difference*
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp corriander seeds
- 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/4 tsp chaat masala
Mix all of these ingredients except the chaat masala. Finely grind them into a powder. Sift these using a sieve to remove the larger pieces and to mix them well. Now add the chaat masala. keep this spice mix on the side to be used later.
Ingredients for the rice pilaf:
- 2cups Basmati Rice
- 1 cup fresh/frozen peas
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1/2 tsp garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp ginger, finely chopped
- 2 small green chillies, chopped in small pieces
- 2 large onions, thinly sliced
- 1 large tomato, skinless and chopped finely
- 4 tbsp yogurt
- 2 tsp salt
- 4 cups water+ a few tablespoons
Garam masala: Ingredients:
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 3 cloves
- 1 black cardamom
- 1 inch or a Small piece of cinamon
- Wash the basmati rice until clean. Then soak in luke-warm water for 20-25 minutes. Drain and keep ready.
- Heat oil in a large pot on medium heat.
- Add the onion and all the garam masala. Saute until fragrant. Caramelize the onions, we only want them to have a slight golden color. Do not let the onions turn a darker shade or burn.
- Now throw in the garlic, ginger and the green chillies. Saute for a minute.
- Add a tablespoon of water so nothing sticks to the bottom, mix in the tomatoes as well.
- Cover for 2 minutes to soften the tomatoes.
- Uncover and mix the tomatoes so that they turn mushy and loose their shape and turn into more of a paste. Cook for a few minutes making sure nothing sticks to the pan.
- Add the peas. I usually use fresh peas but you can use frozen ones as well. They taste just fine. Make sure the frozen peas are not expired or have been sitting in the freezer for too long. Cook the peas for a minute.
- Add a few tablespoons of water and cover for 2 minute.
- Uncover and mix in the yogurt and the special masala/spice mix at this stage.
- Add a tiny bit less than the measured 4 cups of water to the pot.
- Once the water comes to a boil, add salt.
- Turn the heat up high and add rice. Do not cover. Mix the rice in with a spoon a few times. keep an eye on the water
- When you see the water has been absorbed and the rice look almost dry turn the flame really low.
- Cover and let the rice cook for about 15 minutes on really low flame.
- Take the pot of the flame, fluff and serve hot.
- If you want to add some more flavor then use chicken broth instead of water, or substitute with a chicken cube or chicken bullion powder.
- Also if you do not mind consuming a bit more oil than normal, add a few tablespoons in the beginning as well.
Anyways lets dig in, shall we.. Hey who took my shami kabab?.. Oh and don’t forget to serve with raita, achaar(pickle) and a light leafy salad.
Aa jao bachon “Mattar Pulao” tayyar hai!!