I have a quick and easy recipe today. Light but intensely aromatic and colorful that goes well with this spring season. Though in US officially spring is yet to come, but in southern California we already started enjoying spring-like weather. This is a rice recipe with pleasant smell and mix of vegetable and spices, called vegetable pulao. The whole spices and the “ghee” (clarified butter) make this dish so pleasantly fragrant.
Pulao is believed to be a Persian dish (named Pilaf) and originated from Middle Eastern countries. Like many other dishes, this has been introduced to Indian cuisine probably during Muslim rules in India. You can make this dish with Basmati rice, that is mostly used in signature rice dished of Indian cuisine. Basmati Rice is a variety of long grain rice grown mainly in the Indian Subcontinent. The main characteristic of the Basmati rice is the intense fragrance that fills the air when the rice is being cooked.
Vegetable Pulao is not a fancy or an elaborate dish like the Biryani. It is simpler and a quick-fix recipe. Instead of having the same plain old steamed rice, you can jazz it up by adding few vegetables and spices during special occasions. I have been making vegetable pulao for several years now but was not using beetroot and sweet potato in my version. Off late, one of my friend made this dish with these ingredients and I really liked it. Later I collected the recipe from her and tried at my home. This dish could be served as a main dish with a side of salad and yogurt. It can also be served as a side dish that pairs well with grilled meat and poultry.
Recipe of Vegetable Pulao : serves 4 to 5
Basmati Rice : 2 cups
Green cardamoms : 3
Cinnamon Stick : 1 inch
Cloves : 3
Cashew nuts : 2 tablespoons, soaked in water and halved
Ghee : 2 tablespoons
Oil : 2 tablespoons
Carrot ( thinly sliced / chopped ) : 1/2 cup
Beetroot ( thinly sliced / chopped ) : 1/2 cup
Sweet potato ( optional ) ( thinly sliced or chopped : one small
Green Chilies : 1 or 2, slit vertically
Paneer cubes : 1/2 cup
Water : 4 and half cups.
1. Wash the rise, then soak it in enough water for 30 minutes. Drain the water and set it aside.
2. Now take a deep bottomed pan, add oil and ghee. Add the cashews and fry them, until they are nice brown colored. Once done, set it aside.
3. Add the paneer cubes and fry it until they are golden brown in color. Keep it aside.
4. Now add the whole spices ( cardamoms, cinnamon, cloves). Once they become fragrant, add the green chilies and sliced vegetables. Add salt and saute it for 2 to 3 minutes on a low flame.
5. Add drained rice. Stir the rice gently for 2-3 minutes on a low flame, so that the rice gets well coated with the oil. Add fried cashews and paneer cubes.
6. Pour 4 and half cups of water and stir well. Cover and cook the rice on a medium fame till the water is absorbed. Check in between. Add water, if needed. Once the rice is cooked, fluff it gently with a fork. Check the seasoning. Add salt or, sugar if needed and let it stand for five minutes covered with the lid.
Serve hot as a main dish with a side of salad and yogurt. It can also be served as a side dish that pairs well with grilled meat and poultry or any vegetarian curries.