Thursday, February 18, 2010

Vegetable Pilaf/Pulao

It has been a long time since I posted something . These past month or so has been so busy and hectic for me that although there was no dearth of cooking , the time required to post something good has been scarce. I hope this next recipe kinda makes up for that lost time.This dish needs no introduction as it is well known across the world and each family might have their own version of it. That is why I thought I could share my version of this recipe with all of you. This is a complete meal in itself for just our family , but at the same time it can mean a feast when you have guests over.Our very own versatile pulao, but of course with a fresh homemade masala(seasoning).


2 cups Long grain Basmati rice
4 cups water
2 cups mixed veggies
( Generally it is carrots, french beans, cauliflower, peas,potatoes. You could also have coloured peppers,edamame,broccoli,corn etc anything that you have at that moment can make it special. Cut it all into medium thick 1 to 1 1/2 inch long pieces)
1/2 cup soaked soy granules(optional)
2 big onions finely sliced
3-4 bay leaves
1/2 cup coconut milk(optional)
1 tsp shah jeera(black cumin)
salt to taste
oil for sauteing the veggies
Pulao masala

For the homemade masala/seasoning

1 tsp cumin seeds
3/4 tsppeppercorns
4-5 green chillies
1 inch piece ginger
3-4 cloves garlic
1 inch stick of cinnamon
3-4 cloves
2-3 cardamoms
1 tsp poppy seeds(khus-khus)
1 1/2 tsp fennel seeds(saunf)
1 tsp coriander seeds
asafoetida(hing) pinch

Mix all the ingredients for the masala in a mixer and grind it coarse without adding any water.

Soak the rice in water for about half an hour. You could add a little pinch of soda to it so that the grains dont break while cooking.

In a stainless steel/nonstick pressure cooker or a heavy bottom pan, heat some oil and add to it the shah jeera seeds and when they crackle add the bay leaves.

Then add the onions to it and saute them till they are transluscent.

To it add the veggies the drained rice and pulao masala and fry it for a minute or two .You could add the drained soy granules at this point.

Then add the water to it just enough to cover the rice veggie mixture The 2 cups water to one cup rice works good but I generally keep it at the just covering the whole pulao mixture roughly.

Pressure cook it for one whistle or if using a open pan just till the rice is cooked but firm and seperate.
Also you could add the coconut milk at this time.

Garnish with fried cashews/raisins , mint or coriander leaves or even fried onions.

Serve it hot with papads and onion raita .

P. S . You could also make this Jain version by skipping the onion, garlic and potatoes. The raita could be a cucumber or boondi raita too.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


I bought this can of Alphonso mango pulp like I always do to make either Aamras or Mango Kulfi when I was grocery shopping last week. But this time I wanted to do something new with it and when I was casually browsing through a cookbook Samaithu Paar by the late Smt.Meenakshi Ammal gifted to me by my friend I came across this recipe and thought Well!!!! I think I should give it a try. And to my surprise it came out well. Another reason for me to make it was that I was supposed to meet one of my friends who is a sweet freak .

This is a very simple to make dish (I generally like to try only the simple to make sweet dishes)The more involved ones I reserve it for the spicy and savoury things as I personally love to eat that kind of food.

4 cups mango pulp
2 cups sugar (if using fresh mango pulp)/1 1/4 cup sugar if using canned pulp
30-35 gm cashewnuts
About 200 gm ghee
8 green cardamoms
Borneal flakes(Pachaikarpooram) a pinch (optional)

If using fresh mango pulp see to it that there are no lumps in it.
In a wide mouth heavy vessel bring the mango pulp to a boil stirring now and then.
When the pulp starts boiling add the sugar and stir continuously.
Fry the broken cashewnuts in a little ghee and add it to the boiling pulp and stir.
When the pulp has become thick, add the ghee gradually while stirring continuosly.
When the halwa starts leaving the sides of the vessel, remove from fire.
Add to it the cardamom powder and borneal flakes and mix well.
Pour the halwa onto a greased plate and let it cool.
Once cooled cut it into pieces and serve.