Vegetable Pulav

Today I felt a little lazy to cook a full meal - Rice or rotis, gravy and dry sabzi. I would have loved to order a meal but I am afraid thats not possible with my son around. He hates eating hotel/packed meals as he self-righteously informs me that it is unhealthy and unhygienic!! I eventually give in to his argument every time - and today was no exception!

I reluctantly looked into my fridge and found that I had quite an assortment of vegetables - String beans, shelled green peas, carrots and corn!! I love the months between November and March - Its spring time and a good variety of fresh vegetables are usually available at reasonable prices at this time of the year!! I decided upon making pulav or pulao or pilaf (As in fancy Angrezi!!).

Pulao is basically a North Indian preparation (The South Indian version would be veg. biryani or bisi bele bath which will come along in further posts), easy to make, requires less time for the cutting - I enjoy cutting vegetables so I prefer a knife rather than a food processor - and a full nutritious meal by itself!!

Here's how I go about it:

Ingredients: (Serves 3 adults)

Rice (Preferably long grained) - 2 cups
(Wash, drain and keep aside)

Water - 41/2 cups
Oil - 2 Tbsp.
Cumin seeds - 1tsp.
Ginger (Julienned) - 1 inch long piece
Green chillies(Slitted longitudinally) - 1 (More if you like spicy food!)
Whole spices: 3 Cloves, 2 cardomoms - crushed, 1 bayleaf, and 1 inch cinnamon
I generally put them whole unless we have guests
(The alternative is to crush them and tie the spices into a small bundle of clean white cloth and just put in along with the vegetables and remove at the end - I usually seal the spices in a egg shaped 1 cup tea maker! (It works really well and feels cleaner) - akin to a bouquet garnier)

Onions (Sliced thin) - 1 medium sized
String beans(Clean, Sliced longitudinally and cut about an inch long) - 5 to 10
Peas (Shelled and washed) - 1/2 cup
Corn - 1/4 cup
Carrot ( Julienned - A little thicker than matchsticks) - 1
Potato (Sliced thick as for french fries) - 1
(You may add a thickly sliced tomato and other firm vegetables if you like)
Salt, turmeric (Optional) to suit your taste
Chilly powder-1/2 tsp.(Optional)
Coriander leaves (Cleaned and chopped roughly) - About 5 stems

Heat the oil in pressure cooker. Add the cumin seeds, ginger, green chillies and the whole spices.

When these crackle add the onions. Saute till the colour changes and add the vegetables. Saute for about five minutes.
Add 4 cups of water (Double for the rice) plus 1/2 cup for the vegetables. Add salt to taste. I like a tinge of yellow so I add 1/4tsp. of turmeric powder and 1/4 tsp. of chilly powder too - This is optional. Mix well.

When the mixture simmers put the lid on and the whistle. (If you are going to make a bouquet garnier instead of using whole spice drop it in before putting the lid on)

Keep on medium heat for about 8 minutes and on sim for 5 minutes or when the whistle is just about to shoot. Turn off the gas and wait for the cooker to cool off completely.

Garnish the prepared pulav with coriander leaves and roasted cashews for a nice effect and serve with fresh curd, raita or chole too!!

Tomato rice:
You may reduce a cup of water and instead add 3/4 cup of tomato puree diluted with 1/4 cup water - This leads to tomato rice which is my daughter's fave.

Mint rice:
Substitue a cup of water with 1/2 cup of mint pureed with 1/2 cup of water. Usually mint rice is made with very few vegetables or with none at all.

Labels: , , , ,