Kashmir is a beautiful State located at the border of India and Pakistan and has the charm and appeal which makes everyone fall in love with the place.Apart from the scenery which is the most popular attraction,Kashmir is famous for its embroidery work,Walnut wood artefacts,dry fruits especially Walnuts and Cherries available in plenty and the Saffron which is world famous.Seeing the plentiful supply of food items,their choice of food and additives is to die for and the meals comprise of simple but delicious flavours inculcated with local produce.They use a lot of fruit in their diet(which might be regarded as at the reason for their flawless skin) and lovely curries.Both their vegetarian and non vegetarian items are loved by everyone and the items are made everywhere in the country.
This is a recipe for their Pulao which is one of the best loved and delicious items on their menu.What is so exquisite about this pulao?
- It has multiple fruits and vegetables to give a sweet taste.
- It is coloured Orange and consists of dry fruits as well which contribute to the taste.
- Flavoured with Saffron it is by far the best rice items on the National palate.
There are some points which I will discuss now so that you can have a thorough idea of the procedure and what preliminary preparations you can make before making this delicious pulao!
- Traditionally an Orange edible food colour is used to give this pulao a lovely colour.Yellow is also used but it is purely optional.
- As we use a lot of fruit,I use pineapple essence to give the pulao more oomph!This is also purely optional.
- As this is a mild rice recipe,this goes well with rich gravies – either vegetarian or non vegetarian.I have served it with Shahi Paneer.
- It is advisable not to add the fruits in the initial stages as they may lose their taste and crispness.They are best added later.
- Fruit Cocktail is available easily in tins and can be found in most supermarkets or online.They are preserved in a delicious syrup.However drain the syrup before adding them to the rice.
- Add the colour and essence with the cooking water as they will easily absorb in the rice.
Preparation Time : 45 minutes
Makes : 4-5 servings
2 cups Basmati Rice(the Biryani variety) – soaked for 30 minutes
4 tbsp Ghee
2 tsp Shahi Jeera(black cumin)
2 Bay Leaves(tej patta)
2-3 drops Orange/Yellow Colour(optional)
2-3 drops Pineapple essence(optional)
2 tbsp Golden Raisins
2 tbsp Cashew nuts
2 tsp Salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp Clove Powder(Laung)
1 tsp Cardamom Powder(Elaichi)
1 cup sliced Onions
1/4 cup chopped Coriander Leaves
1 cup water
For the fruits :
1 big/2 small Apples – cubed
1/2 tin fruit cocktail – juice drained and only the fruits
1/4 cup Glace Cherries
For the Vegetables :
1/2 cup Cauliflower florets
1/2 cup Beans – chopped
1/2 cup Peas – fresh/frozen
1/2 cup Carrots – diced
Preparation beforehand :
Steam the vegetables with 1/2 tsp salt in a pressure cooker for 2 whistles or a steamer for 5 minutes till cooked but firm.Drain in a strainer and keep aside to cool.
Fry the Raisins and Cashew nuts in 1/2 tbsp ghee and set aside till needed.
Making the pulao :
Heat remaining ghee in preferably a non stick pan and add shahi jeera,bay leaf,clove and cardamom powders and let them fry over low heat till they release their wonderful aromas.Now increase heat to medium and add sliced onions.Cook till translucent and add the rice.Stir very gently to mix the rice with the ghee and fry for 5-7 minutes till the Oil slicks the rice and each grain is coated.Add the water,sugar,salt,essence and colour(if using).Mix well and cover lid.Cook till the rice absorbs the water,colour and essence and is a lovely orange or yellow in colour.
By this time the water would have dried up and the rice cooked.If you feel the rice is not cooked then close lid and let it stay on very low heat for 2 minutes.Take off heat and add the vegetables.Spread the rice on a big plate or tray and let it come to room temperature.
Once the rice comes to room temperature,ladle half of it back into the cooking pot.Top with half the drained fruits,half the glace cherries and half the fried Raisins and Cashew nuts.Ladle the rest of the rice on top of this and spread the remaining drained fruits,cherries and fried Raisins and Cashew nuts.With 2 forks or rice spoons mix very gently without breaking the rice till all the ingredients are amalgamated.
Cover the pot for 15 minutes to let all the flavours infuse.
Ladle some pulao onto serving plates and sprinkle with the chopped Coriander Leaves.Serve at room temperature with Shahi Paneer or any gravy of your choice!
Shots for you as usual….
Shahi Paneer shots..