Rice is the staple diet where I come from. It is no surprise that there are a wealth of rice dishes available. I make this simple and fragrant rice pulao/pilaf with vegetables and no other masala (gasp!). This is easy enough to whip up any time and goes well with just a mixed yogurt salad (raita) or spicy curries.
You will need: (* – Refer notes)
- Rice (Basmati or similar long-grained) – 2 cups
- Ghee (clarified butter)* – 2 tbsp + 2 tsp
- Whole spices like cinnamon stick , cloves, cardamom and black pepper corns**
- Onion – 1 medium-sized, finely chopped
- Vegetables like carrots, peas and green beans – 1 cup (total)
- Lemon juice – 1 tbsp
- Water – 3 cups
- Cashew nuts and raisins for garnish (optional)
- Wash the rice in water. Drain well and keep aside***.
- Heat 2 tbsp ghee in a thick bottomed vessel (I use a pressure cooker). Add the whole spices and allow it to sputter and become fragrant.
- Add the chopped onions. Saute till they turn translucent.
- Add the vegetables and saute for a minute.
- Add 3 cups water****. Add enough salt and bring to a gentle boil.
- Add the washed rice and a tablespoon of lemon juice. Mix well and check seasoning.
- Cover and cook till done.
- If using a pressure cooker, cook on medium high till you hear a whistle, lower the heat and cook for 5 more minutes.
- Else, cover the vessel with a heavy lid and cook till done.
- This dish can easily be cooked in a rice cooker too. Do the sauteing in a pan and transfer to the rice cooker along with rice, water and lemon juice.
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat the remaining ghee and fry the cashew nuts and raisins till golden.
- To serve, fluff pulao well, garnish with nuts and serve hot with raita or your favorite curry.
* Substitute with oil, if ghee is not available or you are extremely health conscious!
** For 2 cups of rice, I use a 2-inch piece of cinnamon stick, 3-4 cloves, 2-3 pods of cardamom and 3-4 black pepper corns.
*** The washed rice can be roasted in a little ghee. I usually skip this step (read the title!) and it turns out okay.
****Typically, the Basmati rice I use, needs 1.5 cups of water per cup of rice. Some rice types may need up to 2 cups of water. This information is usually available on the rice packet.
Now on to the raita. The following is the recipe for a simple tomato and onion raita with a surprise garnish!
You will need:
- Thick yogurt – 1 cup
- Onion – 1 small, finely chopped
- Tomato – 1 small, de-seeded and finely chopped
- Green chillies – 2, chopped
- Grapes – for garnish (the surprise!)
- Whip yogurt well with a fork or whisk.
- Add onions, tomatoes and green chillies.
- Season with salt.
- Garnish with green or red grapes cut in half. This is kind of a family tradition at our house. I playfully added a couple of grapes to raita one day and my husband was hooked! It adds a playful sweetness.
- You can use cilantro and mint leaves also for garnish.
- You can add finely chopped cucumbers and carrots to the raita too. Don’t forget to de-seed the cucumbers.
Let me know if you prepare this!
I am linking this up to the Whisk Gadget link party at Chef Not Included.