Lockdown has sparked a home cooking passion amongst all of us and I am no exception to the same. Here I share with you two of my favourite rice recipes. One is vegetarian, simple and quick, the other is a tad bit time consuming but I assure you both are lip-smacking delicious. So, do try them and let me know how you find them:-
Vegetable Pulav is my most favourite dish ever. It is the ultimate comfort food and I love it so much that I ask my mother to make it for me on my birthdays. It's my Mom and Naniji's recipe actually but with a slight twist added by me:-
- Basmati rice - 2 katori soaked for 30 minutes
- Onions - 2 medium or 1 large julienned
- Potatoes - 2 medium or 1 large chopped in large cubes
- French Beans - 6 or 8 chopped
- Carrot - 1 medium size chopped
- Green chilli - 1 large finely chopped
- Peas - 1 katori
- Capsicum - 1 julienned
- Cauliflower - 1/4th or 1/2 chopped
- Ginger - about half a inch finely chopped
- Black cardamom - 2 or 3
- Cinnamon - 1-inch piece
- Jeera - 1 spoon
- Turmeric powder - 1 spoon
- Red chilli powder - 1 spoon
- Coriander powder - 11/2 spoon
- Salt as per taste
- Oil - 1 serving spoon
- Ghee - 1 table spoon
Heat oil in a thick bottomed pot - I prefer a pateela or handi. Add jeera, cinnamon and black cardomoms to the oil and let the spices get cooked. Once done, add onions, potatoes, cauliflower and fry them. Once, the veggies soften a bit and turn lightly brown, add ginger and the powdered masalas and fry them. Once the masala is ready, add rice, the remaining vegetables, 4 katori water and salt. Remember to add water which is double the amount of rice that you soaked. Let it all boil on high flame. Once you see the boiling water recede a bit, turn the burner to sim, cover your pot and let it all cook for about 30 minutes. When you see that the pulav is nearly done, add ghee about 2 minutes before switching off your burner.
Enjoy your pulav piping hot with ghee and lots of fresh curd.
Chicken Dum Biryani
Chicken dum biryani is also a favourite of mine although I have recently turned vegetarian. You can pretty much use the same recipe to turn this into a vegetarian biryani but then vegetarian biryani is an oxymoron 😝
The preparation for this dish consumes a lot of time and this dish also uses quite a bit of oil. The actual cooking takes nearly no time; and may I suggest you start it one day before to ensure a heavenly flavour and soft tender chicken that melts in your mouth.
- 1 kg chicken curry cut
- 6-7 large onions julienned
- 4 large potatoes - you can chop each potato in 2-3 equal parts
- A medium bunch of coriander leaves finely chopped
- Pudina leaves - one fourth the amount of coriander leaves, finely chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1-inch piece of cinnamon
- 1 black cardamom
- 7-8 green cardamoms
- 2-3 cloves
- 3-4 black peppercorns
- Ginger paste - 1 tablespoon
- Garlic and green chilli paste - 2 tablespoons
- Turmeric powder - 1 heaped spoon
- Red chilli powder - 11/2 heaped spoon
- Coriander powder - 2 heaped spoons
- Salt as per taste
Start the recipe on the previous day. For example, if you intend to have biryani on Sunday, start this on Saturday evening.
In a wok, heat oil and deep fry onions till they are crisp and dark brown, Next fry the potatoes, they should be like french fries or tatter tots once done. Reserve the oil that you used for frying onions and potatoes and let it stay hot. Let both the onions and potatoes reach a semi-cool state. Crush the onions with your hands so that they become a powder. Try and make the powder as fine as possible with your hands, it should still remain coarse in texture hence the crushing is done by hand. You can then take a steel bowl and put chicken, the crushed onion powder, fried potato pieces, coriander and pudina leaves, ginger paste, garlic and green chilli paste, turmeric, red chilli and coriander powder, cloves, green cardamons and black peppercorns all together in it. Ensure that powders and pastes cover the chicken and potatoes thoroughly. Once you are sure everything is coated evenly, pour some part of reserved hot oil in the bowl, mix it with the ingredients of the bowl and let it seep in. Let the bowl stay like this for an hour or so and once it is cool, cover it with a lid or wrap and refrigerate. This basically marinates the chicken and ensures your biryani turns out full of flavour and soft juicy chicken.
If you intend to make this as a vegetarian biryani, then you can add carrots, beans and cauliflour in place of the chicken and start this prep on the same day and not a day before. Just let the masalas and pastes marinate the vegetables for about an hour before you set the pot for dum.
For the next step, the following day, take out your marinade from the fridge and let it come to room temperature. This might take an hour, so meanwhile you can take about 3 katori full of soaked basmati rice and let it boil with bay leaf, cinnamon and the black cardamom. Once the water starts boiling, drain it and spread the semi-cooked rice in a large plate or strainer to cool down. Ensure the rice is semi-cooked and not fully done. Thereafter, take a heavy bottomed pot and assemble the bottom most layer. First grease the pot with some of the leftover oil thoroughly. Then start assembling your marinade in the pot. Put the bony bits in the bottom most layer along with a few pieces of potatoes. Ensure you layer it evenly. Next put a layer of rice followed by another layer of the chicken and marinade. This layer would only have the fatty pieces such as chicken breast or others that have next to no bones in them. Top this with the final layer of rice and cover the pot with a heavy lid. Seal the lid with dough. Put the stove on and let it simmer on low flame for about 40 minutes. After 40 minutes switch-off the stove and let the pot stay on it for another 15 minutes.
Serve biryani hot with cucumber and onion raita, or pudina raita. If you prefer them, then you can add boiled eggs to the biryani while serving it.
Bon appetite! 😄
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