Come winter and you start seeing some of those vivid colours in the vegetable market – fresh green peas, long red carrots (they’re also call Delhi carrots; don’t ask me why though) which are best suited for Carrot halwa, avarekaalu/machekotte (hyacinth beans), fresh methi/fenugreek greens…the list goes on. Though the mounting prices of onion have been pretty alarming around this part of the world, the fact that some of these seasonal veggies are around cheers you up a tad bit.
We’ve had quite a lot of sinning here for a while now, haven’t we? Maybe it’s time for some comfort food? Comfort food that’s not fussy and yet delightful. What about you…what’s your idea of perfect comfort food? When I think comfort food, the first thing that comes to my mind is piping-hot Rasam rice and potato fry…aaah, bliss. And after Rasam rice, my choice is almost always something from the plethora of one-pot meals. One-pot meals are my best bet specially on weekends, so I can attend to my other chores while lunch is cooking away. What’s more…when you dig into one-pot meals, it feels like you actually slogged your butt out to get the food onto the table. The actual effort that went into it though, only we know. Don’t tell your family that yet. Just wow them and humbly accept those compliments for now 😉 This pudina pulao is Amma’s classic version, and is always very well received whenever it is made. You could also try making a vegetable pulao with this recipe, and the result I can assure you, will be purely tongue-ticking.
For the Masala
- Pudina/Mint leaves – a big handful (cleaned and sorted)
- Coriander/Cilantro leaves – a small fistful (cleaned and sorted)
- Onions – 2 nos (medium-sized, diced)
- Green Chillies – 3-4 nos (alter to suit your taste)
- Ginger – a 1″ long piece
- Garlic – 5-6 pods
- Water – not more than 2-3 tbsps (just to get the mixer blades running)
For the Pulao
- Basmati rice/Long grained rice – 3 cups (washed and drained of all water)
- Onions – 2 nos (medium-sized, julienned)
- Green peas – 2 cups (blanched along with a little salt)
- Jeera/Cumin seeds – 1 tbsp
- Pulao spices (cinnamon, clove, marathi moggu, anananas flower, elaichi, bade elaichi, bay leaves) – 1 to 2 nos each
- Ghee – 3 tbsps
- Oil – 2 tbsps (I used olive)
- Salt – to taste
- Water – 5 cups (use the same cup that you used to measure out your rice)
- You could use more pudina/mint leaves if you wish. I like it pretty strong sometimes (especially when I make vegetable pulao), and use even upto two big handfuls. Alter to suit your taste.
- If you do not have Basmati rice, you could even use regular white rice.
Proportion: Serves 4-5 persons.
(I prepared this in my rice cooker; you could adapt this recipe to the way you normally make pulao).
- Grind all the ingredients mentioned for the masala to a fine paste, and set aside.
- Heat 1 tbsp ghee and 2 tbps olive oil in the rice cooker vessel. Once hot, add the jeera and all the dry spices. Fry a minute or two till fragrant.
- Once the spices turn fragrant, add the julienned onions and saute till they are cooked tender.
- Add the ground masala and fry till the raw aroma is gone, about 3-5 minutes. You will know its done when you see it bubbling and leaving oil on the sides.
- While this is getting done, fry the washed and drained basmathi rice with 2 tbsps ghee in a non stick pan, till the grains start sticking to each other and all the water content has evaporated from the rice.
- Add this fried rice to the rice cooker vessel. Mix all contents well and fry for a couple minutes.
- Now add salt to taste, and the 5 cups of water. Give it a gentle stir, and put the lid over the rice cooker and cook till done.
- While the rice is getting done, blanch the peas with adequate salt and set aside.
- Once the rice is done, allow to cool a bit, about 5-10 minutes. Fluff it up and add the peas and stir gently, else you might end up breaking the long grains of rice.
- Serve hot with some refreshing onion-tomato-cucumber raita for a lip-smacking one-pot meal.
The pudina/mint that is used for the masala hits just the right notes when you dig into the pulao, and it can get pretty addictive. If you want to make a vegetable pulao out of the same recipe, you could use julienned beans, carrots, potatoes and double beans in addition to the peas and onions. These work best. Add the veggies into your cook pot right after sautéing the onions. The peas still goes in at the end. Some people use capsicum in pulao, however I wouldn’t recommend it since capsicum dominates any dish with its pungent flavour. Its better to stick to veggies that have a neutral flavour so the flavour of the mint is at it’s best.
So you will come back and tell me how this turned out for you, wontcha? I’ll be waiting 🙂