Sunday, March 04, 2007

Vegetable pulao (pilau) rice

Main Ingredients:
  • Cooking oil - 2 tablespoons (1 Tbsp = 15mL)
  • Basmati Rice - 1 hand full
  • Tomato - 2 medium sized
  • Red Onion - small cut in half
  • Green Chilli - 3 medium sized (OPTIONAL)
  • Curry Leaves - 4 or 5 (a.k.a Kadi patta)
  • Corriander - as much as you like (a.k.a Dhania)
  • Mustard Seeds - half tea spoon (a.k.a. Rai)
  • Cumin seeds - half tea spoon (a.k.a. Jeera)
  • Turmeric powder - quarter tea spoon (a.k.a. haldi)
  • Red chilli powder - 1 tea spoon (can be varied)
  • Ginger (or ginger paste) - 1 small piece crushed (or half tea spoon) (OPTIONAL)
  • Biriyani masala or chicken curry masala or vegetable curry masala etc - 1 tea spoon
  • Salt - to taste
The vegetables:

I choose green peas and carrots only. You can add any other vegetables that you like/prefer ranging from potatoes to capsicum (whole peppers).
  • Green Peas - half handful (a.k.a muttar)
  • Carrot - 2.5 inches long
The cooking instructions:
  1. Wash the rice in a bowl once and drain the water away. Refill the bowl, with the amount of water being 3 times the amount if rice. Cook on high flame for 10-12 minuteswith lid on, taking care that the rice does not stick and burn at the bottom of the dish.
  2. Since the amount of water if high, the rice usually does not stick. After 10 minutes, taste a little bit of rice. If the rice is puffed and soft, its done. Otherwise cook for a little while longer. Using a wire mesh, drain the rice so that the water flows away. Keep this rice covered for use later on.
  3. While the rice cooks, chop the tomatos, onion, carrot & green chilli into small pieces to save some time. The logic here is that small pieces of food cook better and the food is enriched with flavours.
  4. Transfer the oil in a bowl and add the cumin and mustard seeds. Heat on high flame. Wait untill you see the seeds crackle.
  5. Now add the green chillies, onions, ginger(or paste) and curry leaves. Take care as the oil is hot and things tend to JUMP initially. Stir now and then to ensure nothing sticks and burns. Wait untill the onions begin to brown.
  6. Then, add the tomatoes and turmeric powder. Stir and cook untill the tomatoes are soft.
  7. Now, add half a cup of water alongwith the carrots and peas. Also add the red chilli powder. Here's a tip. Its usually a lot better if you can find any other masala powder you find in the market at this stage such as BIRIYANI MASALA or CHICKEN CURRY MASALA etc. There's no harm in experimening I feel, but its not recommended for 1st timers. NOTE:- You may need a bit more water if you add any more vegetables.
  8. After adding everything, put the lid on and cook for about 10 minutes. Its best to remain in the kitchen the first time you make this. After about 5 minutes, lift the lid up and stir to check consistancy. If the mixture is too thick, add a bit of water. If you want to know whether the vegetables are cooked, use a spoon to slice them in half. Well done vegetables are soft and mushy. This part should not require more than 10-13 minutes.
  9. Once everythings cooked, boil away all the extra water. The end result should be like thick gravy. Now, add the rice we cooked before and stir the mixture one final time. Add the chopped corriander at the end as a garnish.
Once you get used to cooking in this way, the total cooking time would be about 25 minutes. The image you see at the top does not potray the right quantity, its about 3 times as whats shown. It smelled so good I could not resist, :-D.

With experience, you will know how to vary the amount of spices and what variations will be better. What I have described is pretty basic, but then I do not have the patience to cook for an hour for something that takes about a quarter of an hour to gobble up.....:-P. Enjoy and do share your experience.

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