Monday, November 22, 2010

Bengali Bahu Khuda Pulao - The Hungry Bride's Pulao

This is a simple pulao recipe that I found in old issues of UpperCrust magazine. It is from the book Pulaos and Biryanis: A tribute to Indian Cuisine by Katy Dalal.She is an expert in cooking and has few books to her credit,especially Parsi cooking .The magazine also mentioned the catering store she runs in Mumbai. I was attracted by the name of the dish and also how different it is from other rich pulaos that we normally see.

Normally in conservative Indian households wives were supposed to eat last or atleast after the husbands and other elders were done.This was irrespective of the regions or state and even continues in some homes even today,though thanks to the career woman it has reduced.Even our weddings has ritual where the wife has to eat the leftover from the husbands plate.But in those days most of the times,the  wives were left with little or no food and the new brides who were just starting to settle down were the most tortured lot as they were not yet used to this.So this dish which could be made in a jiffy was invented so that a bride is not deprived of her meal till she also joins the old wives' club!. :).

The dish is supposed to be cooked in mustard oil,but ghee is a best alternative especially if you are not used to mustard oil.I am posting the original recipe by the author, though I reduced the amount for serving 2-3 people.

Ingredients:
Basmati/Long grained rice/Jeera Sal Rice: 700 gm
Onions: sliced: 6 large
Green Chillies: long,slit and deseeded
Coriander Leaves: 1 cup chopped
Mint Leaves: 1/2 cup chopped
Coriander Seeds: dry roasted(broiled) and coarsely ground
Peppercorns: 10 coarsely ground
Turmeric Powder: a pinch
Mustard oil or Pure Ghee

Preparation:
Deep fry the onions in ghee or oil till golden brown and risp.Set aside.

Cook the rice adding ,one-fourth of fried onions,slit green chillies,coarsely ground coriander seeds,black peppercorns,turmeric,salt and about 2 tbsp of ghee.You can do this is a pressure cooker,rice cooker or stove top.Cook till rice is tender and fluffy.

Serve rice in a serving plate sprinkling the top completely with remaining onions and fresh chopped coriander and mint and optionally fried cashewnuts.


 The author suggests items like rasgollas,fried prawns,radish salad and mutton gravy as accompaniments to this dish.I simply served it with raitha or spiced yogurt. It is a quick and easy dish and I actually had it as itself without accompaniments.The crunch of coriander seeds,the heat of chillies, the crispness of  fried onions added while garnishing,the tender herbs,the sweetness and softness of onions added while cooking rice,each one takes you to food heaven.

I deep fried onions in vegetable oil.Also the second time I made it I avoided even adding the ghee while cooking rice.This did not affected the taste as per me and also makes the dish completely vegan.Also coriander powder will be a poor susbstitute to coarse seeds in this recipe.The seeds has to be tasted in the final dish which is lost if powder is used.Similar with pepper corns.Deseed the green chillies only if you cannot take the heat.

Well, I do not mind eating last if this one is served. But what about you,do you still eat after everyone else at home?



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