For me to make an easy planning for cooking is cook something Easy-to-cook-that-tastes-very-good. If this picture is sketched before everybody in the house even a good dish will make it look like a dish cooked with all the laziness in the world. But my family members have full faith in me. Though they don’t praise me for all the good stuff I take pains to serve, I know in the corner of their heart they relish with hearty content.
What’s the use of beating around the bush and elevate my little self. Today’s delight of my day is Mishti Pulao. A vegetarian dish which can go well with this like some Cholar dal, tomato chutney and cauliflower or cabbage curry cooked in a simple way with no onions and garlic.
For the Pulao need some rice, good quality, need not be Basmati if you don’t have it. Take 2 cups of rice, wash and drain and spread it out to dry for some time, say about half an hour.
As the water dries up add some haldi powder, ½ tsp. and mix it with the washed and drained rice to give it some colour. Can use saffron for colour and flavor if it is available at that time.
Next get your vegetables ready for the pulao. Some carrots -- cut into small cubes, cauliflower florets of a small cauliflower, not so small a flower that can decorate your hair-- (jokes apart), a cupful of green peas. That was all the vegetables I had with me when I was ready to cook.
Blanch the vegetables and keep it aside.
Take a thick bottom pan.
Add about 2-3 tbsp of ghee…the smell should spread to signify something good is cooking in the kitchen – smiling for you may think this is a cheap joke. I love to crack jokes when I’m cooking for it eases my burden of labour.
Once the ghee is hot, add a couple of tej-patta (bay leaves), 3-4 labongo (clove), 2-3 choto alach (cardamom pods) and one bodo alach (brown cardamom) and just stir them for 1 minute for the aroma to come out and mingle with each other.
Next add the rice and stir slowly. After 2 minutes of constant stirring, add salt and stir for 3-4 minutes.
To this now add 4 cups of water (double the measurement of rice) and 1 ½ tbsp. of sugar. Close the lid and let it cook on its own.
Don’t be worried about the quantity of sugar for this is Mishti Pulao/Sweet Pulao and you should feel the Sweet-Effect.
Remove the lid and get a peek into the cooking pot. If the water has dried up to half, add the vegetables and again cover with the lid and simmer the flame.
From time to time remove the lid and mix the rice and the vegetables so that they are cooked to perfection.
Once the water dries up, remove the pan from the fire but keep the lid in place and let it cool down for 3-4 minutes.
Serve this not so hot pulao and see the expression on the faces.
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Enjoy the virtual taste but don’t say, “Don’t joke”.
© gouri guha 2013