It was my 16th birthday. My friends had come over for a pyjama party/sleepover. I remember vividly, Amma(Mom) had made her ‘Green Pulao’, with French Fries as a garnish for dinner & I had loved it. She probably gave it the name ‘Green Pulao’ for ease with her three children, my brothers & me. That was the first time I ate this dish and since then most special occasions at home are incomplete without it.
After I got married, this was the first dish I learnt from my mom and I made it for my husband’s birthday a few months after our wedding & he fell in love with it too. Since then, I have made this umpteen number of times and there’s just one teeny tiny problem…The taste never matches up to her’s in my opinion. Well, like all mothers, she possesses a secret ingredient that she unconditionally pours into the dish…loads of love!
So here’s a very special family recipe. I hope you try it & love it too!
The green in ‘Green Pulao’ is made by blending Coriander and Mint leaves with aromatic whole spices like Green Cardamom, Cinnamon & Cloves. A medley of these flavours makes this a delectable dish & there have been times when I can’t get myself to stop eating it!
A little something about the spices used,
Green Cardamom/Elaichi – They have a sweet pungent taste and are very commonly used in Indian cuisine. The seeds are crushed the with a little quantity of sugar to flavour several Indian desserts. My husband,
de-stresses after a hard day’s work by having a big cup of Elaichi infused chai.
Cinnamon/Dalchini- This is one of the most versatile spices that I know of and I recently discovered…the thinner the bark, better the quality.They are roasted and ground to make South Indian spice mixes, flavour North Indian curries & Pilafs and the warmth & sweetness it exudes make for an excellent addition to several desserts. I recently experimented with Pumpkin Cinnamon Cupcakes and have become a huge fan!
Cloves /Lavang- These are not only valued in cooking but have been used from generations to treat tooth pain since they contain a milk anaesthetic.
They are used in plenty of Indian desserts because of their sweet aroma. But, mind you they are slightly hot & have to be used with caution!
Too much of any of these spices can cause havoc but the right amount can change a dish from ordinary to extraordinary.
RECIPE FOR GREEN PULAO/PILAFINGREDIENTS
3.5 to 4 cups of cooked brown long grain/basmati rice
1.5 to 2 cups of chopped & steamed veggies like beans, carrot, capsicum, peas
For green paste
1 big bunch of Coriander
1 small bunch of Mint leaves/Pudina
4 Cardamoms/Green Elaichi
1 inch of Cinnamon
8 green chillies
1 onion roughly chopped
1 potato, thinly julienned
Oil to deep fry
Salt to tasteMETHOD
1.Cook 1 cup of long grain basmati rice with 2.5 cups of water in a rice cooker or a pressure cooker. Once done, spread it on a wide plate & let it cool.
2.Steam the veggies. I cooked them in the microwave with some salt.
For Green paste –
1.Chop the end stems of the coriander bunch.
2.Separate the leaves of the Mint from the stems.
3. Grind the coriander & mint with whole spices(Cardamom, Cinnamon, Clove), onion, green chillies & salt with no water or just 2 tablespoons if required.
4. Take 2-4 tbsp of oil in a thick bottomed kadai/saucepan and once it’s heated, add the paste and let it cook in medium heat for 5 to 7 min. It’s done when the colour becomes darker & the paste begins too leave the sides of the kadai.(see picture)
To make Pulao-
1.Add steamed veggies to the same kadai and mix with the green paste.
2.Add the rice, salt & mix well. Heat for 4 to 5 minutes.
For Potato Garnish-
1.Heat oil in a kadai/saucepan & once it’s heated, add the thinly chopped potatoes and deep fry until golden brown. Garnish rice with them & serve hot.NOTES:
1. I tend to use brown rice because of it’s high fibre content.Regular white rice/white basmati can be used as well.
2. Brown rice absorbs more water & hence the rice to water ratio is 1: 2.5. With the white basmati/regular rice the rice to water ratio can be 1:2.
3. If using white rice , spreading on a wide plate & cooling is important else it cakes up.
4. We like our food slightly spicy & hence I’ve suggested 8 green chillies.You can reduce it to 6 or even lesser if you like.
5. Please check the ‘before’ & ‘after’ cooking pictures for the green paste.
6. The paste after cooking can be stored in the refrigerator in an air tight container for upto a week.
7. This pulao goes well with any raita. You can try it with my Cherry Tomato Raita as well.
Do try this recipe & don’t forget to let me know if you like it! I’ll definitely be happy but my mom will be absolutely thrilled!