Thursday, 28 February 2013

Brown Rice Peas Pulao

      I cooked Brown Rice Peas Pulao a couple of weeks ago and made it couple of times now with simple variations every time. It is simple and its quick to make, if you make it in cooker. I made this early morning as I had to carry it in my lunch box for work. I prefer home cooked food.
     Brown rice healthy to eat, is back in fashion again! In the past, brown rice was associated with poverty food or rural food. Everyone love polished white rice and they ate it with style. To make white rice, the husk, bran layer and germ of the rice seed are removed, leaving only starch. Brown rice is full of fibres and nutrients. So when people started changing their views towards food and moved to health food, brown rice came back with a bang!
    Now this does not mean I do not eat white rice, I do but occasionally I prefer eating brown rice over white rice. This dish is especially for people who want to carry something filling and healthy for work or may be have less time to cook their lunch or dinner.

Brown Rice Peas Pulao in my lunch box


1 cup Brown rice
1/2 cup Peas (frozen or fresh)
1/2 teaspoon Garam masala powder (ready made)
1/2 teaspoon Turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon Jeera powder (cumin powder)
1/2 teaspoon Dhania powder (coriander powder)
1-2 tablespoon Ghee or butter
Salt to taste

           I would suggest to use pressure cooker/ slow cooker, as the brown rice takes lot of time to cook if you decide to boil it. In the cooker add 2 1/2 cups of water and add rest of the ingredients. Yes! cook all the ingredients together. Close the lid and cook till the rice is done. You can have it with curd/yogurt (optional).
         When you add the butter or ghee while cooking it give rice very rich and creamy buttery flavor and texture. But when you add ghee on the cooked rice it just coats the grains. This pulao has very nutty flavor and is little chewy because of brown rice and has also creamy buttery flavor.
        Now you may think if we are eating healthy brown rice why add ghee or butter (Fats). Answer to that confusion is that our body needs healthy and essential fats for normal functioning of the brain and other parts of the body. So ghee improves digestive and immunity system, cartilage and joint lubricator and very good for heart. Whatever you eat, eat in proportion.

I will soon be posting variations to this pulao recipe. If you have any ideas of you own, which you have tried and loved it, please share with me.

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Lucknowi Vegetable Dum Biryani

       Lucknowi Dum Biryani is one of the recipes from my ebook "Biryani and Pulao". Lucknow or Awadh is were biryani was first introduced in India and from there variations were formed like Hydrabadi Biryani or Kolkota Biryani.

Lucknowi Vegetable Dum Biryan with Beetroot Raita


     For Rice
2 cups Basmati long grain rice or Pulao rice
3 cups of water
1 tablespoon ghee
1 bay leaf
1” inch cinnamon
1 pods of cardamom
2 coves
Salt to taste

For Masala
2 cups chopped mixed vegetables (you can use any veggie like carrots, cauliflower, peas, French beans or potatoes)
1 big onion, sliced
1 big tomato, chopped
2 green chillies, slit
1 tablespoon ginger paste
1 tablespoon garlic paste
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon garam masala (optional)
½ teaspoon mace
Whole Spices
Ghee or oil 4-5 tablespoon
1 bay leaves
1 star anise
3 coves
2” inch cinnamon
3 pods of cardamom
1 black cardamom
1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 generous pinch saffron
100 ml cream
100 gm butter
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2-3 drops of rose water or Kewra water


        First step is to wash the rice. It’s important to wash rich because the rice is polished, so washing it at least twice removes the impurities. Soak it for 30 minutes approx. Heat a deep bottom pan; add the drained rice and water. Add bay leaf, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and salt. Also add ghee.
        Let the rice boil on high heat. Once the water is almost gone, cover it and cook on low heat till the rice is cooked at least 70% - 80%.The grains should be separate and fluff. Using a fork spread it on a plate to cool it, so that it will not stick to each other and form lumps.
         Heat the cream with butter. Keep string till the butter melts. Do not boil it. Add a pinch of saffron. Mix it and keep it aside.
        In a small pan, heat a tablespoon of oil. Add thinly sliced (medium sized) onion. Fry it till golden brown. Drain it and keep it aside.
        Now in wok or pan, heat oil or ghee. Add all the whole spice ingredients. Fry for a minute.
         Add sliced onion and ginger garlic paste. Fry till the mixture becomes golden brown.Add chopped tomatoes, green chillies, turmeric powder and mace. Mix and cook till the mixture leaves oil.
         Put in the veggies, a tip here is to par-boil the veggies so it does not take long time to cook, add a cup of water, salt to taste and garam masala (if using). Cover and cook till the veggies are almost done. Add water if needed.
         Now add half of the cream mixture and mix it well. Check for seasoning and adjust. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Methods of Dum:
1.  You can use a big casserole, pour a tablespoon of ghee and spread it. Always put the first layer of cooked rice, then masala with meat or vegetables. Again put rice and then masala. Always end it rice. If the quantity is less then make only three layers. First a layer of rice, second layer of masala and third again of rice. Cover it with foil and put the lid. Place it in oven at 180 – 190 degree C (356 - 374 F) for 20 minutes.

2.  Take any deep bottom vessel or wok. Pour a tablespoon of ghee and spread it. Make the layers as mentioned in the above method. Put a tight lid on the vessel. You can also seal the edges of the vessel and lid with dough, but it’s optional. Now place an iron cast griddle/ tawa on the stove. Keep it on high heat and place the biryani vessel on the iron griddle or tawa. Let it stay on high heat for 4-5 minutes and turn it on low heat for next 15 minutes.

            After you have layered it for Dum, pour the remaining mixture of cream on the rice. Sprinkle fried onion slices. Now sprinkle 2-3 drops of rose water on the rice. Cover and place it for Dum.
Serve it with raita.