Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Vegetable Pulav (Rice with Mixed Veggies)

Pulav is simply Indian fried rice with vegetables (without the frying). Amma used to make it almost daily with fresh vegetables for the little ones. One can use a 12 oz. package of frozen mixed vegetables when in a hurry. All one needs is raita (vegetable salad with yogurt) or vegetable salaad to complete the meal. Basmati Rice with its long and fragrant grains is the perfect rice for making pulavs. We love the flavor of roasted whole peppercorns; they lose their heat and become mellow when cooked in ghee. But if whole peppercorns look intimidating, by all means use them freshly ground.


1 cup Basmati, Jasmine, or your favorite rice
1 tsp Salt or to taste
1 small Onion, finely chopped
1 lb of assorted vegetables, see below
1 pinch of Turmeric
2 to 4 Tbsp Ghee or Unsalted Butter
1 pinch Whole Cumin Seeds
1/2 tsp whole Black Pepper or Freshly ground Black Pepper (Optional)
4 Tbsp Fresh Cilantro, chopped (Optional)


Prepare fresh vegetables in medium bite sized pieces - carrots, green beans, cauliflower, corn, peas, zucchini, etc are good choices. Cut corn kernels off the cob and shell green peas. Choose a few or all, you only need about a pound of vegetables (about 2 cups) total.

Wash the rice with a few changes of fresh water. Drain in a fine-meshed strainer.

If using butter, toast the peppercorns and cumin first in the dry pan; then add the butter. If using the ghee, heat it in a 2 or 3 quart/liter pot. Add the whole black pepper and let them cook for one minute. Add the cumin seeds and let them brown a little, about a minute. Add onions with a pinch of salt and the turmeric. If you are using freshly ground black pepper instead of peppercorns, add it to the onions and cook until they are softened. Stir in the vegetables and cook for two or three minutes. Add 2 cups of boiling water, turmeric and salt. Stir in rice and bring to a good boil. Turn off heat, cover, and leave undisturbed for 15 to 20 minutes. Gently fluff with a fork, sprinkle with cilantro and serve hot with salaad, raita, dal, and/or your favorite curries.

Note: If cumin seeds are unavailable, go ahead and make the pulav without them. It will still be good.

No comments: