Saturday morning, DD & I went to a neighborhood farmer's market and picked up some great looking green peas in shell. The freshness of the peas almost transported me (without any air tickets :-)) to Mysore. I picked some up along with a bagful of wonderfully crimson wine ripe tomatoes. The peas were a great buy and my first thought was to make some methi-mutter (fenugreek-peas gravy) with butter but since my fenugreek is not yet ready for harvest I settled on the pulav. Although it is called pudina(mint) pulav and mint takes center stage, the fresh peas did wonderfully add to the taste of this dish.
Pulav is a comforting, no-mess, one pot dish. It comes in handy for lunches or dinner and the best part is you can load it up with a choice of vegetables and get your serving of veggies in a tasty morsel. Mint in the pulav enhances the flavor greatly. The veggies that are pulav friendly are beans, carrots, potatoes, peas, cauliflower. simple thumb rule is to use firm, neutral tasting vegetables in the pulav. Avoid radishes, cabbages, beet roots or squashes in pulav :-)
What do you need to make Pudina Pulav?
2 cups rice - preferably Basmati variety
3.5 cups water
2 cups of chopped vegetables - any favorite combination of beans, carrots, potatoes, peas & cauliflower
2 Tblsp salt (adjust to taste)
1 Tsp cooking oil
3/4 cup soy chunks - I used nutrela brand (optional)
Mint leaves - picked and tightly packed to make a cup
4 green chilies (adjust chilies to taste)
About 4 - 1 inch long cinnamon pieces
3-4 black pepper corns
1 green cardamom
1 inch piece ginger root
1/4 of a small onion (~1 Tblsp of chopped onions)
How do you make Pudina pulav?
- Wash rice in 2 changes of water and soak it in water for 30 minutes.
- Prepare the vegetables - wash, peel and chop them into bite size chunks.
- Take all the ingredients under pudina masala and grind them into a smooth paste with 1/2 cup water.
- Heat a pan, add oil and the chopped vegetables and salt. Cover and let the vegetables soften for 3-4 minutes on medium heat.
- Add the ground masala and switch off the stove.
- Drain the soaked rice and add it to the masala veggie mix with remaining water and put it in an electric rice cooker - this is what I did today. See notes for other ways of cooking pulav.
- I boiled the soy chunks in water for about 8 minutes (package instructions) with 1/4 Tsp salt, drained, squeezed and added them to the pulav before serving. skip this step if you are not using soy chunks. DD loves soy chunks in pulav and hence I add it.
- Serve hot pulav with any raita of your choice. We had ours with a simple cucumber raita and microwave roasted papads.
- You can cook pulav on stove top or in pressure cooker. Make sure you keep an eye on the vessel in the stove top method and not let the bottom get burnt.
- Basmati rice typically takes 1:2(rice:water) ratio but soaking it 30 minutes prior to cooking already softens the grains and since you need a fluffy pulav with grains seperated, do not use more than the specified amount of water. Make sure you account for the water used for grinding the masala.
- You can add a Tblsp of grated coconut to the pudina masala for additional taste.
- Do not add more of cardamom as it tends to get overpowering.
- Jack up the number of cloves and pepper if you like the garam masala flavor or increase the green chilies if you like the chili spice. While you can play with the amount of spices, keep in mind to have Pudina/mint as the focus of this pulav, the amounts given above make for a 'perfect' blend of flavors and dishes a not too spicy and not bland pulav.
- One of my aunts deep fries slices of regular white bread and puts it on top of cooked pulav as garnish, it tastes great.
- Add a handful of cilantro or fresh coriander leaves to the masala while grinding if you like the flavor.