Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Pudina Pulav - A warm pot of rice loaded with veggies and some protein

While I wait for Summer for a number of reasons, Farmer's markets top the list. It is easy in India to find the small shops around every street corner that is loaded with fresh vegetables but here I am mostly at the mercy of super stores that ship vegetables and fruits across the globe. I love farmer's market for 2 reasons - one it gives me the opportunity to walk in the fresh air, pick up the vegetables and secondly I get to talk to people that have actually grown and picked the vegetables which makes it special. The place where we live has multiple farmer's markets running almost every day of the week which is an added bonus. One word of advice for farmer's market shopping - do not go looking for 'Indian' vegetables, buy what is available with the vendor. If you look for exotic stuff, chances are that some smart guy is just getting them from afar and selling it as locally grown :-).

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)
Pudina masala: 
Mint leaves - picked and tightly packed to make a cup
4 green chilies (adjust chilies to taste)
About 4 - 1 inch long cinnamon pieces
2 cloves
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.


Gayathri NG said...

Flavorful n delicious pulao...

Sum said...

I too love to shop for fresh veggies! Hoping to go to some farmers' market here over the weekend.. may be i find something interesting too... BTW nice pulav... my fav one!

NamsVeni Pothas said...

wow hot hot Pudina Pulav is really mouth watering. we enjoy this tasty one in a chilled rain day with papad.

Kaveri Venkatesh said...

A very flavorful and aromatic pulav...my favorite too

Kannada Cuisine said...

Super agide ri!

LG said...

Nice Pulav, we too are great fans of Pudina Pulav

ramya anand said...

First time here..love ur pulav and glad to find another vegetarian recipe blog

Veena Theagarajan said...

First time here.. Nice presentation Nag


Jay said...

wow..fabulous..makes me droool..;)
Tasty Appetite