There are times when I am quite sick of my own cooking and welcome trying out someone else’s recipe. With pulav’s the issue is, at least in my kitchen, no two pulavs taste the same so I rarely try some other recipe. One weekend, my friend B of the fiery tomato chutney fame was staying with us and said her mother makes it excellently and we should try it out, she called but couldn’t get the recipe because aunty was unwell. She then said, her mother in law’s recipe is also very good and we should try that… I realised only after I began speaking to aunty (B’s MIL) that she was telling me how to make Spicy Vegetable Pulav from Kuwait!! So in that sense, this is one of the most expensive pulav’s I have made!!
This pulav has a ground masala, something which I usually avoid!! But it was so worth the effort of grinding everything together. Its spicy enough to be eaten with just a simple raitha, but go ahead with making a side dish if you are in a mood for something more elaborate.
J’s mom’s Spicy Vegetable Pulav (serves 4)
2 cups basmati rice, washed and soaked in water for 10-15 mins
1 cup ground masala*
2 cups assorted vegetables of choice to be cut into chunks (I used potatoes, carrot, beans and cauliflower)
Salt to taste
2 Tbs vegetable oil
*For the Ground Masala
1 inch stick of cinnamon, 2-3 cloves, 2 green cardamom
½ cup thickly chopped onion
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste (or 1 inch piece ginger and 2-3 cloves garlic)
2-3 green chillies
11/2 Tbsp fennel seeds (saunf)
1 Tbsp poppy seeds (soaked for 10 mins in warm water and drained)
1 cup loosely packed mint leaves
½ cup loosely packed coriander leaves
1 small tomato (or about ¼ cup)
Method: Grind all of the above into a smooth paste with about 2 tablespoons of water to help in blending the whole mixture.
In a pressure cooker, heat the oil and add the ground masala paste to this. Fry till the oil begins to separate, stirring frequently. Add the chopped vegetables and fry for 2 minutes. Drain the water from the soaking rice, gently stir till the rice is coated with the spice paste. Fry for 2-3 minutes. Add 3½ cups of water to this, add salt to taste and cover and place the whistle. After one whistle, turn it off and wait for the steam to release, before opening and fluff with a fork. Serve hot with raitha.