A few days ago, I was busy with work and suddenly realised I had not made lunch but was ravenous. I could have made upma. I make it well even when I add purple coloured veggies to it! But any chance to dig into a rice dish will not be lost. I’m a one dish meal queen. I love the convenience and the versatility of a one dish meal. My preference of carb is of course rice. Which self respecting south Indian will not turn to rice?
I generally use one particular masala in most of my preparations ~ curries, dals, rice and anything else I may be cooking. It could be the sambar powder using my MIL’s recipe (contrary to purists, I make it and stock it in the freezer minus the coconut for a month) or egg roast masala that I so love or as in this case, pav bhaji masala, a packet of which I had opened and wanted to use at every opportunity.
A masala to me is just something to zing up a dish. Usually, most masalas have a base of coriander, cumin, chillies. the add ons are usually an assortment of garam masala. For instance, pav bhaji has a bit of amchur (dried mango powder) and hence will be slightly sour as opposed to a sambar powder which has roasted channa dal and is great to thicken curries! So depending on my instinct, I reach out and add a few spoons of a masala to whatever I may be cooking.
When I was writing this post, I did an online search and found that pav bhaji masala is used to make a rice dish called Tava Pulao. I have not tasted it, but most recipes call for cooked basmati rice to be sauteed with the masala. When cooked with the raw rice and vegetables, this dish has a milder flavour and takes lesser time!
My neighbourhood supermarket is doing a ‘buy one get one’ offer on a brand of basmati and I decided to be indulgent. This pulao will taste just as good with regular rice as well.
Pav Bhaji Masala Pulao (serves 2, time taken: 20 minutes)
Basmati Rice 1 cup, washed and soaked in water for 5 minutes
Vegetables 1 cup ( I used equal parts of mushrooms, cauliflower florets, frozen corn kernels)
Onion 1 medium, sliced
Green Chilli 1, slit lengthwise
Salt to taste
Pav Bhaji Masala 11/2 teaspoons
Ginger Garlic Paste 1 teaspoon
Mint Leaves 2 tablespoons
Oil / Ghee 1 tablespoon
Bay Leaf 1
Cloves and green cardamom 2 each
Cinnamon stick 1 small piece
Shahi Jeera 1/2 teaspoon
In a pressure cooker, heat the ghee/ oil and when hot add the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cloves, cardamom and shahi jeera. Saute for a few seconds.
Add the sliced onions and green chilli and saute till onions are translucent. Add the ginger garlic paste and saute for a minute.
Add the vegetables, mint leaves and the pav bhaji masala and saute for 1 minute.
Add the rice, salt and 2 cups of hot water and stir. Close the lid of the pressure cooker and put on the whistle. Cook on high heat for one whistle and turn down the heat for 5 minutes and turn off the heat.
Wait for the pressure to release, open the lid of the pressure cooker and fluff gently with a fork. Serve this pulao hot with a side dish of choice or just plain raita.