I am a big fan of rice preparations. To be honest, I am a ardent lover of anything remotely connected with rice. Call it my South Indianness or just an innate desire to remain chubby :) but this king of carbs and source of starch always finds itself in different forms on my dinner (read breakfast & lunch) plate. A couple of years ago all I knew to make was the humble steamed rice, but now I can give expression to my creativity by cooking up different types of pulaos & biryanis. All of them dont turn out great - I have many a flop story to tell you, but will keep that for later. Here's something I tried a couple of weeks ago...just a basic, simple & quick mixed veg pulao which you can make with some veggies lying in your fridge.
Mixed Veg Pulao
- 2 cups Basmatic rice (or any long grained rice will do)
- 1 Onion sliced
- 1/2 cup each of cubed Carrots & Beans cut julienne
- 1/4 cup each of Cauliflower cut into small florets & Peas
- 2 Cloves
- 1 stick Cinnamon
- 2 Cardamoms
- 1/2 tsp Garam masala powder (optional)
- 1/2 tsp Red Chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp Jeera (Cummin) powder
- 1/4 tsp Haldi (Turmeric) powder
- 2 Boulion (stock) cubes ( I use Maggi veg stock cubes)
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- Salt to taste
- Ghee for frying
- A little less than 4 cups of water (see note at the bottom)
1. Wash the rice well & soak in sufficient water for about 10 minutes
In a pan heat some ghee & toss in the cinnamon, cloves & cardamom & stir till you get a nice fragrance
2. Add the sliced onions & fry till golden brown
3. Add the masala powders (garam masala, jeera, haldi) and stir for half a minute and immediately toss in the carrots.
4. Stir fry for a minute and add the beans. Stir fry the same & repeat the process for the cauliflower & peas until they are done about 75-80%
5. Boil the 4 cups (or a little less) of water in a separate vessel. Add the stock cubes and let it mix well with the water.
6. Drain the rice which has been soaked for 10mins and add it to the stir fried vegetables and mix it well with the masala
7. Keep stirring this rice & masala mixture till it starts feeling heavy - this is the sign to know that the rice has been fried well enough
8. Add the boiling water & stock solution. Check salt & add the lime juice. You can even add finely chopped stalk of the coriander leaves which gives a nice flavour to the rice
10. Stir the rice & water mixture well & when it begins to boil well, switch off the flame and seal the pan with an airtight lid so that no steam escapes. You can even seal the lid again with some dough (but this procedure is applied for biryanis which are worth the trouble :-))
12. Rice will be done in about 7-8minutes after which you can open the lid, stir it once just to ensure that the flavours are mixed well and close the lid again for another 2-3 minutes.
13. Garnish with chopped coriander if desired and serve hot!
*While cooking rice, it is advisable to reduce the quantity of water as you increase the quantity of rice. 1 cup of rice needs 2 cups of water to cook. However as you increase the quantity of rice and depending on the shape & size of the vessel used the rice often gets cooked in the steam hence if you use 3 cups of rice, you can reduce the quantity of water to about 5 cups (double minus 1)