Ladies & gentlemen, the biggest fan of pulaos & biryanis is here with another presentation! The kind of Kheema Pulao that is fit for royalty - but of course the secret is out & dear Katy Dalal has made some of the most fabulous recipes accessible to commoners like me in her book called ' Pulaos & Biryanis' which I now possess. Well, actually it rightfully belongs to hubby dearest who hasn't touched it till date because his wife who gifted it to him is also the one who flips through it zeroing in on recipe after recipe each time the mention of 'biryani' or 'pulao' is made at home.
Well, while I like all kinds of biryanis and pulaos I particularly like to prepare the Kheema/Mince pulao as i feel it is lighter than the other heavy duty rice preparations. I love to try out new recipes especially with Kheema in it at least once in 2 months - and this pulao was due to be made. The last time I cooked something with Kheema & Rice was on the day there was a bomb blast in Mumbai (July 13th) and I was just not in the mood to put up the recipe (or even type & save it in draft) - I don't even remember what I had tried that day. Maybe I should retry the recipe sometime.
While I had never really tasted a Kheema Biryani before I got married, R & I became huge fans of the same when we tasted an awesome version (greasy & spicy too!) at Urban Tadka at Versova, Mumbai when we were still a newly wedded couple. We ate out a lot in those days as I was working & cooking an elaborate meal after getting home as late as 9 pm was unthinkable, so off we would go in search of new flavours. This place as I mentioned served the ultimate Kheema Biryani (complete with two dozen green chillies and enough oil to give you a heart attack) as the day's special only on weekends and we used to simply love eating it. At that point I found the idea quite innovative, not anymore, cuz Katy Dalal tells me that the Nawabs used to gorge on it often. Don't blame them - it is simply delectable and has this amazing characteristic of being elaborate yet simple at the same time.
Kheema Pulao or Biryani is the perfect meal I serve whenever I face the mid week menu planning crunch. Sometimes my menu planning doesn't take off every week although I'd wish it would, so the best thing I can do to keep my family's energy levels going is to serve some fragrant & flavourful Kheema Pulao. It really is a one pot meal (even though there are many pots waiting to be scrubbed after a biryani cooking session!) and needs no accompaniment besides a dead simple raitha. I usually serve the simple cucumber & onion raitha along with any kind of biryani that I cook.
I picked this recipe simple because it has all the ingredients I normally use. I skipped those which I didn't and I don't think it made any difference to the overall appearance & taste of the pulao.
The name of this pulao is quite elaborate, but it simply means - Pulao made of Chicken mince that is fit for royalty!
Murgh Ke Kheeme Ka Shahenshahi Pulao
Adapted from: Pulaos & Biryanis by Katy Dalal
For the rice
For the kheema
- 300gm (1-1/2 cups) basmati rice * see notes
- 1 gm saffron strands (kesar)
- 4 cardamoms (elaichi) crushed
- 2 bay leaves (tej patta)
- 1/2 tsp caraway seeds (shahjeera)
- 3 allspice corns (kababchini)
- 1 stock cube (optional)
- juice of 1/2 lime or 3 tsp lime juice
- salt to taste
- ghee for frying
For the ground masala
- 600 gm chicken mince
- 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
- 2 small onions finely chopped
- 200gm tomatoes skinned, deseeded & chopped*see notes
- 100gm fresh cream (I skipped this)
- salt to taste
- oil or ghee for frying
For the garnishing
- 3 medium size green chillies deseeded (adjust this as per taste)
- 4 kashmiri or long dried chillies deseeded
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg (zhaifal) scraped or powdered
- 1 inch cinnamon (dalchini)
- 3 cloves (laung)
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds (dhania)
- 1/2 tbsp fennel seeds (saunf)
- 1 cup (or 1 large) finely sliced onions
- 25gm whole cashew nuts
- 10gm almonds
- 25gm raisins
- 20gm sliced pistachios (I skipped this)
- rose essence or rose petals (I skipped this)
- 2 sheets silver vark (I skipped this)
- 3 hard boiled eggs halved (I skipped this)
1. Apply salt & ginger garlic paste to the chicken mince and marinate for 1/2 hr. Wash & soak the basmati rice for 15-20mins. Place the almonds in sufficient water & blanche (boil) them for 10mins. Remove skin & keep aside. Repeat process for pistachios, remove & keep aside.
2. Grind all the ingredients mentioned in 'For the ground masala' with a little water. Retain the masala water from the mixer jar.
2. Heat some ghee in a pan & fry the ingredients for garnishing - first fry the sliced onions till golden brown. Drain the excess oil & remove on a platter. Next toss in the cashewnuts and fry till pinkish brown, remove. Repeat this process for the pistachios, blanched almonds & raisins - fry all of them in the same ghee adding more if necessary.
3. In a deep thick bottomed pan heat some ghee & fry the chopped onions till translucent. Add the marinated mince and cook on a slow flame stirring for about 10 minutes. Do not cover the pan & ensure that you stir intermittently so that no lumps are formed. Add the chopped tomatoes & the ground masala and mix well. Add the masala water from the mixer jar & some more - a total of 1 cup. Cover the pan with a lid & pour some water on it. Use this hot water for the mince if required. Crumble the saffron strands into the mince, stir & cook on a slow fire.
4. While the mince is cooking, prepare the rice. Heat some ghee in a large pan & toss in the whole spices and then add the washed & drained basmati rice & fry it a little. Add freshly boiled water in the ratio of 1:1-3/4. So if you are using 1-1/2 cups of rice use 2-1/2 cups of water - this will result in partially cooked rice which is what we need here. Add the crumbled stock cube & lime juice. Check taste & add salt as required (note that the stock cube already has salt in it). When the water has come to a rolling boil, reduce the flame completely, cover with a tight lid, place a weight over it & cook for about 8-9minutes or till done. Open the lid, fluff up the rice with a fork.
5. Spread the cooked rice evenly over the cooked mince. Sprinkle half of the fried nuts, raisins & fried onions on the rice. Sprinkle the lightly beaten cream over the rice, add the rose petals or essence and if your mince did not have much liquid it in, sprinkle about 1/4 cup water over it. Cover the pan tightly with dough or a few sheets of aluminium foil so that no steam escapes. Place a tight lid & a weight over it and place the vessel on a iron tawa over a slow flame & cook for 15-20minutes.
6. When cooked, remove the pulao using a wide ladle onto a serving dish to ensure that the rice and mince are both integrated. Garnish with the halved boiled eggs, nuts, raisins, fried onions & silver vark. Serve hot with a simple raitha.
1. Do not soak the rice way too long (definitely not over an hour) as it will overcook by the time you place it over dum (steam cooking)
2. The bullion/stock cube is just my addition as I like the rice to be a little flavourful. Skip it if you wish and ensure you add adequate salt to the rice while cooking it.
3. The tomatoes can be finely chopped if you don't have time to skin them & deseed them
4. Personally I like fried cashew nuts in my rice preparations than almonds. The almonds should be blanched well & then roasted to give a crunchy bite.
5. If you are watching your weight use olive oil & ghee should be used sparingly (only for the flavour) - it will be lighter on your digestive system too.
A last shot of my plate heaped with this fragrant & delicious pulao before I wolfed it down :-)