I know have been harping on how much I love cooking, but there are days when laziness overcomes zeal and I succumb to the former. When this happened last evening, I decided that a well cooked meal need not require more than minimal effort. So y’day I broke all records and prepared dinner in a record thirty minutes, out of which I sat out twenty. Not a mean feat even if I may say so myself.
Before you get too excited, let me tell you that all I did was prepare pulao. But this was my first time and it came out all colourful, tasty and healthy, hence the excitement. My inspiration was dearest Roopabee who treated me to a very healthy but lip-smacking affair last week. It was a melange of vegetables straight outta the freezer with a boiled egg providing the proteins. What’s more, it has less than five ingredients in it! Ha!
While that recipe will come to you if it gets a clearance from the inventor, what I will tell you is how to make an easy peasy pulao, which is scores low on effort and high on taste. I gave the original recipe a desi twist and bunged in some rice for a “wholesome” meal. What I also discovered was that this pulao was quite biryaniesque. Wondering how? Read on.
a) Rice: one cup
b) Onion : one
c) Frozen vegetables: a cup
d) Zeera (cumin seeds): one tsp
e) Oil: one tbsp
f) Salt and pepper: to season/to taste
a) Heat oil, sizzle zeera (cumin seeds), after which you add chopped onions. Fry till brown.
b) Next add frozen vegetables. Fry a bit till they glisten.
c) Add washed rice and fry for another two minutes.*
d) Now add water twice the amount of rice.
e) Once the water starts boiling, put the heat on minimum. Cover and cook on this heat till the rice is done.
f) Serve with raita or plain curds if you choose. If going for the first option, make raita with beaten curd, chopped cucumber, onion, tomato, green chillies, seasoned with salt.
* I have noticed that this bit ensures that the rice will not clump and each grain stands out on its own.
- Pilaf = pulao same difference! The word “pilaf” is borrowed directly from the Turkish language.
- Middle Eastern, Central and South Asian, East African, Latin American, and Caribbean cuisines all have their own version of this rice dish.
- I have always wondered how was a pulao distinct from a biryani. A bit of reading revealed that the difference is quite subtle. In a biryani, the meat is fried before layering it along with rice, while in a pulao, the rice is cooked in the meat or vegetable broth (depending on whether you are making the vegetarian or non-vegetarian variety) and all’s mixed together. Also, a biryani is said to contain more spices and flavours than a pulao.