Quick and easy pulao

I am particularly proud of this one. It's pretty close to my heart as I love a nice pulao. I am very clear that pulaos have to be light, delicate, fragrant. I hate heavy, oily, greasy pulaos or biryanis.
I made this the other night when I made kosha chicken and paneer for our friends who dropped in after work. Now Kainaz claims that I repeated this story thirty times that night and blamed it on the beer that I sipped while cooking. Well, to start with it wasn't that much beer. Secondly, perhaps fourteen times. Definitely not thirty!
Anyway I just had green tea now so don't worry. You will hear the story only once.
I thought of making this while chatting with my friend K and cooking. He asked me what was for dinner. I said 'kosha moorghi'. He said 'oshadharon (outstanding)'. I tentatively showed him the paneer. He said 'oshadharon'. Then he said 'and biriyani'. I said 'no, plain rice'. And his face fell.
That's when I came up with the idea to cook up this cross between a biriyani rice and peas pulao. I used the layering technique of biryani and was mighty pleased with the result.
So here's my recipe for the Really Easy Peas Pulao
  • Boil rice - soak basmati rice for at least half an hour in water. Pour out the water and add water which is twice the amount of rice and bring to boil. Then reduce the flame and keep taking a bit of rice out in a ladle to see if it is cooked (should be soft, bigger and elongated compared to when you started BUT NOT soggy). Once the rice is done, pour out the extra water. I do this by covering the lid of the pan with a steel pan, holding it on two sides with cloth dusters/ pads and pouring the water out. A strainer would be as good. I had some frozen peas at home so boiled them along with the rice.
  • Heat a bit of ghee (2 spoons for every cup of rice that you cooked. 1 person needs half a coffee mug of uncooked rice) and add some whole garam masala - 1 spoon, a bay leaf, a bit of salt and heat this. I heated it in a small stainless steel bowl
  • Delicately insert a ladle in the rice, and put in a tea spoon of the ghee and masala in the gap that you created. Pat it back and dig the ladle again and pour in some more hot ghee and masala in the new gap. Repeat this process till all the ghee is over. In effect you are creating little steps and pushing in the ghee mixture.
  • Then I remembered I had some kesar at home. I soaked a tea spoon of kesar (saffron) in a small bowl of milk and heated it. You need very little milk, about 4,5 table spoons. Then repeated the furrowing technique with the kesar milk in the rice
  • I didn't do this but try garnishing with some deep fried slivers of onion or some roasted dried fruits like cashews if you have some at home

The result was a lovely, fragrant, crisp and light pulao. I think it complimented the chicken and the paneer quite well. It is particularly useful to have a flavoured rice like a pulao if your side dish is dry.