PULAO is also called as Pilaf, Pulaav, Palov, Pallao, Polo, Fulao, etc…….. in many other countries. Pulao and similar dishes are common to Balkan, Caucasian, Middle Eastern, Central and South Asian, East African, Latin American and Carribean cuisines. It is a staple food in many such countries.
In ancient Sanskrit works too, the word ‘PULAO’ or ‘PALLAO’ is used to refer to the dish where meat and rice have been cooked together.
It’s basically a rice dish cooked together with different ingredients, like in some places it’s cooked with meat and spices and in some with vegetables. The basic cooking technique of pulao differs from country to country and region to region.
In India, we have developed our own versions of PULAO. One such version is the Paneer Vegetable Pulao.
1 cup Basmati rice
2 cups Water
150 gms Paneer (Cottage cheese) ……..cubed
1/4 cup Green peas
1 Medium Carrot…….. finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup Cashewnuts
2 Small onions ……..finely chopped
1 Medium Tomato………. finely chopped
1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
2 tsp Sugar
3 tbs Homemade ghee
Whole spices for tempering :
2 inch Cinnamon
3 Green Cardamoms
1 Black Cardamom
3-4 Black Peppercorns
1 Bay leaf
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
1. To begin making the paneer pulao, first wash and soak the Basmati rice in sufficient water for half an hour.
2. In a heavy bottomed pan, heat the ghee and add the ingredients mentioned for tempering. As soon as they splutter, add the chopped onions and saute till transparent. At the same time heat the water in another pan and bring it to a boil.
3. Add the turmeric powder to the onions and mix. Add the chopped tomato and saute. After a while add the vegetables and mix well.
4. Now add the drained rice and mix well. Add mentioned sugar and salt to taste. Add the boiling hot water to the entire mixture and mix lightly. Keep on high flame till the water reduces to half.
5. Reduce the heat to minimum and cook covered till done. Do not stir much.
6. In a small kadhai, heat some ghee and lightly roast the cashewnuts and cubed paneer. Add to the pulao and mix.
Paneer Pulao being a very healthy, quick, simple and easy dish is a good option for tiffins, lunch or dinner. Can be served with some Nutri daal fry, dahi kadhi, raita or any other accompaniment. This pulao actually tastes delicious by itself and doesn’t necessarily need any special accompanying side dish!