Fresh Fenugreek or Methi leaves are my other winter favourite after carrots. They were available abundantly in winters growing up in India and my mother would make it a part of our meals one way or the other-add it to lentils, in rice, vegetable stir-fries, parathas you name it! She would even dry a big batch and stock for summers as these greens can be found only in winters.
Methi is one of the greatest gifts from Mother Nature to us. Not only does it taste divine but has a gazillion health benefits from hair to skin to heart and bowels. This is definitely one green, which needs to be included more in our diets. So, I try and make the most of it when it is available in winters and this time I have also started to dry and stock for winter.
The pulaao has been a massive hit in the household ever since we first tried it. I add loads of fresh vegetables like mushrooms, carrots and peas to make this a one-pot meal for the kids.
- Long grain Basmati rice- 1.5 cups
- Fresh Methi leaves, cleaned and chopped- 2 cups
- Garlic- 10-12 pods
- Green chilli- 3 or as per taste
- Other vegetables like mushroom, carrot, green peas- ½ cup
- Turmeric- ½ teaspoon
- Ghee-2 tablespoons
- Cashews, halved- 6-8
- Raisins or sultanas- 10-12
- Cumin seeds- ½ teaspoon
- Salt-1.5 teaspoons or to taste
- Water- 3 cups (this amount would vary depending on the brand and age of Basmati Rice you use. Ideally, the ratio (rice: water) is 1:2.5 for plain cooked rice. However for pulaao, one would like slightly stiffer rice with grains which do not stick, hence 1:2 is a good ratio. If you are unsure of the amount of water while cooking pulaao, add 1:1 to begin with and you could add additional tablespoons while the rice is cooking. It takes some practice to know which brand of rice uses what amount of water and it is always tricky while making pulaao as you would not drain the water because that would mean draining away the entire flavour too. I recommend testing out your brand of rice a few times beforehand to determine the exact amount of water it completely absorbs to cook to a pulaao consistency.
- Soak the rice in half an hour before cooking and set aside
- Blend garlic and chilli to a coarse paste and set aside
- In a wide, deep and thick bottomed wok add ghee on a high flame and when hot add cashews, reduce flame to medium and roast till light golden brown and set aside. Stir continuously to avoid burning
- In the same wok add cumin seeds and stir till they start to crackle, then add the garlic and chilli paste. Cook on medium flame stirring continuously for 2-3 minutes till garlic is golden
- Add turmeric powder and mix well
- Add chopped methi and cook on a medium flame until the leaves are almost cooked. This would take around 5-7 minutes. Add other vegetables and saute for a minute or two
- Drain the soaked rice and add it to the above mix, giving it a good stir
- Add water, salt, half a tablespoon of ghee (optional) and cook till done
- Serve hot with a side of yoghurt or hot chilli garlic oil.