Just like the place, Kashmiri Cuisine can also leave you spellbound.
While generally known for the rich lamb dishes, Kashmiris pride in their vegetarian delicacies like the Kashmiri Dum Aloo, Kashmiri Rajma and the Lotus stem curry. One such cuisine that is very popular and eaten with equal frenzy across the country is Kashmiri Pulao. What makes Kashmiri Pulao different from the rest is the use of dried fruits and fresh fruits in addition to the vegetables cooked in milk and saffron.
Raitha alone is an excellent accompaniment or you may chose to have this with any gravy. It took me two years after my visit to Kashmir to finally try this out and I was lucky enough the very first time. The flavor filled aroma was more than what I could possibly ask for.
There you go -
- Basmati Rice - 1 cup
- Milk - 1 cup
- Water - 1 cup
- Saffron Strands - 3-4
- Cardamom - 3
- Cinnamon - 2 inch stick
- Cloves - 3
- Pepper Corns
- Cumin seeds
- Bay leaf - 2
- Mint Leaves - 5-6
- Ginger chopped - 1 tsp
- Onion - 1
- Ghee - 3-4 tbsp
- Dry fruits - Walnut, Cashewnut, Almond, Raisins - a handful mix
- Fresh fruits - Pomegranate, apple - a handful chopped
- Carrots - 1 no.
- Paneer - 50 gms
- Salt to taste
Wash and soak the Basmati Rice in water and soak the saffron strands in 1/4 cup of warm milk for for 15 minutes.
Heat a skillet and add 2 tbsp of ghee to this. Add roughly chopped almonds, cashewnuts and walnuts to this and saute it till the color of the cashew begins to change. Transfer this to a tissue paper to drain off the excess oil. Add raisins to the ghee and saute it till it fluffs up. Drain off the excess oil and keep it aside.
Thinly chop the onion and fry it in the ghee till the color changes to brown. Keep this aside for the garnish later.
Add ingredients 5 to 10 to the ghee and saute on medium flame for 1 minute. Add chopped ginger along with mint leaves and saute till the raw smell goes away. Toss in the Basmati Rice and once it heats up, pour water, the saffron soaked milk and the remaining milk to this along with salt. Keep on medium flame and covered till cooked. Fork the rice to prevent it lumping.
In the mean time chop the carrots and paneer, in a separate skillet saute this till cooked.
Add this to the rice along with the dry fruits and mix on low flame ensuring that the rice doesn't get mushy.
Switch off the flame and add the pomegranates and apples( you may use pineapples also). Do not cook once the fresh fruits are added. Garnish with the fried onions and serve it along with raitha.