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Tuesday, April 30, 2019

A - Z Biryani / Khichdi / Pulao Series ~ Z for Zafrani Pulao

Sometimes the simplest dishes win over you and this was one such time. I wanted to finish my series with either 'Zarda Mutanjan', a delicacy from the Mughal era or "Zam Zam Biryani', a Mumbai biryani loaded with koftas and fries. I kept on dragging the preparation till the end only to notice that my initial excitement bubble has fizzled out. I wanted to opt for a simple yet palate pleasing dish and zeroed on this mildly favored zafrani pulao. It catches the eye even without requiring elaborate steps or too much investment of time. The dish is prepared using common ingredients found in most of the Indian households except the highly prized, exotic zaffron aka saffron. The mingling of aromatic and tantalizing flavors of saffron and the palate and eye pleasing garnish of nuts, fried onions and cilantro elevate this exotic one pot rice meal from being a simple dish. It makes an enjoyable meal paired with any spicy gravy of your choice. We had it with a mixed dal fry and it proved to be one of those dishes from this series both my husband and I enjoyed equally. And here is a sweet version Zafrani Pulao if someone is interested.

The rice is usually cooked in a pot on low flame and saffron milk is sprinkled over the top at the final stages of cooking which imparts  flavor and a vibrant yellow hue to some of the grains. The rice can also be cooked in a pressure cooker if not comfortable cooking in a pot and especially if cooking in large quantities. Divide the rice, water, salt and the toasted spices equally into two parts and add them to two different containers that fit into your cooker. Add the saffron milk to one portion. Pressure cook for three whistles and turn off the stove. When the valve pressure is gone, gently fluff and combine both the rices. 

Conventional cooking advises to soak rice for at least 30 minutes prior to cooking since it will yield fluffier rice and also gets cooked faster. I have used aged basmati rice during this marathon and cooked most of the dishes without soaking the rice. The purists may scoff at the idea but the rice cooks well yielding long and non sticky grains even without soaking, especially when using a pressure cooker. Cook for 3 whistles if using rice without soaking. I am guessing that one whistle would be enough for rice that has been soaked ahead. If soaked rice is cooked for three whistles, the rice tend to taste like overcooked one even if it looks ok. However I prefer to soak rice when cooking in a pot since it gets done quicker. 

Ingredients: (Yield 2 servings)
1 to 2 tbsp. ghee / oil
1 tbsp. each - almonds, cashews and raisins
1 tsp. cumin seeds / carom seeds
2 cloves
2 cardamoms
1 bay leaf
1/2 inch cinnamon piece
1/2 cup basmati rice
Salt to taste
3/4 cup water
1/4 tsp. saffron + 1 tbsp. warm milk
Minced cilantro to garnish
Fried onion slices to garnish

* Rinse and soak the rice in water for about 15 minutes.
* Soak saffron strands in warm milk / water in a small bowl and keep it aside.
* Heat ghee in a pot / pan, preferably a non stick one or a heavy bottomed one with a tight fitting lid. Toast almonds, cashews and raisins individually, remove them with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel lined plate. Keep them aside until needed.
* To the same ghee, add clove, cardamom, bay leaf and cinnamon and saute for few seconds.
* Next add drained rice and saute for a minute. Add water and salt and gently stir to combine.
* Cover and cook until 90% done on lowest heat setting. Pour the saffron milk over the top and finish cooking. 
* Turn off the stove and let it sit for few minutes.
* Gently fluff and garnish with toasted nuts, fried onions and minced cilantro.
* Serve with any spicy gravy. 

So far in my Biryani / Pulao / Khichdi series,

Ambur Biryani
Basanti Pulao / Misthi Pulao
Corn - Fenugreek Greens Pulao
Donne Biryani
Ek Toap na Dal Bhaat
Fada ni Khichdi

Gutti Vankaya Biryani
Hyderabadi Vegetable Dum Biryani
Iyengar Puliyogare
Jaipuri Mewa Pulao
Kashmiri Pulao
Lucknowi Biryani

Motiwale Pulao
Nei choru
Oodhala Pulao
Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#99.


Harini R said...

Same pinch suma. Gorgeous looking pulao. I also went for this simple yet flavorful pulao. I am a fan of saffron and love to use it in sweet or savory dishes.

vaishali sabnani said...

A salty version of Zarda is very interesting, would love to try. Loving the pictures , they are so vibrant and beautiful. I would have loved to see the Mutanjan...and we actually invest a lot of time researching.
Awesome recipes from you Suma, this marathon has been one interesting one, and you have given your best , you rocked.

sushma said...

Lovely dish, dish looks so beautiful and delicious. Lovely pics.

Srivalli said...

Lovely finish to the series Suma, I enjoyed reading this one and especially with dal, that bowl looks so yummy!

Kalyani said...

Zaffrani looks to be the flavour of the day - with so many lovely interpretations ! this is so captivating !

Gayathri Kumar said...

I have made the sweet version during one of the challenges. This version with the dal fry looks fantastic Suma. The addition of saffron milk would give the pulao a nice flavour.

cookwithrenu said...

The rice is so so beautifull done and well plated too. The dish is very inviting.

Srividhya said...

I was contemplating if I should try this or zarda and ended up making Zarda. That zam zam biryani sounds interesting. I need to check that out. Back to yours, lovely presentation. Very inviting.

Swati said...

Wonderful pulao that is so rich in flavors, what a delicious way to end the marathon.It is looking so inviting.. Love to have it with dal tadka or some spicy curry!!