Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Rice & Bean Pulao

They say you learn something every day. Some day's it's even true. My most recent increase in knowledge comes courtesy of Alexx's blogsite. Idly surfing I checked a link she had for a dinner she'd made of a rice dish called pulao. One of it's positives was that it was good next day for lunch, definitely a quality I like. I had vaguely heard of it but was quite sure it was a south American rice dish - information I confidently imparted to the man when I was explaining what treats lay in store for the nights dinner.

The finished dish was indeed a delight, though possibly the cuisine of south America didn't immediately spring to mind. Wishing to share my discovery with the world I did a quick google to find out a little more about it. And discovered it is a very well known - by most people - Indian rice dish. Which made a little more sense. At Maa Inti Vanta I found an interesting comparison between pulao and biryani - an Indian rice dish I do know. She explains that in a biryani, the parboiled rice is layered twice or more between the spices and the meat, and they are all cooked together. In a pulao, the stock forms the base and the rice is cooked with the spices so that it absorbs all the flavor, whereas biryani is made by the draining method of cooking rice. The end result though is pulao a more lightly spiced dish, its strength definitely in its subtlety.

Here's the version I made last night - the only curry powder I had was Korean and it worked a treat. I think you could be pretty free and easy with the vegetables you include, so long as they are fairly fresh. Don't forget to finish it with a little lemon juice - it lifts the dish. I suspect it would be very good with yoghurt.

Rice & Bean Pulao
200g of basmati rice
500ml stock or water, I used chicken stock
400g tin borlotti beans, drained and rinsed
1 onion peeled and finely sliced
100g of frozen peas
2 courgettes diced
1/2 head of cauliflower cut into small florets
Juice of half a lemon
2 tablespoon of sunflower oil
2 cinnamon sticks broken in half
2 cloves, 2 green cardamom pods (both spices crushed)
2 teaspoons of curry powder - of whatever complexion
1 teaspoon of sea salt
fresh coriander leaves to sprinkle over the top

Leave the rice to soak in a bowl of cold water while you chop the vegetables. Heat a large saucepan on a moderate heat and add the sunflower oil. Once the oil has slightly heated add all the spices and stir briefly. Then add the sliced onions and sweat for 10 minutes till they are translucent and smell good. Add the peas, cauliflower florets and courgettes. Continue to cook gently for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
Drain the rice and add to the pan, along with the borlotti beans, salt and stock. Turn up the heat and bring the pulao to the boil. Then turn the heat down to low and cover with the pan with a lid. Leave to cook until all the water has been absorbed and the rice is cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Once ready, check the seasoning - it may well need more salt - and add the lemon juice.
Serve in a suitable warm bowl with fresh coriander sprinkled over the top.

The final dish is a fabulous gold colour laced with green peas. A great lesson to learn - it looks good, smells great, tastes even better!

1 comment:

Alexx said...

:) I think the book I used has got rather confused about this dish!