An all vegetarian meal on a Sunday is a record of sorts in our home. But we did it today. With this vegetable pulao/pulav, cucumber raita and some roasted papad/poppadoms.
For the Vegetable Pulao, I got some color on my potatoes and cauliflower. Stirred in the cup of diced mushrooms I had in my fridge and added some color with carrots and green peas. You can use green beans too which I did not have at home today.
Ingredients for Vegetable Pulao/Pulav are:
1 cup diced cauliflower
1 medium potato, cut in cubes
1 cup button mushrooms, cut in quarters
Quarter cup green peas
Quarter cup diced carrots
1 inch knob of ginger, ground
3-4 green chilies, finely chopped
Little squirt of lemon juice
1 cup Basmati rice
Half teaspoon cumin seeds
2 bay leaves
2 green cardamoms
2 black cardamoms
1 stick cinnamon
Pinch of grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon desi ghee
Pinch of sugar
Wash and drain the rice and keep it in a sieve for about 20 minutes.
Heat oil in a pan and sauté the cauliflower and potatoes separately to get a light color on them. Remove and keep aside. Sauté the mushrooms in the same pan.
Add ghee in the pan and add the whole spices like cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon, cumin seeds and bay leaves. Let it sauté for a minute. Add the rice and mix well. Toss in the sautéed vegetables, carrots, peas, ginger and green chili pieces. Stir well to mix everything. Let the rice and vegetables sauté for about 3-4 minutes. Add salt and a pinch of sugar.
Transfer to a microwaveable bowl, add two cups of water, lemon juice and the grated nutmeg. Give it one last stir. Cover with a cling film. Microwave for 20 minutes or till rice is done. If you see some moisture in the rice after the cook time, turn the microwave oven on for 3-4 minutes more.
Let the pulav stand in the bowl for about 10 minutes before you serve.
Ingredients for Cucumber Raita are:
1 cucumber, grated
2-3 green chilies, finely chopped
Handful of finely chopped cilantro
1 cup Balkan-style plain yogurt
1 teaspoon bhaja moshla
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Whisk the yogurt, chill for some time. In a bowl, mix all the ingredients and season with black salt. You can use regular salt if you don’t have black salt.
I make my bhaja moshla (dry roasted spice) by roasting some cumin seeds and coriander seeds on low heat. Then I coarsely dry grind them. The bhaja moshla can be stored in a clean jar for a few weeks. It just adds a whole lot of earthy fresh flavor and taste to raita and salads.
An experienced Bengali housewife would also use this bhaja moshla to take a plain potato curry to the next level.