Thursday, January 31, 2013

Bengali Mishti Pulao

The Bengali Mishti Pulao is something that I have always, always invariably overeaten. And that happens even with my own cooking.

When I was little, it was well-known in our family that “Rini loves Mishti Pulao”. So one time my grandmother and I went to lunch at a certain Kakima’s place. The kind lady had made my favourite – Bengali Mishti Pulao and Mangsho. I was about four, maybe five. I had a couple of spoons of the mishti pulao, and said to the unsuspecting aunt, who was probably looking to score some points with a five-year-old pulao connoisseur – “You do not know how to make Mishti Pulao, please learn from my Mama. She makes it the best.”

And I put my spoon down, much to the embarrassment of my grandmother. That was probably the last time we were invited over to that Kakima’s place.

My love for Mishti Pulao has rubbed on to LMN as well. And I am so proud about that. Last month when we were in India, my Mum made her signature Mishti Pulao and gave some to my daughter with little shreds of kosha mangsho. Undoubtedly LMN loved it. I think she even wanted some in her bottle!

033Mishti Pulao is a sweet, aromatic rice dish for the blue-blooded. Its great on its own, but has the capability of taking you to Pulao Heaven if you eat it with slow-cooked mutton curry (or chicken curry), sometimes even chholar dal or alu-phulkopir dalna on that no-non-veg Shoshti day. Its so good, I could take it intravenously.

IMG_9760Though most of the times, I make my Mishti Pulao with high quality Basmati rice, you ought to make it with Gobindobhog rice, the short-grain rice every Bengali vows for. My Mishti Pulao even has fresh green peas in it, just like they serve in Bengali weddings.

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Ingredients for Bengali Mishti Pulao are:

2 cups Gobindobhog or Basmati rice (washed and drained, kept in a colander/sieve for 10-15 minutes)
Half cup fresh green peas
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 heaped teaspoon turmeric powder
Handful of cashews
Handful of raisins
2 tablespoons ghee
2 + 2 green and black cardamoms
4-5 cloves
1 medium size stick of cinnamon
Quarter teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 bay
Few drops of lemon juice
Sugar
Salt
3 and a quarter cups of water

IMG_9918Begin by heating the ghee in a wok/pan.

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IMG_9919Add to the ghee the bay, cinnamon, cardamoms, and cloves in no particular order. Give them a minute to crackle and make the ghee fragrant. Now throw in the cashews and raisins. Make sure you turn the heat to the lowest mark, lest the cashew and raisins burn.

raisinsAs soon as they turn golden brown, add the rice. Mix it around to coat with the ghee and other ingredients. After about 3-4 minutes, add the peas, ginger and turmeric.

green peas

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Mix all the ingredients with the rice. And move the rice around in the pan for 2-3 minutes on low-medium heat. Now add the salt and sugar. Mix and keep in the pan for a minute more. Its important to now turn the heat off lest the sugar melts and caramelizes the rice. That’s a spoiler.

IMG_9927Add the grated nutmeg and pour the rice into a microwaveable bowl, and squirt a few drops of lemon. Add three and a quarter cups of water, seal the bowl with a lid or cling wrap and microwave for 20-22 minutes.

IMG_9929Do a taste test and add more salt or sugar if needed. Serve the Mishti Pulao with Mutton Curry, Chicken Curry, Chholar Dal or eat on its own. And praise the Lord, for there is nothing compared to a bowlful of Bengali Mishti Pulao.

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6 comments:

Chandrani said...

I also use jharna ghee. The pulao looks very tempting pree.

Sayantani said...

thik bolecho Gobindobhog ei best hay. ki sundor first chobita.

Kamalika C said...

Ki darun dekhte hoechhe...amio gobindobhog chal diye kori....But I have never used Nutmeg and Peas...I do lil bit different way...I wash the rice, strain it and add turmeric, salt , sugar and ginger (cut in thin slices)...then mix it well and spread it on a plate to dry up for around 15-20 mnts....then do the rest same like you......

Aar Bee said...

I love polau in any form! This one looks so close to the one my dida makes. I do mine the similar way but have never used nutmeg. This should add an interesting flavour altogether. Must try!

poorna banerjee said...

Ish! Eita dekhe now all I want to do is curl up in my bed with a big plate of it with some chicken kawsha on the side. On other news, of all things, KFC makes a Rizo rice with curry and a piece of chicken that decidedly tastes of polao. Not mishti though. But polao.

Priyanka Mitra said...

Hi can you please let me know the exact amount of sugar that you add? I am always getting the mishti bit wrong.