I could never understand how much time my aunt would spend on making Vegetable Pulao, ensuring each piece was of the same size, blanching and frying each kind of vegetable separately and then bringing it all together to make the final dish. Till the Covid-19 pandemic locked us in our homes. I found myself enjoying the care in cooking and the precision of each step in the making of a dish. I learnt to enjoy the magic of botany and chemistry in the process of cooking.
Basmati rice 2 cups
Cauliflower 1 cup of florets, each 1” thick
Carrots 1 cup of 1” cubes
Frozen peas 1 cup
Potatoes 2 medium, cut into 1” cubes
Onion 1 medium, sliced
Cumin seeds 1 tsp
Cinnamon 1” piece
Ginger 2” piece, crushed
Bay leaf 1
Peppercorns 1 tbsp
Oil 5 tbsps
Soak the rice for 20 minutes and drain.
Boil a pan of water with 2 tablespoons of salt and blanch the vegetables separately. Don’t blanch the peas.
Heat the oil in a iron pot — I use Le Creuset — and fry the onion slices till they are brown and keep aside.
Fry the blanched vegetables separately and keep aside. Don’t fry the peas.
Add the cumin seeds. When they stop sputtering, add the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cloves and peppercorns.
Add the crushed ginger and sauté for a few minutes.
Add the peas and the drained rice. Add the fried vegetables and salt to taste.
Mix well and add enough water to cover the rice and 1” above.
Bring to a boil, reduce the flame, cover and cook till the rice is cooked and the water is completely absorbed.
Garnish with fried onions and serve hot.