Today I am sharing a Bengali pulao recipe, Basanti pulao. Pulao is an umbrella term used for a variety of rice preparations. The rice grains used in making pulao is, a good quality aromatic ones. Various parts of our country have been producing varieties of these aromatic rice over the years and area specific people have used their regional good quality produce in making these rice preparations. However, most of the time when we stay away from our native place, we generally pick up a good quality long grain Basmati rice, which is easily available at all stores, and fits well in all these rice preparations.
In West Bengal, people generally choose Gobindobhog rice for their pulao and khichdi preparations, which is not easily available at other parts of the country. So, for today’s recipe I have used Basmati rice for making the pulao. Generally, pulao is a spicy rice preparation, but this is a Bengali pulao recipe, which is prepared without using any spice, except few whole spices. This is generally a bit sweeter than the other pulao preparations.
Basmati rice or you can use Gobindobhog rice if available, 3 cups
Cashew nuts 1/2 cup
Raisins 1/4 th cup ( optional)
Bay leaf 1 or 2
Whole dry red chilli 1
Cinnamon 1” stick
Cardamom 5 or 6
Cloves 5 or 6
Turmeric powder 1 tsp
Salt as per taste
Sugar a bit more than the salt
Ghee 2 tbsp
- Wash the rice clean and soak in water for 30 to 40 minutes. After the soaking time is over, drain the water and keep the rice aside.
- heat ghee in a heavy bottomed saucepan at medium flames. Once hot, temper it with the whole spices and add the cashew nut in it. Stir and fry the cashews for few seconds.
- then add the rice and stir well for few seconds. Now, add the turmeric powder and the raisins and again stir well for about a minute, such that, the rice grains gets well coated with the turmeric powder. Since, this pulao is yellow in colour as the name suggests ( basanti ), I have used turmeric powder to give it yellow colour. Some people also use the yellow food colour for this purpose. So, it is totally your choice to use turmeric powder or yellow food colour.
- now, increase the flames to maximum and add 6 cups of water ( double the amount of rice ) and salt. Stir a little and bring it to a boil. Use the same cup to measure rice and water.
- Once the water starts boiling, reduce the flames to minimum, stir once and cover and cook for about 5 minutes without disturbing it
- after 5 minutes, the rice will soak in maximum water and you will not see any extra water on top. At this stage, add the sugar, give it a very light stir to mix the sugar and again cover and let it cook undisturbed for another 5 to 7 minutes.
- after 5 to 7 minutes, open cover, check the rice and switch off the flames. Basanti pulao is ready to be served. Pair it up with any veg or non veg side dish of your choice and enjoy.