Tawa Pulav with Pav Bhaji Masala

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Tawa pulavs are quick fixes and a delicious alternate to the much time consuming Biriyanis.Although,the way I make Biriyani is not often very elaborate or time consuming. check it out here.  For this recipe, All we need is some cut vegetables and precooked rice. The rest of the proccess goes very easily by adding our favorite masalas.

This time I just wanted to try it out with the Pav Bhaji masala(store bought). And it turned out pretty darn good!

Check it out!

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Ingredients in order of appearance are:

Oil 2 tbsp

turmeric- 1/2 tsp

Jeera – 1 tsp

Ginger garlic paste- 1 tsp

finely chopped onions

finely chopped toamtoes

finely chopped capsicum

fresh corn kernels

fresh peas

fresh carrots cubed.

Pav Bhaji Masala 2 tsp, garam masala and red chilli powder 1 tsp each

Pre cooked rice,( basmati preferred)

Salt to taste.

Method:

Heat oil in a wide skillet or tawa on a medium to high heat. Add ingredients in the order above. Mix well to make a thick curry. FInally add rice and mix.

serve with raita.

Cilantro rice with Vegetable Blend

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I would like to call this dish as a perfect blend of the two most beautiful seasons: The spring and the Fall.

The bright fresh green of the cilantro and specks of brown , orange and green of the vegetables and beans combine together to form this visual treat.

Just as I finished grinding the cilantro, its fresh scent wafted and swept across the kitchen and hit my nose and got into my head :). It took me hours to get the aroma out of my head. And, It tasted as good as it smelled.

On a typical day, my lunch menu includes a rice item with combination of rasam and raita. Hence I always have a bag of frozen vegetable in the freezer, as they come in handy when I need them.

So this time I had this bag of frozen veggies which was a combination of both vegetables and beans. It’s  called the Mediterranean Blend.  It had broccoli, snap peas, kidney beans, lima beans, chick peas, carrots, cauliflower , all of  it in one bag!!!

That  mixed with fresh ground cilantro resulted in this beautiful and tasteful rice dish which I relished ( and I am sure you will too!) for the rest of the day. Yumm!

What we need:

2 cups of rice cooked and cooled( preferably Basamati)

2 cups of mixed veggies ( fresh or frozen)

To grind:

2 cups of fresh cilantro

1 medium onion

5-6 green chillies

Masalas:

1 tsp Jeera (cumin)

1 tsp ginger garlic paste

1 tsp garam masala

1 tsp biriyani masala ( home made or store bought)

oil

Method:

Cook the rice and spread it out to cool.

Next grind everything under “to grind” section above. Add very less water to form a thick paste.

In a pan pour 3 tbsp of oil. once hot, add cumin. When the cumin crackles add the mixed vegetables and fry them until they are tender.

Add the ginger garlic paste and fry for a minute more.

Add the rest of the masalas and salt  and cook for a minute more.

Then add the ground coriander paste to the mixed vegetables and fry until the raw flavor of the coriander paste fades away and the whole mixture cooks through and separates oil. The final mixture is dark green with vegetables.

Turn off the heat.

Finally mix the cooled rice with the vegetable mixture. adjust salt.( I usually add a tbsp of oil while mixing rice. taht gives a nice shine and texture to the rice, which otherwise might look dry).

Serve with raita or just plain yogurt.

Navratna Pulav

Nav- Nine, Ratna- gemstones. That is what it means. nav ratna – nine gemstones. Except we are not cooking with gemstones here. But the nine important ingredients that come together in this recipe are nothing less than gem stones, that makes this dish rich aromatic and flavorful .

There was a time, when I was not web savvy, I used to jot down recipes the moment I heard it from some one or watched it on TV. I used to just grab a notebook lying on the coffee table and start quickly jotting down the recipe. The recipes would find spaces in those last pages of the book or in the corner of an already filled up page or sometimes I even used to rip a tiny bit of paper and used to cram it with words almost illegible.

It was the excitement of finding a new recipe or the fear that if I miss it at that moment I would never learn that recipe ever. Those days were fun when I wanted to learn to cook and was all ears when my friends or family  talked about the dish.

Now times have changed so much that if I want to know about a recipe I know I will get it for sure, on the world-wide web. Well, most of the times.

This pulav  is one such recipe which I found  on the back pages of an old notebook when I was doing some closet cleaning. It was funny to see how I had almost squeezed the writing on the edge of the paper that I had to almost guess what those last ingredients are.

But don’t fear, now that I am quite a seasoned cook, I am confident about what I put in the dish and it is all safe.

Now, I am not exactly sure, to which place or culture this dish is indigenous to. I am guessing it is a Kashmiri cuisine. But please correct me if I am wrong about that.

Typically, this dish is rich with ghee, nuts like Pista, almonds and raisins for garnish. and also the dish is typically a combination of 9  fruits, vegetables and nuts. That is what makes it Navratna in a true sense.But I am forgoing all of that, reason simply  being I did not have those ingredients on hand and also I don’t like mixing sweet and spice together.

Oh Bummer, eh?

Introducing the Nav-ratnas:

Fresh grated Coconut- 1 cup

Cashewnut- A handful soaked in water

Poppy seeds- 1 tbsp soaked in water along with cashews

Cinnamon 1 stick

Star anise -1

Cloves- 3

Cardamom pods- 2

Saffron- I generous pinch soaked in warm water/milk

Yogurt- 1 cup

Others:

2 cups of Basmati rice, cooked and cooled for the grains to separate.

1 red onion grated

1 tomato pureed

1 cup of parboiled mixed vegetables( Cauliflower, beans, carrots peas)

1 tsp red chilli powder

1 tbsp ginger garlic paste

2 tbsp oil

salt to taste

Method:

For Grinding: Grind in to a smooth paste, coconut ,cashews and poppy seeds. ( the soaking of cashew and poppy seeds aids in smooth fine grinding)

In a thick bottomed pan, heat oil. To that add Cinnamon , cardamom, star anise, cloves and fry for about 30 seconds until flavors pop out.Add ginger-garlic paste and fry until raw smell is gone.

work on medium heat through out.

Next add grated onion and fry for about 2 minutes until the rawness goes away and onion paste separates from oil.

Next, add the tomato puree and fry for about a minute until the paste cooks and separate from oil.

Next add the ground coconut paste and mix well . Let it cook for about a minute.

Next, add the parboiled vegetables and mix well for about a minute.

Add salt and chilli powder and mix well.

Finally add yogurt  and let the whole mixture cook for another 2 minutes.

Turn off the heat.

Mixing:

In another wide pan spread the cooled rice .add the soaked saffron all over the rice. the beautiful warm orange color starts spreading.  Pour the spicy vegetable mixture on top of the rice. I like to work with my hands at this point. Mix with your hands thoroughly the rice and vegetables and the gravy altogether, so that the mixture evenly coats all of the rice.

Add salt if needed. If the dish is dry, mix in some olive oil on top. Cover the pan with aluminium foil.

Now turn on the heat to  medium low. Keep the pan on heat for about 10 minutes and let the whole dish cook through.

Serve warm with some raitha on the side.