Pilau Rice (Pulāva cāvala – पुलाव चावल)

This is another one of those recipes where everyone has their own recipe. This particular version is good for when you want something a little more fragrant than plain boiled rice, but not weighed down with peas and fried onions that might not go with everything else that you’re eating.

This makes enough rice for about 8 people.

The ingredients:

Basmati rice (bāsamatī cāvala / बासमती चावल) – 500g
Cloves (lauṅga / लौंग) – 4
Cardamom pods (ilāyacī / इलायची) – 4
Cinnamon stick (dālacīnī / दालचीनी) – 1
Ghī (घी) – 1 teaspoon
Salt (namaka / नमक) – 1teaspoon
Water* (pānī / पानी)

*I can’t remember where I heard this trick but it works so here you go: add your rice to the pan, place the tip of your finger on top of the rice and fill with cold water until it reaches about 1 cm up your finger (this equals about double the amount of water to raw rice).

The recipe:

  • Rinse your rice until the water runs clear (i.e. free from starch), and allow to drain. 
  • Heat the ghī in a large saucepan, then add your spices.
  • Once the spices start to pop a little, add the drained rice and immediately add the water, so that the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Add your salt.
  • Bring to the boil.
  • Once boiling, put the pan on the lowest hob you can, and cover with the lid.

DO NOT STIR RICE, BECAUSE THIS ENCOURAGES IT TO BREAK UP. INSTEAD, HOLD THE PAN (AND LID) TIGHT WITH A CLOTH AND SHAKE TO ENSURE THE RICE DOESN’T STICK TO THE PAN.

  • Once the rice is fluffy and has absorbed the water it is done.

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