Sunday, October 13, 2013

Hello Again!

First of all, a big HELLO to you all! I've been away so long, I don't even know where to begin this post. Let me start by wishing a very happy Dashera! What did you do this Navratri season?

I've been neck deep in work lately. I don't want to whine, but it's been an uninspiring couple of months. We finally caught a much needed break last weekend and escaped to a beautiful mountain log cabin. After recuperating, this weekend was all about cleaning, reorganizing, and decorating the house for the holiday season. We're ready to celebrate fall, Halloween, Diwali, and whatever other holiday that's coming up :). Doing something festive cheered me up to finally write a post. A bright wreath with fall hues adorns our front door now, carved pumpkins are ready to spook passersby, and a big star shaped lantern will be hung up soon. Fun times are here again!

I asked husband what he wanted for Dashera today, and he sounded pretty unenthusiastic about any sweets. There was no time to make a big feast among all the chores either. So I kept the menu simple yet special - a fragrant pulao, daal fry, with papad and pickle on the side. I often make peas pulao to add a touch of  'special'. Today, I tried my mom's favorite khada masala pulao (whole spices pulao) topped with decadent ghee fried potatoes and onions. I certainly care more about the topping than the rice itself :D. This pulao is all the fancy without much work. And it's a big crowd pleaser, loved by kids and adults alike. It'll be a great addition to your Diwali party menu.

Whole Spices Pulao with Fried Potatoes & Onions

4 Small red potatoes - peeled and cut into 8 wedges each
1/2 Red onion thinly sliced
1 1/2 Cups Basmati rice
2 Green chillies (slit in the center)
1 Teaspoon cumin seeds
2 Bay leaves
1 Cinnamon stick (~ 2 in)
5-6 Cardamom pods
4-5 Cloves
1/2 Teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2-3 Tablespoons ghee
Salt to taste

**Use a cast iron pot for making pulao. If not, use any thick bottom cooking pot.
  • Wash and drain rice and keep aside. 
  • Heat the cooking pot on medium-high and add 2 tablespoons ghee to it. Fry potatoes in ghee until golden brown (2-3 minutes) on each side. The potatoes should get crispy on the outside. Make sure they are tender when poked. Take them out and keep aside. 
  • Fry thinly sliced red onion (enough to garnish pulao) until brown in the remaining ghee. Keep aside.
  • You should still have enough ghee left in the pot for pulao. If not, add some more. If the ghee you fried potatoes and onions in smells burnt, replace it with a tablespoon of fresh ghee. 
  • Add all the whole spices, and green chilies to the pot and roast for a few seconds. Once the spices are fragrant, add washed rice and roast for another minute. 
  • Add 2 cups of water, salt to taste, and let the rice cook. It should cook fairly quickly after soaking, and cooking in ghee. You can cover it for some time, but take the lid off once it is half way done so that it doesn't get clumpy. Add a little bit of water if needed. 
  • Take out the rice in a serving bowl/dish and layer with fried potatoes and onion. 
**You can add peas, carrots, or green beans to the pulao if you like.

Serve with raita, daal fry, or your favorite curry. It tastes quite great by itself too. I prefer it this way.

Now that I'm back, stay tuned for more updates!

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