Friday, February 10, 2012

Recipe: Manglorean Sweet Pulao / Pilaf - Vegan

Sweet Pulao is a traditional dish that is served at most auspicious Manglorean Catholic occassions including Weddings, Christenings, Christmas & Easter. The pulao is traditionally eaten with an even sweeter banana + raisin chutney, but I personally prefer a spicy accompaniment to contrast the sweet flavours of the pulao.

Traditionally, the pulao is cooked like a biryani on a slow fire and with hot coals on top. For home cooking, I prefer to use the pressure cooker.

500gms Basmati (or any long grained) Rice - washed and soaked for 15 minutes, then drained.
3 onions - thinly sliced
handful of nuts (cashewnuts are traditional, I like to use a mix of cashewnuts and almonds)
handful of raisins / kishmish
2-4 tbsp sugar (depending on how sweet you like it, I prefer 2 tbsp)
salt to taste
1 bay leaf
4-5 cloves
1-2 green cardamoms
2" cinnamon
1 biryani flower - star anise (its not traditional, but I like to add it for the fragrance)
4 cups water (twice the volume of the uncooked rice)
2-3 tbsp ghee (vegans can use sunflower oil)


Warm the pressure cooker and then melt the ghee in it.
Fry only 2 onions (thinly sliced) till crisp and brown.

Warm the water in a seperate vessel (be careful not to let it bubble too much before adding to the rice, else you will lose volume to evaporation.)
Drain onions and reserve.
In the same ghee/oil, add the bay leaf, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and star anise.
Add the nuts and raisins are lightly roast.
You can then remove some nuts & raisins for garnishing.
Add the remaining sliced onion and saute for a minute or 2.
Add the drained rice and fry for a couple of minutes till the rice releases its fragrance.
Then add, hot water, salt and sugar and mix well (but gently, so you don't break the rice grains).
If you want a richer fragrance, you can slowly add 1/2 tsp of ghee on top of  the water, but don't stir after adding the ghee.
Close the pressure cooker and cook till done (3 whistles in the Hawkins)
Let the pressure escape on its own.
Open and transfer to a serving dish if you like.
Garnish with the reserved fried onions, nuts and raisins.
Serve with banana + raisin chutney for a traditional taste.

Since I like a spicy accompaniment, we had it with Jamaican jerk chicken & baby corn.
Kim's Tip:
If pre-frying rice for a pulao or biryani, always add hot water for cooking.
Adding cold water, temporarily halts the cooking process that has begun and you will end up with rice that has a hard bite in the center.

If you notice, my pulao has a slightly brownish shade. If you want your pulao to be white in colour, then don't cook it in the same ghee/oil OR the same vessel in which you caramelise the onion.

Recipe: Banana-Raisin Sweet Chutney

Banana-Raisin Sweet Chutney is traditionally served with Manglorean Sweet Pulao. I don't make this chutney as I'm allergic to bananas and personally I prefer a spicy accompaniment to the Sweet Pulao. This however is my mums recipe and I'll upload a picture when I can find it.

The chutney has a deep red colour and this comes from a slice of boiled beetroot.

1 ripe Mysore plaintain (substitute with any sweet variety)
1 slice of boiled beetroot (this is for colour - the more beetroot you use, the deeper the colour)
6 dates
50 gms raisins / kishmish
1 red chilli (remove the seeds if you prefer it less spicy)
1" ginger
1 small onion
a sprig of mint

3 cloves
1/4" cinnamon
pinch of tamarind paste
salt to taste

Grind all the ingredients to a smooth paste without water.
Serve with Manglorean Sweet Pulao.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Recipe: Manglorean Prawn Masala

I'd defrosted some prawns today, and wanted to make something quick, dryish (not a curry, but with a bit of masala clinging to it) and spicy. I didn't want to fry them as I normally do as I wnated them to be an accompaniment to the rice and rotis and not an appetiser. So I revisited an old favourite. If you have cleaned prawns and meetmirsang on hand, it literally can be ready in 5-10 minutes.

200gms cleaned prawns (weight after cleaning should be 200gms)
1 tsp vinegar
pinch of salt
2 pinches of turmeric powder
1 tsp coconut oil (you can use regular oil, if coconut isn't available)
1 sprig curry leaves
1 medium sized tomato
1-2 green chillis - optional (add only if you like your food spicy)
1 tbsp meetmirsang masala

Clean the prawns and lightly toss in a mixture of vinegar, salt and turmeric powder (to get rid of the fishy smell)
Chop the tomatoes and green chillies if using.
Heat the oil in a pan and temper with the curry leaves.
Add chopped tomatoes and green chillies.
When tomatoes are semi cooked, add the meetmirsang and fry until tomatoes are fully cooked.
Now add the prawns.
Stir fry on high heat for 2-5 minutes, depending on size of prawns.
When done, take it off the fire and serve hot with steaming hot rice and saar.

This dish can also be served as an appetiser, but you may want to decrease the spice by omitting the green chillies.


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