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.


Shireen Sequeira said...

Thank you for your lovely comment on my post Kim! Maybe we were separated at birth :) So good to know that you are obsessed with biryanis too! By the way, the sweet pulao is my favourite too (naturally, cuz it's made of rice!), except that I never get to make it at home since hubs doesnt like it much despite being a Mangy. Thanks for the book recommendation, will pick it up soon and I recently got to know that Kurush Dalal was Katy Dalal's son, so hopefully I should try & get to taste some food from Dalal Ent.,

Kim said...

Thanks Shireen,

My UPite husband thinks this pulao is too sweet to be a main course, he says it just needs milk and no onion and then it will be a perfect dessert. Sigh! :)

picture said...


Anonymous said...

Hi karishma,
Hope u r doing fine.. Very well guessed it's u..Really glad to see the blog. Wow!! :) I love sweet pulavo and it's just the exact way my mom used to do .. Lovely! Having guest this weekend am gonna make this sweet pulavo with red chutney!!
Sheba ( your neiighbour/ collegue in Mangalore)

Karishma Pais said...

Hi Sheeba,

How lovely to hear from you. Where are you these days?

Do let me know how the pulao turns out for you

Sumana Bhandarkar said...

Looks yummm. Will try this soon


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