Monday, December 1, 2014

Basanti Pulao / Bengali Style Sweet Yellow Pulao

Whenever I come across this word "Basanti", I can't help but think about Vasant Panchami, which is actually Saraswati puja. In our house Basanti Pulao is cooked on every Saraswati puja. Although I have hardly ate them during my schooldays, I loved them afterwards , when I used to stay at home on that particular day. This Basanti Pulao along with a rich and spicy side dish used to make an excellent lunch on that festive day.

bhoger pulao bengali halud mishti pulao

bengali sweet pulao

Back in the school days, Saraswati puja used to be our main attraction. Although we had to wake up in the dawn and bathe in that chilli weather, it was the after the events following the "Anjali", tempted us more. Also that was the day we could eat plums for the first time till winter had started. Eating plums before Saraswati puja is still considered to be a bad omen for annual exams .On this day all the students go to the school wearing beautiful sarees and of course wearing jweleries and make - ups. I also did the same with my friends. All of us acted as total grown ups on that day, sat in the class rooms or corridors, and had a super "adda" session. After that, when ignoring our hunger started to pose problems we headed to eat the "bhog" and returned home in the evening. This had been my routine for Saraswati puja for the beautiful 10 years of my life.

mishti pulao bengali pulao polao

Basanti pulao deserves a special mention among all the bengali pulaos, simply because of its aroma, texture and beautiful vibrant yellow color. This pulao also calls for Gobindobhog Rice which has its own texture and smell, which also adds an extra dimension to this sweet pulao, and ranks it a little higher than all the dishes. In our home, it used to be usually cooked on festival or "bhog" purpose. Perhaps for that reason its smell still takes me back to all those memories and I also couldn't help but cook this on a festive occasion too. This year, which have brought me practically the worse puja of my life (I am saving "worst" for the rest of the pujas of my life ), I could not help but wonder how on earth my husband had survived a decade in this country. No one does a puja here. I passed my days watching otherse's photos on Facebook, and sighed in terrible sadness that what I am missing. On those days, I indulged mysekf more into cooking making various dishes to add a festive mood at least in the meal. On such a day I made this Basanti Pulao and ate with kasha mangsho. After that, I slept the whole afternoon and consoled myself with the fact that next year I will not be doing the same thing.

holud pulao recipe bengali yellow sweet pulao recipe

Basanti Pulao / Basonti Polao
Serves 2

mishti pulao bengali sweet pulao bangla pulao recipe

  • 1 cup gobindobhog rice (If you can't find them, use fine Basmati rice. I also used Basmati rice.)
  • 2 tbsp pure desi ghee
  • 1/4 cup sugar (you can increase the amount according to your taste)
  • 2-3 tbsp warm milk
  • 10-15 strands of saffron
  • some edible non-toxic yellow food color (optional)
  • a handful of cashew nuts and raisins
  • 2 medium / 1 large cinnamon stick
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 1 star anise
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1 tsp mace and nutmeg powder
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 cups of water to cook the rice
  • Wash the rice with water until the water comes out clean. Then soak the washed rice in water, for 30 minutes. After that drain the water and keep the rice aside.
  • Take the warm milk and soak the saffron strands in it. Keep aside.
  • Take a heavy bottomed deep pan. A "dechki" will work good for this. Heat ghee in it.
  • Add the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, cloves, star anise and bay leaf. Sauté for some seconds and you will have beautiful fragrance in no time.
  • Add the cashew nuts and raisins, and sauté till the raisins puff up and the cashew nuts get a nice golden brown color.
  • Add the water, sugar, salt and let it come to boil.
  • When the water starts boiling add the rice. 
  • Give a nice and quick stir for 2 minutes and then add the warm milk.
  • Mix well so that each of the rice grains gets evenly colored.
  • Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Then open the cover and add the garam masala powder, mace and nutmeg powder. Mix well and cover again.
  • Cook until the rice is cooked and all the water is evaporated. The rice of pulao should be very fine, fluffy and non-sticky.
  • Put off the flame and serve hot with some kasha mangsho or matar paneer or dum aloo.

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