Pulao is a very popular and common Rice Preparation of India. However, every region has its own style of preparation. Where Rice remains constant, the flavours, the spices, herbs used in the preparation varies and every region has its unique taste and flavor. That is the beauty of Indian Cuisine. Bashonti Polao is one of the varieties of Pulao, popular in Eastern Region specially in Bengal. This is cooked in Bengali households during any auspicious occasions be it Puja, Birthdays, Marriage, Annaprashan or New Year. It is yellow in colour, high on sweeter side and must be cooked in Desi Ghee. I cooked it on the occasion of Bengali New Year, Noboborsho and on this occasion it is a must dish in our family. In Bengal, its cooked with Gobindobhog Rice, which is short grain but very very aromatic. Since it is not available easily outside Bengal I have prepared with Basmati Rice. The method used is very traditional the way my mom used to cook it.
- Basmati/Gobindobhog Rice 2 cups
- Clarified Butter 100 gm
- Sugar 2 tblspn
- Turmeric powder 1 tspn
- Salt 2 tspn
- Green Cardamom 8
- Cinnamon stick 2 large
- Cloves 8
- Javitri/Mace preferably powdered ¼ tspn
- Jaiphal/Nutmeg grated/powdered ¼ tspn
- Bay leaves 4
- Cumin seeds 1 tspn
- Cashew nuts ½ cup
- Raisins 2 tbspn
- Water 4 cups
Wash the rice thoroughly. Take water in a bowl and put 4 beaten cardamom, 1 broken cinnamon stick, 2 bay leaf and 5 cloves in it. Soak the rice in this water for 15/20 mins.
Now pick the cardamom, cinnamon and cloves from water and the rice but do not throw the water, store it in separate container. Later, the rice shall be cooked in the same water.
Strain the rice thoroughly so that the water dries up from rice. Its better to keep the strainer under fan. It takes 15 mins. My mom used to dry up the rice in a malmal cloth.
In the mean time crush the cardamoms and cinnamons taken out from the water. Now spread the rice in a tray or in a large plate. Add the crushed masalas and put, ½ tspn turmeric powder, salt, sugar, javitri and jaiphal powder over the rice. Pour Half of the ghee all over the rice. Now mix the rice with ghee and other masalas very carefully in light hands. The rice is wet and fragile, so it should not break. Let it get marinated for at least ½ hr.
In a deep pan, pour ghee, heat it. Deep fry the cashew nuts and raisins one by one and keep aside.
In the same ghee, add bay leaves and cumin seeds. Do not burn the cumin, add quickly cardamom, cinnamon sticks, cloves, fry till the ghee gets aromatic of garam masalas.
Put ginger and stir fry for 1/2 min then balance turmeric in ghee and immediately add the marinated rice. Turmeric should not burn so you must be ready with the rice to pour in pan. Stir the rice in ghee for 4-5 mins. Put the fried dry fruits.
Add the stored water. Check the salt and sugar level to add more as per personal choice.
Cover and cook on slow flame till the rice is cooked. It generally takes 12-15 mins.
Rice is ready to serve. It is so tasty and flavourfull that could be eaten as its. However,best combination is with Fish Kalia or Kosha Mangsho or Bhuna Gosht.
Note: This Pulao could also prepared in Pressure Cooker. After all frying transfer the rice in pressure cooker and 3 ½ cups of water. After two whistles switch off the stove. Open the lid after the pressure is released. After opening the lid wait 2-3 mins before transfer in the serving bowl.