This pulao, as the name suggests, is a rice dish from Kashmir. The cuisine was influenced by the Mughals and is famous for using nuts and dried fruits from Central and Western Asia.
Kashmiri pulao can be slightly sweet and has a glorious texture. The amount and type of the nuts and fruit used will decide just how sweet the dish is.
Our favourite fruits are dried mango, dried papaya and raisins. I have made this dish using fresh fruit – apple and pineapple, finely diced and added when you add the dried fruit. This was a wonderful variation. In fact, using fresh fruit and dried fruit is pretty good too, but be careful not to complicate the dish. Part of its charm is its subtlety.
Note that I have specifically called out dried figs, and not include them in the generic dried fruit. These figs are an important part of the taste – do not leave them out.
Don’t stint on the saffron, but don’t overdo it. Too much saffron can ruin a dish with an overpowering, medicinal taste.
- 200 g basmati rice
- 100 ml milk
- 1 pinch saffron threads
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- 1 stick cinnamon - crumbled
- 3 cloves
- 3 green cardamom pods - broken open
- 1 indian bay leaf
- 1 red onion - finely sliced
- 20 g almonds - slivered
- 20 g raw cashews - broken into pieces
- 100 g dried fruit - finely diced
- 2 dried figs - finely diced
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp raw pistachios
- 50 g pomegranate seeds
- 1 lemon - juiced
- 1 tbsp almonds - flaked
- Wash the rice in several changes of water until excess starch has gone. Cover rice with cold water and soak for 30 minutes.
- Warm milk, add saffron threads and set aside to steep.
- Heat oil in a large frypan. Add cumin seeds, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and bay leaf. Cook for 30 seconds, or until spices sizzle.
- Add onion, and fry for five minutes until soft and coloured.
- Add almonds, cashews and dried fruit. Stir and fry for three minutes.
- Drain rice, and add to pan. Stir well to coat each grain with the spiced oil.
- Add 400ml of water, the saffron infused milk, the dried figs and salt. Bring to the boil, mix well, and then reduce heat to very low. Cover, and cook for ten minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed.
- Remove from heat, add the pistachios and pomegranate seeds and fluff the rice with a fork. Cover the pan with a tea-towel and replace the lid. Allow to stand for another five minutes.
- Gently stir through the lemon juice, sprinkle with the almonds, and serve.
- 200g of uncooked rice is approximately one metric cup.