Kashmiri 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 do not include them in the generic dried fruit. The 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.
- 300 g basmati rice
- 100 ml milk
- 1 pinch saffron threads
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- 1 stick cassia – crumbled
- 3 cloves
- 3 green cardamom pods – broken open
- 1 indian bay leaf
- 1 red onion – finely sliced
- ½ tsp salt
- 20 g almonds – slivered
- 20 g raw cashews – broken into pieces
- 100 g dried fruit – finely diced
- 2 dried figs – finely diced
- 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 the saffron threads and set aside to steep.
- Heat oil in a large frypan on medium heat. Add the cumin seeds, cassia, cloves, cardamom and bay leaf. Cook for 30 seconds, or until spices sizzle.
- Add the onion, sprinkle with the salt then fry for ten minutes until soft and coloured.
- Add almonds, cashews and dried fruit. Stir and fry for three minutes.
- Drain the rice and add to the pan. Stir well to coat each grain with the spiced oil.
- Add 600ml of water, the saffron-infused milk, the dried figs and salt. Bring to the boil, mix well, then reduce heat to very low. Cover, and cook for fifteen minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed.
- Remove from heat, add the pistachios and pomegranate seeds then 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.
- 300g of uncooked rice is approximately one and a half metric cups.