My dad has 11 brothers and 2 sisters. So along with them, their cousins and family we have a very large extended family. Every year most of this extended family from around the globe descends in Santipur to celebrate Jagadhatri puja in our ancestral home.
In this puja my mom used to make this Pualo as bhog (to be served in the puja). She didn’t have the strength to cook for all the hundred people in the house and she just made enough for the puja itself (with around 2KG of rice). After puja she used to get requests to make the pualo again for the close relatives.
This pulao needs Gobindobhog rice which I started getting at the local Bangladeshi store. If you can't get it, you can use Basmati rice. Typical Bengali pulao is on the sweeter side, so intentionally sugar is used more than the salt.
- 500 gm. Gobindobhog / kalajeera rice / Basmati rice
- 100 gm Ghee (clarified butter)
- Half cup green peas
- 1 tbsp. Bengali garam masala powder (Make your own)
- 5,6 green chilies
- 3,4 tejpatta (bay leaves)
- 1/2" ginger grated
- 1 tbsp. salt
- 4 tbsp sugar
- Turmeric powder
- Handful of cashew and raisins
- 1,2 small pieces of cinnamon
- 2,3 green cardamom
- 4,5 cloves
Wash rice and drain it. In a flat dish take the washed rice and add turmeric powder, garam masala powder, grated ginger, green chilies, salt and sugar to it. Mix all these ingredients well with rice and allow it to dry in open air for an hour. By this time the excess water attached to the grains of rice will evaporate.
In a pan, heat ghee and add tejpatta, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. The moment the nice aroma of garam masala starts coming out, add cashew and raisins and fry them on low heat till they are light golden brown.
Add the rice mixture to the pan and fry on low heat for about 5-7 mins. By this time all grains of rice will be separated and coated by ghee.Throw some green peas into it.
The rest of the cooking can be done either in a pressure cooker or in a saucepan.
In A Pressure Cooker
Transfer the fried rice mixture into a pressure cooker and add 750 ml of water to it. Bring it to a boil on high heat. Once it starts boiling close the pressure cooker lid and cook till you hear the hissing sound (note: note the whistle, just the hissing sound of pressure being built up). Turn off the heat and wait till the pressure releases on its own. Open the pressure cooker and transfer the contents immediately on a flat serving dish.
In A Saucepan
In a saucepan take 1 lit of water and bring it to a boil. Once it starts boiling add the fried rice mixture to it and cook it covered on medium heat till rice is done. Fluff it with a fork.
Pulao goes very well with chicken or mutton korma.