Exactly 10 years back on the 30th of January, at our wedding reception the caterer who has by father-in-laws friend and colleague affectionately served Yakhni (pronounced as Aakhni) pulao. He planned the entire dinner on his own.
As you might guess from this, it’s our 10th wedding anniversary. It’s been hell of a journey living across 4 cities and two countries. However, in all the journey we have frequently talked about that Yakhni pulao and how one of our friends had nothing but the pulao in the entire dinner (and a lot of it by the way), you know who you are…
My 7 year old foodie daughter is all excited about our anniversary and all the stories of the big fat Indian wedding she goes on hearing about. So I wanted to treat her with the same Pulao. So on the occasion of the 10th anniversary, I made the same thing.
Yakhni pulao is the Kashmiri version of Biriyani. Yakhni, means a thin cream colored sauce with aromatic spices. It’s made with yogurt as a base with spices like fennel seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and Kashmiri red chili.
- Grind the following ingredients into a smooth paste with little water (masala paste)
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
- 1" cinnamon sticks
- 10 cloves
- 5 green cardamom
- 5 black cardamom
- 1 tbsp black cumin
- 1" ginger root
- 1 tsp. turmeric powder
- 1tbsp. Kashmiri red chili powder (optional, I didn’t have it on me and hence didn’t use it)
- For pulao
- 1 kg (around 2lb) mutton / goat meat on bone cut into 2" pieces
- 3 cups of basmati rice ( washed and soaked in water for 30 mins)
- 1 cup thick yogurt
- 1 medium sized onion thinly sliced
- 1 tsp. saffron strands soaked in warm milk
- Ghee ( clarified butter)
Heat 2 tbsp of oil on medium heat and add ground masala paste to it. Stir until you see oil floating on the top. Add half a cup of water, salt and simmer for about 5 mins. Turn off the heat before you add whisked yogurt to avoid curdling. Add sugar. Simmer it on low heat.Once the yogurt is cooked you will get a rich cream colored fragrant sauce. Strain and reserve it.
Separate the meat and measure the stock. The stock should measure 6 cups. If there is more boil it down till you get 6 cups, if less add hot water to it.
Deep fry onion slices till they are brown and crispy. Remove and drain on a paper towel.
In a separate pan heat oil and ghee. Now add the pre soaked rice and fry on medium heat till all the rice grains are well coated with oil. Add meat pieces along with 6 cups of stock and stir gently. Give a taste test and adjust salt and sugar. This is a pulao and hence will be little bit on the sweeter side. Bring it to a boil and then cook it covered on low heat till rice is done. Allow it to rest for 5 mins then fluff it with a fork.
Sprinkle saffron milk and fried onions over it to give the pulao a nice color.
In our wedding reception it was served with chicken kurma.